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Website Woes: Top Five Offenders

I see a lot of mistakes, but here are the top five offenders you need to correct to give your site a boost.

Bad Title. Look at the title for each page. The title shows in the top bar of your browser. It is also what shows when you set a favorite or bookmark a site. Plus, the title is what shows in the search engine results. So you want your page title to be a "headline" - something that will make people want to click on it.

Give every page a different title according to its content. Include your keywords or key phrases in the title. Remember, people won't want to click on your company name, unless they're looking specifically for you. Instead, they are more likely to click on key words or phrases that reflect what they're looking for.

"Me" Language. Read each page of your site from your visitor's perspective. It's an eye-opener in most cases. If you want to "see" the impact of this, print the page and using a brightly colored highlighter, go over everything that is about them. You'll be amazed at how little of the page concentrates on the benefits to them.

Visitors don't care about your mission statement - they want to know what you can do for them. They don't care where you went to school or what degrees you have - they do care about why that matters to them. Speak "benefits" not features.

To be sure you are using benefit-driven language, keep asking the question "so what?" For example:
Our site is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So what?
So that means even at 2am you can access the information and start using it immediately. It means that regardless of where you live around the world, the information is available when you are.

Repeat this process until you get down to the benefit for the visitor. Then express that on the page.

No email capture process. Make sure you have a way to capture visitors' interest in the form of their name and email address. This means you want to "sell" the benefits of subscribing to your electronic newsletter or tips. You may want to offer a free report or ebook as a "bribe". However you do it, get them to sign up. This is the single most important asset you have online - a good list of people who look forward to hearing from you. And be sure to make it easy to sign up - put a form on every page of your site.

No contact information. Contact information online serves a dual purpose. First, it shows legitimacy. Sites without contact info are "suspect" - are they really a "real" company or a fly-by-night operation?

Second, we've all had the frustrating experience of trying to get in touch with a company and not being able to find their address, telephone or fax number. Be kind to your visitors - put your contact information on every page. If you're not comfortable with giving your street address or city, at least let them know what time zone you are in. If you have an unusual URL, include that. You never know which page your visitor will print and file. You want to be sure they can contact you later.

Slow to load. Finally, be considerate of all of your visitors by keeping your page download time to a minimum. If you're used to a fast connection you may not know the pain your visitors are experiencing. Go to an older computer with a slow telephone connection and visit your site. Try to keep your information on the cutting edge and your technology 2 years behind the curve.

If you take care of these five mistakes, your visitors will be happier, your conversion rates will improve and you'll be more successful online.

Dr. Jeanette Cates is an Internet strategist who works with experts who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into Gold. Her reputation as a speaker and trainer has earned her the title of The Technology Tamer. Jeanette shares her news and views in

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