Internet marketing gurus will often spend hours debating about what it takes to make a business successful online.
Many theories are subjective at best! There are, however, a few common mistakes that most Digital Marketing professionals would agree SHOULD BE AVOIDED at all costs!
So, for a change, rather than talking about the keys to online success, we are going to share with you the ‘Top 10” Internet Marketing Mistakes so you can avoid them.
In the best tradition these will be shared ‘in reverse order’: Today we will share from Mistake number 10 to Mistake number 6:
10. Having a slow-loading website
Your web page should load almost immediately and certainly within a few seconds. Today’s internet users will simply not wait around for a page to load and even if they do they are likely to be feeling a bit annoyed and have a less than ‘warm feeling’ about your business. Remember first impressions count and you most definitely don’t want a visitors first impression of your site to be annoyance! You can help page load times by making sure all your web images are optimised and have small file sizes – ideally your image file size should be 100kb or less.
Avoid ‘all flash’ websites’ like the plague! Whilst they often look nice remember it is not good if your audience has to wait for one of those annoying ‘spinning circles’ showing that large files are being buffered. Research has concluded that unless your page and all media files associated with it have fully loaded in 5 seconds or less your visitors will have gone.
A final word on the use of images / flash in websites – unless you use ‘alt tags’ (text based meta tags to say what the image is about) neither the Search Engines or people who rely on web reading software (due to disability etc.) will be able to see the files!
9. Having a ‘random’ and disorganised website
It should go without saying that everything on your website should be logically organised. The website layout should feature easy and intuitive navigation links, all of your pages should be accessible from all other pages within the website, preferably in just one click. If somebody wants to find something on your site, they should be able to do so easily without having to resort to a ‘site map’.
If your website is particularly large and complex then by all means consider creating a site map, but for most websites they are not necessary and often cause more confusion than assistance. Do not confuse an ‘on-site’ site map with an XML Sitemap which should always be created and submitted to the major search engines to help your site get indexed quickly.
Having a good site search function is always helpful for visitors and finally make sure there are clear calls to action on each page of your website. These should make it clear;
- where you want people to go
- how they can contact you
- how they can get more information etc.
Don’t forget, sometimes when it comes to website design – less is more!
8. Forgetting to submit your site to search engines
This one seems obvious and yet a surprisingly large number of webmasters do not do this. It is worth taking the time to manually submit your website to Google, Yahoo, Bing, MSN, etc. we never use ‘site submission’ software as many of these are regarded as outright ‘spam’ by the major search engines and you could find yourself in Google’s legendary ‘Sandbox’ for a few months, ‘serving time’ for your error!
Our advice would be submit your website to the search engine manually, if you don’t have the time then don’t submit it at all.
7. Failing to update your site or blog every single day
As a very minimum, you should update your website content or issue a new blog post three or four times a week. The more original content your website or blog has, the more chance you have of both ranking highly in search engines and building your online brand. Another reason is that consistent updates demonstrate your dedication and commitment to your online presence, which will give visitors a good reason to return in the future.
What sort of content should you add?
People who use the internet are looking for information or opinions about products, services, reputations etc.etc. When considering what content to publish, be it on your website or your blog, the key words should be “ADDING VALUE! “ You need to constantly be giving new, up to date, fresh content which will create value for your readers.
The internet and people using it are incredibly competitive these days and if you’ve been really clever you will have encouraged your visitors to sign up to your RSS feed and have a flow of up to date content from you hitting their screens daily.
If one of your online competitors is posting new interesting stuff on his blog daily and you only come up with something new once a month, it won’t be long before your feed is binned, or at the very least completely ignored! Internet Marketing is hard work!
6. Not giving Social Networking a try
We have to admit it, for many months we ignored Facebook. It was something our children used to talk rubbish with their friends! We didn’t understand it and thought it was a complete waste of time! Maybe you still think the same? However, did you know that Facebook now has well over 500 million customers and over 50% of them are active on a daily basis – that’s 250,000,000 people you could be putting your message in front of!
In the UK alone Facebook now has 25,000,000 (45% of the entire population!) That’s incredible! YouTube has 2 BILLION views a day – 24 hrs worth of video is uploaded every minute.
As a business owner you would have to be crazy to ignore social media as part of your marketing strategy!
Try to be as creative as possible when making videos, images, content, downloads, etc. Create relationships online with people and have friends and fans link to your content through their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and the other social bookmarking sites. Upload your videos on YouTube or Vimeo and encourage your friends to give them the thumbs up! Also create a Facebook fan page, this is essential – For a business this should also look like your brand and not the standard issue Facebook template. WSIIMS specialise in producing customised Facebook Pages, Blogs, Twitter pages etc.
Please visit us again tomorrow when we will share the Top 5 Internet Marketing Mistakes