Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How the Internet Can Help (or Hurt!) Your Business

These days, it seems like everyone has a website. And why not? Once it’s created, an effective website can be an invaluable marketing tool that not only provides an easy way to get your business recognized, but it can provide a substitute for printed marketing materials, which saves the environment and saves you money. However, in order for your website to work its magic most effectively, you need to make sure that it’s putting your best foot forward. The following tips can help you get the most out of your Internet marketing.

1. Think of your website as an ongoing series of job interviews with thousands of anonymous employers. If it doesn’t look good, you don’t look good. Remember, many of your potential clients are looking at your website before they’ve heard of you or your company. How does it represent you and your business? Can your clients tell what you do and how competent you are by looking at your site? Or does it look like it was thrown together, just to “get something up there?”

2. Keep an eye on your language. Keep your copy simple, accessible and to-the-point, and make sure things are spelled correctly. Nothing can hamper your credibility like a website or e-mail message filled with poor grammar and typographical errors. Consider hiring a professional copywriter, who has experience in writing for your target audience.

3. Hire a professional. Unless you are a web designer by trade, it’s a good idea to have a professional develop your site. Not only can a professional designer give you a site that effectively represents your business in a unique and compelling way, it will save you a considerable amount of time and hassle. You have enough to worry about without having to learn web design as well!

4. Use Web Standards. Building your website with web standards means a faster-loading, more affordable site which works in every browser. This means that, unlike some sites that only seem to work for Internet Explorer on Windows, your site will continue to represent you effectively on every browser, no matter what.

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