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Competition on the Internet: How to Stand Out?

Jun 28, 2008
The Internet is rapidly becoming one of the main primary advertising medium for most businesses. This is likely due to the ever growing numbers of surfers and the different advertising techniques that can be carried from just one website, let alone using multiple sites from which to receive orders, send receipts / invoices and keep in regular touch with your customers.

At one time the internet was a desert but slowly and surely it became populated with companies and individuals that started taking advantage of the medium. Naturally, there were also few visitors, since the internet was very slow and not many people were interested in the World Wide Web, or of its potential. Those that were, tended to be geeks that started selling small instruction booklets that could be delivered electronically, and then as the internet grew expanded by selling instructions on how to use this expanding new medium.

Now, however, there are millions more. In order to win new customers, unless your niche is very small, you must stand out from the rest to get noticed.

An internet presence is still possible to get, but a unique internet presence is no longer as easy to achieve as it used to be. Having a website for your business is a core requirement that will allow your business to gather more clients and potential customers from the internet. Poor website design and development will not only give a bad impression of your company but it could also ruin the purpose of you creating an internet presence.

Potential customers will judge your business by your website. Unfair, perhaps, but true nevertheless. Conversely, a well designed website will attract and retain visitors.

Think of billboards. Why did people go the trouble of erecting the frames and getting the adverts up there? Visual impact! That's what sells best, and in spite of all the audio sales techniques we have heard so much about, it is visual impact that sells. Your website must have good visual impact.

It must also be easy for your potential customers to use. Here are some of the things you need to check during website design and development.

1. Navigation - Your visitors should be able to travel from one page to another effortlessly, so make sure there are no broken links. Just one is all it takes for them to click away from your website. You have to be professional with your site, or they will reject you when handing out business. That doesn't mean giving them a mass of links on your home page: lead from one page to another in a logical progression.

2. Remove all the pop-ups! Most visitors hate pop-ups, and even though they might be effective on some kind of websites, you must test them first. Once you get a good click through without a pop-up, add one and see what happens.

3. Improve Layout - don't stuff each page full of graphics, tables and Flash animation, especially your home page. Your site should be simple and easy to use, and if it is too fussy your visitors will be put off.

4. Use Colours Wisely - Make your text easily readable. Don't try silly stuff like grey on black, or yellow on green. Back and white works best for text unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.

5. Avoid the Flash Introduction or at the very least give people the option to skip it.

Your aim is not to just acquire an internet presence but also to make it friendly for new and returning visitors.
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