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Your Website Can Make Your Home Business Look Bad

Aug 17, 2007
When you run your home business even partially online, your website makes a huge impression on your customers. It can make you look professional. It can make a one person business look big. It can make you look like a complete and utter amateur.

Yes, your website can make or break your online business. Some mistakes you can make will offend your potential customers while others will scare off search engine spiders. Both are necessary to online success.

Many people still make mistakes with their website design. Maybe they do it themselves rather than hire a professional. Maybe they hear myths about what makes the search engines love a site. Maybe they fail to think about the customer's experience.

Hiring a professional is not always necessary, but you need to think about if you will do better to hire one. It's an expense, but if you can earn more by handling other parts of your business, hire the professional website designer. Unless you know what you are doing, you will probably get a more professional looking site that is easier for your customers to use.

You also need to think about the search engines. You or your website designer may know a little or a lot about search engine optimization. Just make sure you don't make the classic mistakes, such as abusing your keywords, using frames or creating a site only in Flash. These either look spammy to search engines or make the site difficult.

These also have an impact on your users. Excessive use of keywords makes your sales text hard for your customers to read. They won't be telling you that either. They will just leave.

Frames aren't used as commonly as they once were, but every here and there you see someone making that mistake. One of the troubles with frames from a user's perspective is that individual pages are harder to bookmark. That makes it harder for people to come back to an individual item or to send someone else to it.

Flash looks great, it can be delightfully interactive, but it also requires that your user have a plugin in order to view your site. You can use it, but make sure to have an HTML version of your site as well.

For your customers, a simple site will often sell better than a fancy one. That's something to keep in mind while figuring out the overall look of your website. But you don't want your site to look amateurish either. Everything needs to work and needs to have an appearance that is appropriate to your line of business.

Perhaps most important for websites with a storefront is the shopping cart/checkout experience. Shopping carts are abandoned very easily if your customers cannot easily use them. People just won't see a point in fighting with it if they cannot buy from you easily. It's a big internet and they can probably buy something similar very easily.

Many more factors come into play, but these are some of the basics. Start out with the intention of having a high quality, professional looking website built with both the search engines and your customers in mind and you improve your chances of success.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs about running a home business and has worked at home for more than 5 years. Get more tips on marketing your home business at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/marketing/
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