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Eight Tips To Make Sure Your Web site Is the Best It Can Be
(Marketing Memo, June, 2006)

An entrepreneur launched a new publishing and training business and a new web site. He filled many pages with repetitious background information and vague descriptions of the new business. The entrepreneur also experimented with fonts and colors. The web site - and the business - looked amateurish. Here are some tips that will help you ascertain if your web site creates a good impression of your business:

DOES YOUR WEB SITE CLEARLY CONVEY WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO?

--- Overall look and feel: Is the web site inviting? Are both the message and the look of the web site consistent throughout? Does the web site encourage repeat visits? Does the site create a good first impression?
--- Company Information: Can visitors easily find information about your company's location, mission, history, and board of directors? Is a phone number or email address or contact link on each page? Have you included background information and pictures of your management team? Are news articles, press releases, and trade show schedules available? If your company is publicly held, does the web site include SEC filings?
--- Product or services: Does the web site clearly describe your products or services, including features and benefits? Does the site include data sheets, articles, and white papers for visitors who want in-depth information? Have you included analysts' reports if they are available?
--- Clients or customers and partners: To add credibility, have you included the names of key customers and partners, as well as a few testimonials?
--- Help: If online help is insufficient, can visitors obtain personal assistance by email or phone within 24 hours? Does your web site provide the name of someone who can offer help or provide information?

IS THE CONTENT OF YOUR WEB SITE CLEAR AND THE DESIGN EFFECTIVE?

--- Writing Style: Have you used plain, but professional, English? Are sentences free from grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors? Have you defined technical terms and avoided jargon?
--- Format: Have you selected a legible font and print size and made sure the pages are uncluttered? Does the content fit on screens of various sizes? Can visitors print pages without truncating text? Do graphics enhance the content rather than distracting from it?
--- Navigation: Are the links logical? Do all the links work? Will visitors arrive at their destinations in fewer than three clicks? Are navigation bars on the left or the top? Is the site map easy to find?

Make sure that your web site conveys the same messages as your other sales and marketing materials. Avoid brochure-ware, and "tell, don't sell." Finally, regularly review the site to make sure that it provides current company and product information. Archive or delete outdated or redundant content.

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