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Common Web Strategy Mistakes

For companies wanting to have an effective on-line web presence as part
of their overall marketing mix, here is a list of things to avoid.

Below is a list of the most common mistakes companies make that are new to Internet marketing:

Not optimising web sites before submitting to search engines
Over 75 per cent of Internet visitors use search engines to find web sites. However, research has proven that only 2 per cent of sites are optimised, thus allowing them to be easily found by search engines.

Not submitting to search engines individually
Search engines use different logarithms to rank web sites and web pages. Consequently, in order to achieve high search engine rankings on all the major search engines such as Excite, Google, MSN, AOL, Lycos and ODP, your submissions need to be designed to take account of how they spider and analyse your sites content.

Not considering how directories list and rank web sites
Logic tells you that if your web site does not appear on the first two pages of search engines then you are seriously jeopardising your changes of your site being visited. The majority of directories (rather than search engines) list web sites in alphabetical order. Therefore, you should consider the domain name that you choose when listing in directories.

Not carrying out competitor analysis
The same principles apply to online marketing as they do to off line. Especially when it comes to customer relationship building, customer loyalty and customer retention. You should continually analyse how competitors use the Internet to interact and communicate with their customers and how they are achieving high search engine placement.

Not using Management Information to improve your web presence
Fact based information should be readily available from your web site host. You should use search engine placement reports, link popularity reports and visitor statistics to improve your Internet strategy. The information that is available is extremely powerful and if used correctly will enable you to grow your market share.

Not giving adequate attention to domain name(s)
If your business does not have a strong brand presence you should consider not using your company name as your domain name. In some circumstances the use of generic names will serve your needs much better.

Using Mac's rather than PC's to build your search engine friendly web site
This is a controversial point, but all the same, very true. Mac's have limitations in terms of the number of characters that can be used to store URL title tags. Consequently, optimising web sites can be carried out more successfully using PC's that have the ability to store an unlimited number of characters.

Not building an on line customer and prospect database

Not adding a quick and easy registration process or encouraging your visitors to join a free membership programme is a big mistake. By building a database of contact details you can develop powerful on line marketing programmes.

Not adding links to your web site before submitting to search engines
Search engines such as Google will not list sites if they do not have a link with an external web site. If you do not recognise this fact, then you will be wasting time submitting your web site to many of the search engines. This can be a costly and time-consuming mistake as some search engines take weeks if not months to spider your web site.

Not supplying free and relevant information for your target audience
The number one reason why people use the Internet is to obtain free information. If you do not provide the information that your customers need then it is unlikely that they will revisit.

Not building link popularity to improve search engine rankings
Although meta tags are still important, title tags and link popularity are even more critical to high search engine placement. The abuse of hidden meta-tag coding has forced search engines to reduce the weighting of them when ranking pages. Instead, all other things being equal, higher rankings are being given to sites with a greater number of links.

Not keeping your site fresh, up to date and full of in vogue information
Visitors do not want to read the same information over and over again. Adding topical and useful information that interests your target audience will keep them coming back. Many companies who are new to the Internet tend to use their web site for publishing their own promotional sales brochure and do not consider building useful content.

Not developing a "community spirit" for like-minded people
In order to encourage on line customer retention and loyalty, your site should be informative and an enjoyable experience. For example, the addition of chat rooms for customers with similar interests, where they can share experiences and problems; and pages full of information that adds value to visitors lives will help to create a village community spirit.

Not differentiating your product or service offerings
The www brings the corner shop to the global marketplace. This brings new opportunities but sometimes increased competition. Differentiating your business will enable you to Gain a Competitive Advantage and allow you to influence customer preferences.

Not monitoring changes in your customer base
With the on line reporting tools that are available, there should be no excuse for being ill informed. From the most popular keyword searches used on the www to information about your least popular web pages, you should be analysing trend data to predict changes in customer satisfaction and preferences.

Not branding your web site correctly
The look, feel and personality of your site should match the personality of your products or services and your company identity. Visitors also need to feel secure, believe that your company is trustworthy, have an enjoyable experience when visiting the site and to be made to feel important.

Hiring a company to "submit your site to 1000 search engines."
If you use this type of service be forewarned. At first it may appear to be an attractive proposition, but over 95 per cent of your traffic will probably come from the Top10 search engines and directories (ask your host to provide you with the data). But more importantly, you should not be surprised to receive hundreds if not thousands of spam e-mails from all over the world telling you how you can become a multi-millionaire in less than 6 months!

Using a web designer to build you a web site that is not search engine friendly
You can have the best-looking web site in the world, but it will be of little use if nobody can find it! So make sure that your webmaster fully understands your objectives and uses a systematic approach covering all of the key elements of building a successful online business.

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