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Seven Major Mistakes to Avoid
When Setting Up A Website

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Seven Major Mistakes to Avoid
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Mistake #1: Believing the hype. How many times have you heard it, "get a billboard on the Information Highway and be seen by 50 million people!" Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

In and of itself, a website is more like a billboard in the middle of a desert. You still have to bring people to it. With proper promotion, your website could be seen by millions of people eventually, and it is actually much more than a billboard.

It can be an electronic salesman and customer service and information center all rolled into one. But be clear on one thing, you can't just slap it up and then wait for the masses to find you. You need to create a distinctive site and then promote it like crazy.

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Mistake #2: Not getting your own domain name. If you are serious about your investment in the Internet, don't waste your time creating a website without your own domain name. I promise, you will eventually have one anyway. A domain name gives you a permanent identity on the Internet plus complete control over your site.

You also have the ability to send and receive email from your own domain name, i.e:

sales@yourcompany.com
info@yourcompany.com,
questions@yourcompany.com
etc.

Instead, if you go use something like the space you get with your ISP or AOL, you'll wind up with:

http://www.aol.members.com/~users/yourcompany

Not very easy to remember or professional is it?

Furthermore, what happens when you change ISP's? You have to change your address… What will happen to all the people who used to visit you there? How much will it cost to update that on all your letterheads and business cards?

And finally, did you know that many search engines -- including Yahoo -- do not list sub-domains? Trying to save a few bucks by using free space is just not worth the risk and hassles. Not when you can get a full Web Hosting account with your own domain name for as little as $19.95 per month!

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Mistake #3: Not getting a professional server. There are many companies offering very low-cost and even free wespace on the Internet. However, be forewarned that although this may look appealing it is usually a big mistake. Most of these companies have gone out of business. What happens to your website when a company folds? 

In addition, all of the ultra low-cost hosts offer virtual hosting (sharing several domains within the same webspace) which will limit your website and make it invisible to many search engines and some browsers.

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Mistake #4: Using your ISP instead of a Web Host. This is a very common misunderstanding. Many people assume that Internet Access is the same as Web Hosting.

The reality is they are very different services and you are much better off to keep your ISP for access but setup your website with a company that specializes in Web Hosting.

Why? Internet Access providers are concerned with getting you and thousands of other consumers connected to the Internet and dealing with all the subsequent technical and support issues.

Web Hosting companies are concerned with serving the information that all these consumers are viewing -- two very different functions.

Very few companies can do both effectively. With a Web Hosting company, all their attention, resources, and bandwidth goes toward maintaining your website and helping your build your web presence. Use an ISP for your Internet Access, but a Web Hosting company for your website.

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Mistake #5: Not having a Marketing Plan, you mentioned in once have your site setup, you will need to aggressively promote it to drive traffic.

Granted, you will automatically receive traffic from your existing customers and advertising, just by announcing your URL on all your print literature and ads.

However, if one of your goals is to gain new leads and sales from the Internet, you should have a plan for promoting your site online.
Here are a few suggestions to get started: 
  • Register with search engines.
  • Participate in Discussion Groups appropriate for your business.
  • Contribute articles to online publications.
  • Send out an electronic press release about your business.
  • Offer samples and free giveaways from your website.

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Mistake #6: Poor Site Design. Many fine businesses and products are failing on the Internet simply do to atrocious site design.

Websites are about conveying information, not pretty pictures, and whiz-bang gimmicks. Too many are created by technical types with no idea of the basic rules of copywriting and the reasons why people buy.

You can start by adapting your existing sales materials to the web. Graphics and photos should certainly be used to enhance your message, but use them sparingly. Take full advantage of the medium, but make sure you are presenting a clear message in a website that is easy to navigate.

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Mistake #7: Not giving people a reason to visit. Why should anyone visit your website? What's in it for them? These are the questions you should ask yourself before you design your website. One of the easiest things to give away is information.

Health Food stores can provide information on selecting vitamins, Winesellers can provide information on selecting wines. Real Estate companies can provide a report on shopping for a new home. Mortgage Brokers can provide a free loan calculator. Attorneys can provide a report on filing for Bankruptcy; etc, etc. Give people a reason to visit, advertise it widely, and they will visit. 

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Mistake #1: Believing the hype

Mistake #2: Not getting your own domain name.

Mistake #3: Not getting a professional server. 

Mistake #4: Using your ISP instead of a Web Host.  

Mistake #5: Not having a Marketing Plan

Mistake #6: Poor Site Design

Mistake #7: Not giving people a reason to visit.

 

 

  
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Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.
UPDATE 26-Jul-2002
MMC&S Inc.


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