In building your brand, the concept big on the internet does not mean better. Better means better. So with that in mind, I have compiled some of the biggest mistakes that people and companies make as well as some must do items to give your web application the best opportunity to succeed. A lot of things are common sense, but when executing, many people don’t exercise the best common sense.
Mistakes – Don’t
Do not simply Build it an they will come. With the many people throwing around crazy money a few years ago it went without saying that many people came up with some pretty crazy ideas and thought it could meet the objectives set for it. In most cases that meant make money. The concept of if we build this great site people will find out about it and we’ll get thousands if not millions of viewers and we’ll go IPO in 6 months, etc. People, rephrased, some people have finally learned that lesson. It costs time and money to get viewers to a web application; and it takes time and money to get them to purchase or perform a task. And finally it takes time and money to provide exemplary customer service.
Do not build a completely 100% graphical home page or introduction. Give customers the opportunity to view a presentation, don’t force some “15 or 30 second commercial” on them when they hit your home page; consumers will do the same thing they do with the remote and their television sets at night.. They will click to another station. Additionally, if you don’t have any text on your home page you will NEVER achieve good organic, read ‘free’, search engine rankings.
Do not put a web counter on your site. Put yourself in your consumers shoes. You go to a web site / application. You see they have had 10, 000 visitors.. is that a lot ? or not very many ? If they have only had 10000 visitors they might only have 100 customers, a 1% return. Now does this instill in you any confidence in them? Did not think so. Now if you think and have achieved a million unique visitors to your site in a calendar year for example, that looks a lot better. We might reconsider at that time and try to offer something for that shopper; but counters as a whole are a bad idea to have out there visible to the consumer and your competitors. Besides a counter is so 90’s.
Do not have your customer service representatives reply to queries with short curt remarks even if they are “yes”, “no” to answer simple questions. Don’t have them use form letter responses that don’t answer the question that was in the query. It’s OK to use some canned responses or to include other offer information, but be careful how you do so.
Good Practices (DO)
You must put text on your home page that tells the user what they will find at your site. And by text, I mean HTML text. Provide compelling text. Content is king and in the form of text. Provide your users with information even if it goes to the extreme.
If the purpose of your site is sales and you want to get them to call, have the phone number on every web page in a predominant location. Each web page should be devoted to a topic; the text and the HTML meta tags and page title tag should contain the topic. Now while some search engines may or may not use all these things, make sure your pages all have the basics covered for those that do.
Target a specific audience with a page, section or complete application. Tailor the information to this audience. If you have a search function, save the searches to a database and monitor what they are searching for then if possible, provide them with that information. Refute information if need be.
Monitor your statistics on a monthly basis at a minimum. Exchange links and pages with other QUALITY sites. Create inquiry forms that may provide an idea of how quickly the consumer wants you to respond, and you tell them how much time it will take to answer their questions. Create an application to track your customer service response time and get customer referrals and endorsements.
You Must Provide, exemplary customer service, pertinent data and respond in Internet Time
Creating a Brand takes time and effort. Do it right the first time!