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WebWorks by Terry Young


Time to assess your site
We get many calls from business owners because their website isn't generating calls or sales. An effective website needs to perform several functions together if it is to produce revenue.

Here is a checklist of things your site has to do to become a lead generating part of your business. 

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1. It has to be found. This is the most important item and the hardest to achieve on a reasonable budget. Your site must compete against literally every one of your local competitors. Most people do not look beyond page one of search results. Being in the first ten is essential for anyone to find your site and become a customer. This is what causes a company a big financial dilemma. When your site cannot be found, the only options are to upgrade your site or pay every month for search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click advertising (PPC). SEO and PPC can both cost thousands of dollars a month and can generate vastly different success.

2. It has to work for all viewers. Visitors must be able to see and navigate your site on whatever device they're using. Tablets show sites differently than a PC or laptop, and mobile phones have even smaller screens that your site must fit on. If it doesn't, the visitor may get frustrated and leave. Loading times are longer for mobile devices, and the visitor may be paying for cell data. To avoid racking up your visitor's charges, you should not make large videos play when the page loads.

3. It has to be navigable. The visitor must be able to navigate your site with any device they use. A common mistake is that a site menu only relies on mouse movement to show links. However, phones and tablets use finger swipes and taps. If your menu is mouse-based, visitors may not be able to move around your site when viewing on mobile devices.

4. Navigation has to be simple. Don't make visitors work hard to find what they are looking for. Keep links in one menu section, such as at the top of the page or down the left side. Multiple sets of links on a page will be confusing and frustrating.

5. It has to be attractive. The visitor must like what they see if they are going to stay. It should also portray your business in a professional manner. Keep in mind, in many cases, your website is the first contact with potential customers. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

6. It has to be basic. Many people are in a rush online, they do not want to wade through 20 paragraphs of text. Sum up your message in 500 words or less and create links to more information if necessary. Try to avoid pages that are too busy with several different blocks of content all over.

7. It has to be current. Your site should be updated regularly. Check to make sure copyright dates, staff listings and contact information are up to date. There is nothing worse than trying to contact a company and finding that the number is disconnected or email address has changed. Also, if your ‘latest news' is from 2011, a visitor will think you're probably out of business and move on.

Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design, the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.

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