The SCORE Column : Avoiding common mistakes in designing a website

If you own a business, you must have a website. Why? 90% of buyers get their information online. If you already have a website for your business, your challenge is make your site stand out among the millions of sites out there. This will get you the visitor attention you need to build your business.

Here are three common mistakes you can avoid during the design process to help you attract a large number of high potential visitors to your site.

  • Choosing a difficult URL: What makes your URL "difficult"? A URL that's longer than four words will be hard to remember. A URL that has nothing to do with your business creates a barrier for visitors to find you. One of the most appealing things to your visitors is convenience and ease of use. So make your URL easy, relevant, and memorable. If your URL is too long or difficult to type in correctly the first time, visitors will not try or simply give up trying to find you. They will not work to find your URL and to visit your site unless it is essential to their life. Pick a URL that is consistent with your brand name. For example, if you own a store that is called "Lamp World", it would be in your best interest to make your website . If your URL is taken, personalize the URL to distinguish your site from your competition such as or If people are looking to visit your site, they will probably be able to find it without having to do a lot of research. This is the goal.
  • Use a clean layout: Everyone has ADD online. If your site visitors can't find what they need in two seconds, they bounce off your site. Minimalism is the key when it comes to your Internet presence. With every design change that you make, ask yourself: "Am I streamlining my information?" By simplifying your site, your visitors will not be overwhelmed. It will also make it easier to showcase the important information that you want people to see that they are looking for. This means making sure that the menu is well organized and minimized. Make sure there is a lack of clutter and disorganization. Do you want to direct your visitors to a particular part of your site? Make that clear. Don't provide too many choices. More is not better; more is confusing.
  • Make use of social media to create back links: Social media websites have provided platforms for your potential visitors to create community. Wherever your target audience is, your website URL needs to be "planted" there. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the big social media sites. LinkedIn is great for reaching out business to business. LinkedIn groups help you target potential visitors easily. Facebook has fan pages that also help you target potential visitors. It is important to be present on these sites no matter what line of business you are in. You can use this to reach more potential viewers but also for more technical reasons. When you leave a link on Twitter or LinkedIn for example, this creates a back link to your website. Back links are essentially an invitation for social media visitors to go to your site and check it out.

If you have an existing business or are planning a new business, the Pasco-Hernando Chapter of SCORE is here to help you. We offer free small business mentoring and free seminars throughout the year. Visit our chapter website, www.score439,org, for the seminar schedule and to request mentoring.