In a world where websites and blogs have not only become a business necessity, but a daily obsession, it might seem that any website will do as long as you have one. This is the equivalent of assuming that dial up is just as useful as high speed internet. Web design expert and BSN Member Jessica Lim of Sprout Creative Group offers her list of website Do’s and Don’ts. If you spend as much time browsing online as Sprout Creative Group, some of the tips will resonate with you.
1. DON’T create a blog unless you have something interesting to say – this usually means focusing on a specific topic.
2. DO have a website that reflects current products, press, and services
3. DON’T let your web content get stagnant- it will begin to look…stagnant
4. DO have a strong relationship with your internal web team or external web partner
5. DON’T hire your friend’s younger brother’s best friend from high school
6. DO get ahead by creating unique site content beyond the expected ‘seasonal updates’
7. DO offer e-commerce
8. DON’T get left behind. Stay in tune with industry trends by attending insider conferences. I recommend: http://events.carsonified.com
9. DO find your next CTO by networking at the above mentioned conference
10. DON’T pay too much attention to advice from “luxury experts on technology”- advice should come from people who breathe web (see #8)
11. DO get ‘sticky’. Figure out a way to engage with your visitors and keep them coming back. Go beyond pretty photos and esoteric words or industry lingo
12. DO have content that is tailored to the web
13. DON’T sign-up for a proprietary ‘in-house CMS system’ that locks you in for the next 3 years (you just may be funding their software project)
14. DO offer web only promotions (not just an extension of an in-store event or sample sale)
15. DON’T force your site visitors to sit through endless loading, or loading with every click. They hate waiting!
16. DO have a clean layout that gives users what they want
17. DON’T go so crazy with Flash, the wet floor/reflection effect, or navigation that is more mysterious than simply easy-to-use. It gets old, fast.
18. DO enable “search” on your site- let customers find that shirt they saw last week in a magazine
19. DON’T underestimate how SEO and Search Marketing can change your online game
20. DO check out the Sprout Creative Group’s blog “Sprouting Edge” www.sproutingedge.com which offers advice on web and style