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Top Seven Ways to Tune up your Website
by Philippa Gamse

We're in a recession, and perhaps your business is slightly slower than usual. But it's always a good time to take stock of what's working for you, and what needs some attention - including your Web site!

Here are my suggestions for a great tune-up audit - take a fresh look at your site and your promotional strategy with these pointers:
  1. Is your site appealing to all your markets?
    Do you have different potential buyers for different aspects of your products and services? Is there content on your site that's designed for each of these? Have you considered whether your Web audience might be different from your traditional markets, and if so, whether you can exploit that?

  2. Does your content engage your visitors?
    Your site should be written from your visitors' point of view, not yours. Does your home page clearly recognize why the reader might be there - what's in it for them, and why they should care? What are the problems or issues that they might have, and how will you solve them?

  3. Can you make your case?
    If you claim that your products or services achieve results, do you have clear content on your site that substantiates this? Do you have case studies, sample client lists, and testimonials from happy customers? Third party endorsements are worth far more than your own promotional text, and they should be spread throughout your site, not relegated to a separate page that few visitors will go to.

  4. Do you position yourself as an expert?
    One of the most effective ways to get exposure is to publish articles, and white papers around your area of expertise. Even if you sell widgets, you can help people get the most out of using them! Articles on your site will be picked up by the search engines, and you can also offer them to publications that your target markets read - always with a link back, or reference to your site, of course.

  5. Do you ask for the business?
    Whatever the outcomes that you want from your site, you need to ask for it. Too many Web pages end weakly, with no clear calls to action. Don't make your visitors have to work to decide what to do next - they won't! Every page on your site should have a strategy - invite the visitor to interact with you, or go to the next page, but make it easy and obvious.

  6. Do you have a diversified promotional strategy?
    Don't depend on free search engines to get you traffic. Are you exploring other ways of promoting your site - such as using your content and articles, advertising in e-zines, appending a signature file to your e-mail, regularly sending updates to your database, and ensuring that your traditional marketing is integrated with your online activities?

  7. Are you reviewing your traffic analysis?
    Last, but really key - your Website traffic reports will tell you what's working and what isn't. Without this information, you're really shooting in the dark - what if you were to find that the majority of your hard-earned visitors never go beyond your home page?
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a good start. I hope that your Web site passes the test!

Philippa Gamse, 1998-2003. All rights reserved.

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