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The road to a successful home business is full of blind curves, potholes and hazards. Of these many pitfalls, creating your own web site is one of the most dangerous. Setting up a good web site is a complicated and intricate process, and if you don't pay attention to detail you can end up with a mess.
The web site is the first impression a customer has of your business, so it had better be good. Now of course you want your site to be attractive and professional looking, but that's just the start. Quite often a fantastic looking web site can sink itself with bad copy. The clarity of your information is crucial. It is imperative that your web site follows a logical structure and has clear and complete product information, a clearly stated offer, and easy to follow ordering instructions, all written with impeccable spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Using a professional web designer is great if you can afford it, and it's not even too expensive these days. In the last few years, competition among web designers has become fierce, and hence driven prices down. You can get a pretty good job done for very little money if you just comparison shop a bit. You might even find a web design student who needs portfolio material and is willing to set up your site for free. Just remember, a web designer is just that, a designer. They set up all the links, graphics and fonts, but the copy is up to you. Most designers just plug in what you give them without even a cursory once-over. The clarity and correctness of your writing is your own responsibility.
One of the main flaws I find in poorly written web sites is the confusion created when I can't find what the actual offer is. The home page maybe has all sorts of slick sales copy and even a testimonial or two, but where is the offer? A good web site should introduce the product or service and clearly state the offer right at the beginning. You can follow up with a second paragraph of sales copy describing the benefits of your product, but make sure that your offer is stated first.
Another web site sinker is confusing links. Links are necessary because people get frustrated with having to scroll down through pages and pages of information. A good web site should be divided into separate sections connected by links. To avoid confusion, keep each section of your web site shorter than 300 words, the shorter the better, and have an easy to read column of links to the left side of each page and also at the bottom of each page. It is crucial that each link makes sense. Use logical titles like "product information," and "ordering information," and make sure the content fits the title. Don't have ordering information on the products page, and vice versa.
It is also crucial that your ordering information is clear. Wouldn't it be a tragedy if someone got all the way through your web site, but then didn't buy your product because they were confused by your ordering page? Believe me, this happens all the time. Make sure that everything is easy to understand. Your quantity and price sections, mailing information section and credit card information section should all be simple and logical. It's also a good idea to have an order recap function so people are sure their order was understood before they send off their credit card number. Finish off with an order confirmation, and people will be much more at ease with their purchase.
And finally we come to spelling, grammar and punctuation. I could write pages and pages on this subject, but then you'd probably stop reading. Grammar is a tricky subject. No one likes to think that they use bad grammar, but even the most educated people can slip up. Pay very close attention when writing your web copy. You can't rely on spell check and grammar check to do it for you.
When you've finished writing your site, set your copy aside for an hour or two, then read it again. You'll be surprised at the errors you missed the first time. After you've proofread your document, have someone else look it over, preferably someone with a good eye for such things. If you don't have anyone you can go to, contact a professional editor, or if you can't afford an editor, ask an English teacher. You might find one willing to read your work for a few bucks, and you might even make a friend in the process.
A well written web site is crucial to making sales. If people can't understand your site, they won't buy your product. It's as simple as that. So put in a little extra effort, and watch your returns multiply. There's money to be made out there if you just know how to do it.
Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his helpful strategies, including his latest article "A Great Press Release Can Really Get Your Business Noticed," at http://AlvinApple.com Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.