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6 ways to avoid making costly mistakes on the internet

6 ways to avoid making costly mistakes on the internet Adam Franklin
1.Use reputable web designers
The difference between web design companies is enormous -- the industry is still unregulated and you'll hear heaps of web design horror stories: people running off with their money, being held at ransom or just delivering poor quality work. Try asking these questions before you begin:

  • "What happens if I'm not happy with the outcome?"

  • "Do you follow a methodology?"

  • "Can I speak with existing clients to find out what you're like?"

  • "Are you quality assured?"

  • "How long have you been around?"

Be prepared to pay, but if it sounds too expensive it probably is. Expect to pay up to $10,000 for an entry level website, but $20,000 to $50,000 is the norm once you've added in internet strategy, email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Plenty of companies online will offer you a DIY website for $500, but if you want a professional website, use a professional company.

2. Avoid intro pages and long flash loaders
Google has revealed that people spend an average of eight seconds on a website. So why would you waste those few valuable seconds with an intro page or "loading bar" that makes people wait. Remember 95 percent of the time people want to find some information on your website and then get out of there! Would you force customers to wait 10 seconds before you allowed them into your shop or office?

3. Optimise your website
A website that isn't optimised has been likened to a billboard in the desert. It's a lot of money to spend if no one is going to find it. Regardless of your web design budget, you are urged to allocate at least half to promoting your website. Word of warning -- avoid black-hat (aka unethical) optimisation tactics. Google is very smart -- it will catch you and blacklist your website.

4. Monitor your Google Adwords
Imagine if you'd agreed to pay $10 per click and you wanted to appear in Google Ads for the keyword "web design". People all over the world might be clicking on your ad, but unless they are in the same location they will seldom become your customer. You'd be much better off targeting your ad to "web design Brisbane" or better still "website development west end" -- that way you pay less and get better quality traffic.

Unless you want to waste lots of money very fast, it pays to monitor your Adwords!

5. Make it easy for people to enquire or buy
OK, so your SEO and Google Ads are getting lots of traffic to your website -- great. Now, how many of these people are converting into leads or customers? If the answer is not many visitors are converting, it could be costing you a fortune in lost leads and the cause is likely to be your website's usability and conversion process. 

Is it too difficult to purchase? Too confusing to make an enquiry? Poor conversion is very often the silent cash-burner of online campaigns. Please make it simple and easy for your people visiting your website to enquire or purchase from you. 

6. Feed your leads into a CRM
Once you get the enquiry through your website the final piece of the puzzle is to feed all the leads into a CRM (customer relationship manager) where they can all be managed. Make sure you respond to these leads promptly!

Using a CRM ensures no leads slip through the cracks and they all get the attention and follow-up service they deserve. Remember your online sales process should replicate how you would treat your customers as if they walked into your shop.

Adam Franklin is co-founder and managing director of Bluewire Media.

Current roles at Bluewire Media include business development and marketing. Digital marketing strategies currently being embraced are email marketing, SEO, article marketing and social media marketing.Since co-founding Bluewire Media with school...

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