Guest Column | January 22, 2014

How To Have A Horrible 2014

By Clint Hofer, Owner, Slingfly Media

With the New Year upon us, positive thoughts of business growth are all around. Everyone is kicking things back into gear, but if your company forgets or even overlooks these key online marketing aspects, get ready for a horrible 2014 as your competition rolls right over you.

Hide The Phone Number On Your Website

You would be shocked at how many business owners forget to add their phone numbers in visible locations on their websites. Sometimes they even force visitors to click through several pages and dig down to find the contact information. One sure way to lose business is by frustrating your website visitors. Do everyone a favor and make sure your phone number is in several easy-to-see areas.

Bounce Visitors Off When They Click A Link

It’s hard enough getting visitors to your website. Stop creating links and video that bounce them off the page when they click on them. There are several ways to link content and documents so that they open in another tab, rather than driving potential clients away from your site by taking over the current window. Something as simple as the way you embed your videos can be the difference between capturing attention and driving visitors away. This was highlighted in a previous article.

Flash Makes A Great Superhero — Not A Website

Although a website built with Flash looks great to human eyes, you are doing yourself a huge disfavor when it comes to Google and other search engines finding your website. Not only are Flash-based websites dated, because of their design, they appear like one large image blob that search engines cannot dig into in order to find out what your brand is all about.

Add Annoying Background Music

If you really want to get under your website visitors’ skin, add some horrible music that automatically plays when they visit your website. Even better, hide the audio controls somewhere that they can’t be found easily. This trend started in the 1990s and screams that your website is dated. Please remove all audio forced upon your visitors and let them soak in your brand in peace.

Forget To Add Google Analytics

If you are not interested in the “who, what, why, and how” of your website traffic, go ahead and forget about installing Google Analytics. After all, that data is just a waste of time right? When it comes to analyzing the strategy and effectiveness of your online marketing, tracking visitors is an essential component you must have in place. Not only does it reinforce what is working, but also helps expose opportunities you may not be aware of. The right analytics will also tell you the most popular pages and areas of your website that could be used for your call to action.

Remove Any Call To Action

If website visitors need help, they will contact you when they are ready and so there is no need to encourage them … right? Leaving visitors on their own without constantly reminding them to contact you is a mistake that can cost you business. You should be using several methods to encourage any visitors to take the next step in the form of call to actions within the website. This can be as simply as adding text that outwardly tells them to “contact” you, adding a phone number within your paragraphs, or even better by adding a contact button in an readily available location.

Stop Worrying About Those Dead Links

Having broken or non-functional menu items screams amateur to those viewing your website. Although it may be a pain in your side to have those buttons fixed, the greater problem is that this issue tells your potential clients you either don’t care, or even worse, don’t know how to fix your website. Get these issues resolved so that you can put your best foot forward with your online brand.

Keep Your Nostalgic Website Forever

This is one scenario I like to share with clients when it comes to their online brand. Imagine 50 of your ideal prospects are coming into your office for a meeting, but before they get to the conference room they are lined up outside. Before they walk in, they each look at your website on a computer setup in the lobby.  How do you feel about your online brand now? The truth is your website is one of the first impressions potential clients get of your brand. Make sure you use this as a tool rather than a thorn in your side.