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Set realistic goals for your web site


SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business


The advantages of having a business website have been well documented. For some customers, your site is the first place they will gain awareness of your company. From there, the opportunities appear endless.

An effective website is one that is meeting both your business’s needs and the informational needs of visitors to the site. Assuming that you already have established a Web site, how do you think it’s doing on both fronts? Clearly, an unproductive Web site will be a waste of your money and your visitors’ time.

Here are some factors for objectively evaluating your site-to see it not only through the lens of your business goals but also through the eyes of a prospective customer. It should:

• be current. Making regular changes to the home page is vital to sustain the interest of regular visitors.

• be located easily using the major search engines. ·

• have working hyperlinks to other relevant sites, such as a trade or professional association whose members are potential purchasers.

• be easy to navigate. The files and graphics should be small enough that most visitors can download them quickly. Links within the site should make it easy for a visitor to get back to your home page.

• offer customers and prospects relevant information-that is, material that will help them understand  your products and services and their potential value to them.

• be a secure site, if you are conducting e-commerce on it.

• personalize or customize information for different segments of your market.

• use cookies or other features to capture information about your site visitors and their buying habits without costing them significant time.

• offer customers an easy way to contact you with questions or feedback without their having to leave the site. (And you should be able to respond promptly.)

To sum up, you want your Web site to work for your visitors if your larger goal is to maximize your business potential. So every now and then, step back and become the person you’d like to visit your site.

To learn more about the many dimensions of marketing on the World Wide Web, contact SCORE. SCORE counselors  donate their time to consult with and mentor entrepreneurs  providing free and confidential business counseling to America’s small business owners. Call the Grand Rapids SCORE chapter at1-616/771-0305, or find an online counselor at www.scoregrandrapids.org.

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