Have your own website

Websites are becoming today's media of advertising, news, marketing and communication. It is a place where most office professionals find themselves during their eight-hour working day.

Now people can shop, meet other people and make friends, find services including marriage, or even go to school on the Internet.

With these traits, it is fast becoming imperative for every small business owner to consider the website route for growth.

How does one go about ensuring that the company's website is effective? By avoiding the following design flaws at all costs:

l Images, text and colours on the page that are blinking, bouncing, scrolling or turning in circles all around your pages. They tend to take attention away from the real points you are trying to make on a website and make a website look too clumsy and cluttered.

l Images that are squeezed or stretched out of proportion.

l Avoid using styles, fonts and headers with different colours.

l Background graphics or images that are inappropriate for the content of the site (for example, bubbles on a site selling financial services).

l Text blocks that are out of alignment.

l Above all, have a few people, including web developers and marketers, review your website before going live.

Often, websites, especially those of technology companies, tend to be flash presentations instead of an online magazine. Flash is a technology that allows you to put animated presentations and demos on the web.

Designers love it because it shows off their multimedia skills and even motivates the amount they can charge for the site.

Business owners often think it makes their website look impressive and make their businesses appear to be on the cutting edge.

But Flash presentations can make your web page take a long time to load. Search engines don't pick them up, and they often annoy visitors who come to your site for product information or facts in a hurry, not entertainment. Remember, your website aims to sell your business and its services. Focus on this.

Businesses do achieve accolades, awards and prizes and as a proud business owner, we know you want to let others know. A website home page is not the place for this. Visitors to your website are most likely looking to know more about your service offerings - that's why they are visiting your website in the first place.

Get their attention with benefits-oriented headlines and text. The headlines should make clear what you do and suggest a benefit, for example, "cost effective tax consultants".

Don't toss out that company information, though. After you interest the customer in your products or services, they might want to know more about your company before deciding to do business with you. So, if the purpose of your website is to sell your product or services, make the company information a link of your home-page, not the focal point of the homepage.

Don't use the name of your company as the web page title.

Avoid using the name of the company as the title of your homepage, especially if the name of the company does not say anything about your product or service offering. A good name to use on the title might be "John Doe's Agriculture Machines" other than "Esperanza". Esperanza does not say anything about the business and might mislead the search engine when visitors search for the services you offer.