by Terry Young
Many business owners feel a website is just a website.
However, if you are serious about generating new business or making sales online, your website is just as important as your physical store or office. Every business owner knows that a prime location is everything.
Also, how your store or office looks, and how accessible it is, can make a very big difference when it comes to bringing in new customers or clients.
Imagine how much more important these factors would be if you were setting up shop in a strip of thousands of businesses which offer exactly the same products or services as yours.
I am continually amazed at the people who call us who haven't even looked through our portfolio to see the quality of work we do.
You would have to make sure that your location was not only near the beginning of the strip, but also looked more appealing than the rest to draw people in.
If you are serious about generating new business
This is exactly what doing business on the internet is like. When someone does a search for your products or services, they find thousands of results of businesses just like yours. Furthermore, most people only visit the first 2 pages of results, the top 20. If you are outside of those, you may never be seen.
If you are to be successful online, you have to be able to reach the maximum number of people possible, and create the best possible impression. This requires several basic rules. Here's rule number one.
User Compatibility - There are so many different browsers (Netscape, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, AOL, etc.) and operating systems out there that you have to appeal to the most basic possible criteria to reach the most people. From the size of the site (its width and height on screen) to drop down navigation menus, animation, and text effects, everything has to be very carefully planned out so you don't alienate visitors, your potential clients.
It is extremely important, while your site is being designed, to have as many friends and relatives as possible check it out. If you know more 'technical' people, ask them to deliberately check using as many browsers as possible. If they discover issues with your site, be sure to tell the designer and have these corrected before you sign off on the site.
Next Month: Rule #2 - Feel the need for speed
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design. Since 1997,