Despite the internet offering the fastest growth sector of the economy, many multi million pound companies are still making basic mistakes with their own websites. It feels like many companies still view the internet with suspicion and caution. They do the bare minimum, but, to be frank they see it all as a bit of hassle and they would rather do without it.
These are some of the Common Mistakes Big Companies are Making on the Internet.
Many Newspapers still publish articles and then delete them. I know because I often link to newspaper articles and then a few weeks later the link is broken. This is annoying and I can’t see any good reason for the newspaper to do this. If they think it is too expensive to host a large number of files they are missing the whole point of cheaper bandwidth costs; The revenue from any advertising will easily outweigh the costs of hosting files. By deleting and moving pages they are losing out on links, traffic and easy monetisation of their site.
Even SEO advice from 6 years ago was suggesting don’t use Frames. Pages won’t get picked up by search engines and it is harder to link to them. Yet, I know some firms with million dollars of turnover still using frames.
- Look at J.K.Rowlings site – doesn’t work with my pop up blocker. At least there is an option of text pages – but, they are remarkably ugly e.g of text page This page is screaming “I’m trying really hard to make this page as difficult to read as possible’
- Tip: Don’t let the dementors design your site.
Getting their Nephew to Make the Site
This mainly applies to various medium sized companies. For some reason many firms are still reluctant to make a professional website. There is a strong desire to rely on some family friend, who is slow or limited in his technical capacity. Often there is then no one in the company who can actually edit the site, but, they rely on the ‘family friend’ to have complete control. I know of a company who spent a fortune on google adwords directing people to their website, but couldn’t get the family friend to update the website from the year 2007 to 2008.
But, We Don’t Get Any Business from the Internet
Many companies are still dubious about the potential of the internet to generate sales. Their attitude tends to be that our existing customers do not come via the internet, therefore it is best to concentrate on our existing customer base. However, this is discounting the internet before you have given it a chance. If you concentrate on your existing sales channels, then of course, that is what will remain your main source of business. To generate internet led business requires an investment of time and money. If it is done well then you can generate a new source of business. But, if you never try then the internet will never work for you.
How Can I Make Money Out of Free?
For many businesses the idea of giving advice and content for free seems to go against basic business practice. A lot of the internet involves giving free advice, free e-books e.t.c. But, giving things for free is a powerful way to build customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and regular readers. In this regard big business have a lot to learn from bloggers who have learnt the power of giving things for free.
- It took several years, but the New York Times finally realised it was better to offer unrestricted access to its newspapers.
Lack of Affiliate Program
I have a cycling site and I have looked hard for a company who offers a decent affiliate program. I have only found one that offers affiliates the ability to link to any page and product. This is good for me because I can generate affiliate sales and make a good commission. But, it is even better for the Cycling Company. It is no coincidence that this company Wiggle are the top of google rankings for most cycling products. It’s affiliate program has given websites the incentive to link to products. Even if it didn’t generate any sales from its affiliate program the site has benefited tremendously from all the in bound links affiliates naturally create. These google rankings are worth a fortune to the company.
- Tip: Give websites an incentive to link to you, particularly with text links. Why not pay websites just for being in the affiliate program, even if they don’t sell any products.
Undervaluing the Internet
Firms with underinvestment in the internet see it as a small % of their business. They see it as something they just have to do. They don’t look at the potential for the internet to generate new sources of business. Perception is everything. If you don’t value an aspect of your business how can it grow?
My Product doesn’t need the Internet.
Whilst it is true that some products do better on the internet than others there is no reason why your product cannot do well. If you have a business selling vacuum cleaners you may think the internet is not for you, but people still search vacuum cleaners on Google. There is nothing that people do not search for. If no one is blogging about cleaning products, why not become the first – this gives you the chance to be the market leader.
For some tips on business blogging check out Chris Garrett’s site and tips on business blogs
Ignoring Google Rankings
Some companies generate criticism and these critical articles appear number 3 or 4 in the Google rankings. This is bad publicity for the company. However, they don’t know what to do about it. A company who wanted to protect their brand image wouldn’t be content with having just one site. They would create mutiple sites and pages so that they gained better rankings. For example, when I search Tesco. – the only thing you see on first page is Tesco sites; they haven’t risked allowing a site :Tescoisrubbish.com to become number 3.
But, if you search Ribble Cycles you see there are several negative reviews in the top 10. It would be relatively easy to push some of these negative results off first page. It would definitely pay back the investment. BTW: Ribble Cycles is a fine bike company I have bought 3 bikes from them with no problems, but, their webtactics are still in the Twentieth Century.
Spending a Fortune on Google Adsense when they could get traffic for Free.
If you blog regularly on your chosen niche you will get relevant traffic for free. The more you blog the more traffic you will generate. This traffic flow is permanent it isn’t just a one off. Google Adwords is a comparatively expensive way to get traffic. If you have budget of £100 a day for google adwords pay a blogger like me £100 a day and I will get more traffic for you through search engines.
Good Web statistics can give valuable information about potential customers. It is in effect free market research. It enables you to see what people are saying about your site. For example, will Ribble Cycles pick up on the fact we are discussing their webtactics? If you follow stats you can quickly act on criticisms and try and nullify them.
Other Criticisms of Big Companeis
- Ridiculously long URLs – Some websites just create ridiculously long and Ugly URLS. Look at this URL from HSBC. It’s for their ‘mortgage section’ -http://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/personal/mortgages;jsessionid=0000LMx3INrRle6fmLxbSHA0LnT:11j5bgs6c
- Rubbish Designs
- Entry Pages- I don’t want to have to click ‘enter here’ I want to go straight to the main page.
- Lack of Feedback Options
- Ridiculous rules on linking to websites. e.g. AA don’t rank for car insurance
Why Businesses need a website that works at Blogstorm