Everybody is online these days. Age isn’t really an issue. We have kids, young people, Baby Boomers, great grandmas, you name it. The problem is, not everyone is particularly savvy when it comes to interacting online. Here are a few tips:
When sharing a link, make sure it’s live.
A link will only work when you add http:// to the beginning of it. If you post the name of a website such as www.mywebsite.com no one can click on it.
Don’t use a link that is too long.
Use a URL shortener. I use http://bit.ly/
The long link above now looks like this
The problem with using long links is that they may get broken up in an email or post. If you are promoting an affiliate product and your link is broken, you will not get credit. Plus, it looks funky.
With bit.ly, you can also track how many times people have clicked on your link. Click on stats to check to see their interest level, or if you are in the right market.
Avoid using endlessly long paragraphs on posts, articles, or Facebook Notes
Have you ever tried to read a long drawn out paragraph that never ends? Maybe you have XRAY vision, but my eyes start to blur when a paragraph is too long. Keep paragraphs short and break them up with headers, bullet points, numbers or broken lines. Limit paragraphs to 4-5 sentences maximum.
When composing an email newsletter, don’t get carried away
It’s tempting to add fancy graphics, large unusual fonts, and tons of information to an email newsletter. The problem is, it is very hard to read. I have seen some that you have to scroll down for days, with slow loading graphics, and non consistent text. Keep newsletters short, simple and to the point.
Use small graphics (about 150px) Remember that many people these days are reading email on their Smart Phones. Graphics do not show up. Make sure to include a plain text email as well. Fonts such as Tahoma, Verdana, or Ariel are easiest to read, especially on the web. As much as I have always loved it, Comic Sans, looks like something you would put in a PTA newsletter, but looks cheesy for business.
Spell check! Need I say more?
Do not spend thousands of dollars on a website that does nothing
I have been looking at many local business websites lately and am shocked to see how dead they look. They sit there with no means for customers to interact, other than find your phone number. This type of website is basically an online phone directory. Unfortunately, web designers often charge large amounts of money to put them up and then you do not have access to make changes, unless you hunt them down. Typically, the designer is excellent at hard coding, which makes the site somewhat pretty, but has no clue about marketing.
It is important that your website be easy to navigate, and also encourage some type of interaction. There are fabulous plugins available to help your visitors tweet your posts, share on Facebook, make comments, participate on forums, etc. This gets the word out about you and your business much faster.
On the other hand, do not go overboard with plugins and gismos. Personally I get ultra annoyed with pop up, or fade in opt in boxes, or social bookmarking icons that cover up the text in a post. I use a small netbook and need all the room I can get. Some claim it gets them more conversions, but for me, it makes me NOT want to opt in.
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