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20 Common Website Mistakes To Avoid

20 Common Website Mistakes To Avoid

There are some areas of life where mistakes should best be avoided, and this is true when it comes to operating a website. You can certainly learn from your mistakes when you have a website, but if you take the time to do your homework, you can avoid making mistakes altogether. So what are some of the most common website mistakes, and how can you deftly sidestep them?

1. Don’t Under-Plan Your Website

You wouldn’t open a restaurant without first exhaustively creating a business plan. From its very inception, to its target market, promotion, launch and ongoing growth, you would certainly research each and every conceivable stage of operations. It needs to be the same when you start a website.

Perhaps the single most component of successfully growing a website is content marketing. Original quality content is key for building awareness of your page, establishing your credibility and authority in your chosen area, as well as improving your search engine rankings. Quality content is king, and marketing is a proven way of establishing dominance.

2. Don’t Assume that Longer Pages are Better

The rest of the internet, with its cute kitten videos and celebrity gossip, is just one short click away. It’s important not to demand too much concentration from your audience, and pages that are too long can be a definite turn off. A long page with a huge amount of text can be too much effort, meaning that you’ll simply be unable to hold your audience’s attention for long enough to deliver your intended message.

Your text should be well-written, and displayed in easy to digest chunks. You may even benefit from breaking up the content into appropriate sub groupings, which can then be allocated their own pages. It’s important to understand that many readers will ultimately just skim the page, so don’t underestimate the importance of subheadings and bullet points.

3. Don’t Exclusively Focus on Your Products or Services

Yes, the likelihood is that your website exists solely to sell a product or service, which makes it like countless other websites in your area of expertise. What makes you different? A straightforward website that simply offers the product or service in question will fail to differentiate itself from its competitors. What makes your website (and by extension, you and/or your company) unique?

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Pay attention to branding, and don’t be afraid to inject your personality into your web based enterprise. Do you have a company or personal philosophy, or a particular reason why you decided to start offering the product or service? Personalisation makes for a far more unique experience for the consumer.

4. Don’t Forget That You Need a Clear Call to Action

Users have found your website, and the heartiest of congratulations to you, but the battle is far from over. What do you want from them now? Whether it’s a purchase, a lead, or a subscription, you need to clearly nudge them in the direction of the next step. The design and content of your website will have hooked their interest if they’ve made it this far, and yet you need to add a progression to the next level of interaction by including a decisive call to action – a simple and straightforward next step for your relationship with the user.

5. Don’t Use Slideshows If You Want Your Homepage to Work

Slideshows might be aesthetically pleasing, but that’s about it. In terms of delivering a message, they’re inefficient. The information is certainly there, but don’t assume that a viewer will be looking at the slideshow from the moment the page loads. They might glance at it and begin to read it, only to have the slideshow move to the next segment. It’s far from a certainty that the viewer will attempt to go back and read the item, so it’s best to do without this method of displaying information. They look pretty, but they’re pretty useless, and they can diffuse your ultimate message. Your website can do without them.

6. Don’t Write for All 100% of Your Website Traffic

Well crafted copy should be aimed at a specific market, so attempting to write something that is aimed at 100% of all users who arrive at your website can result in a message that is unfocused and bland. Write content specifically for the smaller number of visitors who are likely to be conversions. A message that is targeted at your niche group is far more likely to result in a higher conversion rate.

7. Don’t Forget That Your NAP (Name, Address, Telephone Number) Needs to Be up to Date

It’s a fairly simple step, and yet it can be easily overlooked. Has your company or any internal departments undergone a change of name? Have you moved to a new location or changed phone numbers? Your NAP needs to be clearly displayed and updated as needed, since it’s so easy to lose a customer forever should they be directed to an incorrect location, or are unable to contact you via a method of their choosing.

8. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Your Site’s Blog

Your website’s blog is an integral part of your overall success. A blog is where you can personalise your site, and therefore, differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s where you can add fresh and interesting content that engages with your potential conversions in the way that a straightforward ecommerce platform cannot. Your blog should have regular scheduled updates, with content that is relevant and well-written.

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A blog is an aspect of operations that many websites outsource, and if you’re incapable of producing an interesting blog, then you should certainly consider farming the task out to a professional writer. A good writer will be able to create engaging headlines and titles, with an article that is written utilising SEO, and yet is still personable and promotional (but not too promotional – a blog is different from an advertorial).

9. Don’t Forget About Your Internal Pages

It’s not all about the homepage! Do your internal pages contain titles and content that is relevant? Internal pages need to be rich with information, as these individual pages can actually figure into your search engine rankings. With a lack of usable information, these internal pages are essentially dead weight. Make these pages work for you by including the relevant information about your product or service that would be expected on a specifically titled internal page.

10. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Mobile Traffic

It’s amazing how many people are glued to their smartphones while out and about. You might see a group of people at a bar, totally ignoring each other as they intently tap away at their phone. They might be shopping for a new product or service, but are you prepared to receive them? Your website needs to be responsive to smartphone based web browsers, meaning it needs to be configured to load quickly and display quickly on a screen of any size. If your page cannot be adequately navigated using a smartphone, then you could potentially be missing out on a significant amount of traffic and conversions.

11. Don’t Fall Victim to the Poor Navigation Trap

Having a website that is difficult to navigate is like inviting guests to your home, letting them get lost, become bored, and leave – never to return. Your website design needs to allow for quick and simplistic navigation, meaning that a user should never become lost. If a user becomes lost, you’re bound to lose them as a potential customer, and this is simply unacceptable. A clearly visible navigation bar needs to be present, prominently placed so that it can be seen on a screen of any size. Don’t forget the sitemap either – this should allow users to quickly and easily jump to any page within your site.

12. Don’t Use Poor Quality Photos and Images

Your website might be the first introduction a potential customer has to your company, and so any imagery used on your website needs to be top quality. Ensure that photos and images are crisp, and anything that is blurry or pixelated should not be used. If you need original photos to illustrate a product on offer, ensure that the subsequent images are of the highest quality – even if it means you’ll need the services of a professional photographer. For other images, you can utilise many of the free online databases that provide stock photos that are free of copyright. Don’t simply “borrow” images freely from the internet, as this is not only illegal, but it can make you look unprofessional.

13. Don’t Use Videos That Are Too Long

Well-made videos that are on-message can certainly enhance your website. The video can be redundant if it’s too long, no matter how well-made it might be. The video exists to engage your audience, not to test their patience. If you have a long message that you feel needs to be conveyed to your audience, consider breaking it into shorter videos of an episodic nature. Videos that follow a logical narrative structure, such as an instructional video, can comfortably be a few minutes in length. Anything else should only run for around 60 to 90 seconds.

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14. Don’t Even Think About Starting a Website Without SEO

Your website looks great, is easy to navigate and makes for a highly pleasurable browsing experience. If you haven’t considered SEO in your website design, then your beautiful website is likely to become adrift in the vast seas of the internet. SEO needs to be factored into website design from the very beginning. A SEO expert will be able to help you with the discoverability of your website, and build this into its very design. Think of SEO as being the foundation of your website, and not its roof.

15. Don’t Forget That Users Value the Need for Speed

How quickly does your page load? If It’s more than a few seconds, there’s a strong possibility that your users won’t wait, and they will in fact become your competitor’s users. A few factors are out of your hands, such as the device being used to access your page, as well as the speed of their internet connection. You need to make it as quick and easy as possible for your users to get to the content they need, and as such, some redesign might be necessary. Does your homepage need quite so much imagery or that introductory flash animation? A page that loads slowly is a page that can be a major hinderance.

16. Don’t Be Tempted by Keyword Over-Optimization

Imagine a group of primitive villagers living in the shadow of a volcano. The volcano erupts and the villagers are terrified. What have they done? How can they appease the angry volcano spirits? If you go down the road of keyword over-optimization, you’re one of the villagers, and you might end up feeling the wrath of the angry volcano spirits, also known as Google.

A sacrifice is in order, and the sacrifice is generally the offending website. Keyword stuffing seems almost logical, but is best avoided. Do not stuff a page with keywords in order to achieve a higher page ranking. Google’s algorithm is highly effective at identifying pages that add extraneous keywords to content, and in some cases, it can lead to the page being removed from Google search results.

17. Don’t Include Unnatural Links

Buying links is not a great way to boost your page’s ranking. The quality of inbound links can play a significant role in increasing your ranking, and yet these purchased links are not of sufficient quality to be of use, and can in fact be highly detrimental. Google views these purchased links as “unnatural” and in a similar fashion to the way they deal with pages who indulge in keyword stuffing, they can remove pages from their search results if the page has blatantly built unnatural links via purchase. Focus on natural, Google-friendly link building through methods such as guest blogging.

18. Don’t Forget About Google Analytics

Google Analytics are free to use, and yet the tool perhaps has a tendency to fade into the background. It’s there, it’s free, it’s a very recognizable brand, and yet it’s easy to forget that it’s available. It’s a vital, ever-present tool that can be your best friend when it comes to gauging success and seeing where you need work. If you don’t know so much about analytics, then Google is a great place to start. It’s user friendly and customizable, and the data can be as exhaustive as you want.

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19. Don’t Be Anti Social When It Comes to Social Media

If your website was a person at a party, would it be meeting new people and networking, or would it be lurking in the corner (wishing it was at home eating chips on the sofa)? You need to unlock the potential of social media by being… well, sociable. If you’re not active on social media, then you’re missing out on potential traffic.

Your website needs a well-maintained social media presence; one that links to your website. Social media is a vital way to reach new customers, many of whom might not otherwise find your page via a traditional search. You can advertise your page with paid advertisement but there are many ways and tricks on how to promote your blog or website for free.

20. Don’t Use Headlines That Directly Talk About Your Product or Service

Users generally visit your website looking to solve a problem. If you’re selling a piece of exercise equipment, then the headline needs to be alluring, so “Here’s how you can be trim and toned in just 5 minutes per day” works far better than something like, “Acme Ab Master 5000.” It’s really that simple.

There you have it! Make sure you follow these simply tips when you work on your own or on your client’s website and you won’t have problems. Do you have questions? Leave a comment below.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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Published on November 9, 2018

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

So, are you ready? Here we begin.

6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

1. Spreadsheets and Databases

Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Access
  • Statistics
  • Data Analytics
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Quickbooks
  • XML Database management system
  • Filemaker Pro
  • MATLAB
  • Hive
  • FORTRAN
  • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
  • SAS

2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Google Analytics
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Page Design
  • WordPress
  • Digital Media
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Campaign Management Software

3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • AutoCAD
  • CorelDRAW
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Maya
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Operating Digital Cameras

4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

  • HTML
  • C/C++
  • Java
  • Python
  • XML
  • UI/UX
  • LINUX
  • CISC and RISC architecture
  • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
  • Memory Management
  • PCB Layout
  • SQL

5. IT Troubleshooting

Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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  • Backup management
  • Diagnostics
  • End User support
  • Client-Server management
  • Installation and configuration
  • Issue tracking system (ITS)
  • System administration
  • Tech support

6. Enterprise Systems

Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

2. Rule the Social Media World

a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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4. Live and Breathe Creativity

a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

b. Canva Design School

From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

  • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
  • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
  • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
  • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
  • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
  • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
  • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

2. Work on Your Efficiency

Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

3. Look for Shortcuts

Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

4. Apply for an Internship

Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

The Bottom Line

Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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