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Your website is the virtual equivalent of your business or store. It is where potential customers come to see if they are going to do business with you. The design of your website can either help make them comfortable with you or it can drive them away to your competition. There are a few very simple and important methods to designing your website so your potential customers will feel confident to do their business with you.

1] The first impression a new visitor has of your site is critical. Do not make the mistake of filling this essential initial view with a fancy but uninformative gateway page. It should not be a further door that has to be opened. Simply your business name and a further link to click in order to get to the information about your business is more likely to have them look elsewhere instead. Make sure the visitor’s first visit offers them an idea of what you are about.

2] Regardless of whether your site is basically an affiliate portal or not, avoid excessive use of banner ads. Most users easily ignore these billboards along the Information Highway. They give a sense that you have nothing of real substance to offer them but the same thing a thousand other sites might have. It is best to offer real information, either a product review or an article about the products or services you offer. You can then couple this useful information with a banner if it is appropriate for leading to the place where they would purchase the item.

3] Make sure you have an easy to navigate format for your website. The ability to quickly find just what they are looking for will add to your potential sales. Avoid heavy flash-oriented menus. Not only can they detract from the quick discovery of your website contents, they will slow down the load-time for your site and provide an opportunity for the visitor to just move on to something less bulky and time-consuming.

4] Provide a way for the visitor to know where they are at within the body of your website. This can be done through clearly marked color-coding on the page or a header notice proclaiming the area of current interest. By putting up some sort of “You Are Here” sign, the visitor can more quickly know they can browse this particular section for what they are seeking. Make sure they do not have to wander around all over your site looking for their interest.

5] However tempting is can be to add an audio advertisement to your site, such practices tend to be more of an annoyance than a sales aid. The majority of people surfing for information will either be running silent for preference or playing a style of music that appeals to them. A sales pitch overriding their preferred music will automatically leave them with a negative idea of your site. The new user will be more likely to click the “Back” button than reach to turn down their speakers. If you must have audio, make sure there is a highly visible way for the sound to be muted or turned down.