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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 28, 2013 • Issue 13:01:02

Website mistakes to avoid

Surfing the web has become routine for most consumers. And with each mouse-click, they glean more information and form opinions about the companies behind the websites they visit. People tend to bookmark the websites they will return to and abandon those they judge unworthy of further attention

Payment professionals also search the web for new partners, vendors or employers. Unfortunately, payment businesses can make website mistakes that hurt their chances of landing new business relationships. Following are two potential pitfalls:

  • Online chat: One problem is the "live online chat." The concept is good, but sometimes no one is there on the company's end, and visitors receive either no response whatsoever or a notice such as, "Customer representatives are currently offline. Please try again later." This reflects badly on companies because they're raising expectations and then not delivering on them.

    Since the web is open 24/7 and website visitors exist in many different time zones and countries, companies offering live online chat should provide it around the clock or, at the very least, post the hours during which live reps will be available to chat.

  • Flashy animation: Another potential annoyance is the online greeter in the form of an avatar or video host that confronts visitors as soon as they navigate to sites. Some people enjoy these animated guides; others do not. Setting the avatar default to off and giving site visitors the ability to turn the function on, if desired, allows businesses to welcome visitors without instantly turning off those who recoil at being greeted by avatars.

    Certain animated graphics can also be problematic. Flashy graphics may be appropriate for video game sites, for example, but content-based websites should be focused on just that: content. Whatever deviates from a company's core mission will likely distract visitors as well.

Taking time to understand what exasperates web visitors will result in an improved corporate image and more prospects who are open to hearing and responding to your messages. end of article

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