I compiled this list after I attended a speed networking event and reviewed all the other networkers’ websites as a follow-up – remember, this is what NOT to do (with apologies for the double-negatives)!

  1. Don’t include any case studies or testimonials even though they sell you better than anything you can say yourself
  2. Have empty FAQs, despite them being among the most popular pages ever visited
  3. Don’t have an ‘About us’ page (although people do business with people and like to know who they’re dealing with)
  4. Don’t have a picture of you (when YOU are what you are selling)
  5. Use indirect language e.g. ‘in order to allow the client to concentrate on their core business’ instead of ‘in order to allow you to concentrate on your core business’ (direct language is more persuasive and appealing)
  6. Include broken links because people love that ‘404 not found’ page
  7. Make the copy all about YOU and not enough about THEM e.g. ‘We work closely with our loyal customers’ instead of ‘If you want to work closely with friendly local IT experts, you’ll find our door is always open. We’re here 24/7 at the end of the phone or email ready to help you’
  8. Bury the most persuasive fact at the bottom of the page instead of putting it first or highlighting it in a visual way
  9. Write ‘For 17 years’ instead of ‘Since 1992’ so the copy soon goes out of date
  10. Use a free joomla site with a free hotmail, gmail or btinternet email address to make it look really unprofessional
  11. Design a financial site in red and pink throughout (red = danger/debt), whereas blue is a better colour (for stability)
  12. Don’t offer any ‘added value’ e.g. glossary page, useful articles, hints and tips
  13. Have lots of pretty Flash animations even though search engines can’t ‘read’ them
  14. Include plenty of irritating typos e.g. ‘If your selling’
  15. Have a range of inconsistent fonts and sizes, maybe even Comic Sans for real amateur effect
  16. Don’t answer ‘what’s in it for me’ on the home page, so your visitors look elsewhere
  17. Make a big deal of ‘our values’ and ‘our mission statement’ when they should be internal documents not customer-facing ones
  18. Design the site so it breaks in any browser that’s not Internet Explorer
  19. Put the space in the phone number in the wrong place (it should be 020 8xxx xxxx)
  20. Make the content dull so there’s no stickability and no reason for inbound links or repeat visits
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