In the online world, it is far too easy to make a mistake and have it available for countless eyes to see. While most businesses might think accidentally sending an email to the wrong recipient or posting something questionable on a social network are going to be the biggest faults to avoid, there are other mistakes businesses make online that make them look unprofessional, or even foolish. The following are some examples of mistakes businesses, especially new business owners, make online and how to avoid them.
Email Addresses Not on the Company’s Domain
If you have a website up and running, which most businesses do, make sure you have an email address off your website’s domain. It will make you look unprofessional, even amateurish, if you are corresponding with business contacts or clients but have an email address listed at a @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, or (even worse) @aol.com address. Setting up an email account on your domain is easy and relatively inexpensive, depending on the hosting service you use. The only time it is acceptable to have an email address on a free emailing service is when you are first building your website. Even then, as soon as you are able to, switch your email account to one off your domain name.
Including “Sent From” Messaging at the Bottom of Emails
Most smartphones and tablets will default to featuring a message at the end of sent emails that lets the recipient know where the email came from (“Sent from my iPad” or “Sent from my Blackberry”). Your business contacts don’t need to know where your email is coming from. Make sure you change this setting in your email options and choose a more professional email signature.
Featuring Outdated Information on Your Website
Depending on whether your website features a content management system, it might be difficult for you to update your website’s content on a regular basis. However, that doesn’t mean you should feature outdated information or descriptions of events that have long since passed. About once a month, have a member of your team survey your website and ensure all the content is up to date. If you notice anything on your site that is no longer applicable, such as deals that have expired or information about events that have come and gone, change the web page’s content to replace the outdated information with current information. You don’t have to change all the content on your site, just anything that has gone stale.
Broken Links or Incorrect Information in Email Signatures
Your email signature has the power to take your business contacts directly to specific pages of your website, so make sure your signature is accurate and up to date. It also represents a strong branding opportunity for your business if it is implemented properly. If you work in sales, feature a direct link to your request for proposal page or any other page prospects might be interested in. Also make sure that you include links to any relevant forms of communication for your business: Facebook brand pages, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn pages, and a link to your website. Also double check that all the links in your signature point back to the right places.
Stuffing Keywords Into Your Website’s Content
If you’re familiar with the best practices of search engine optimization, you’ll know that keywords are an important part of a good SEO strategy. What isn’t good for SEO is stuffing your keywords into your body content to the point it doesn’t make sense to the average site visitor. Even worse, some business owners try to hide keywords onto web pages to mask them from visitors but make them visible to search engines. This is a huge mistake and will actually get you penalized by search engines. Incorporate your prized keywords carefully and make sure they actually make sense in the context of where you’ve included them. Your website should always keep the end user in mind, not search engines, so make sure your information makes sense.