Thursday, January 17, 2008

Forget the Home Office Remodel, Add Another Bathroom

If you've ever sold a home, you're probably familiar with the real estate industry's guidelines about which home improvements will deliver the most return-on-investment.

A rule of thumb, for instance, is that remodeling a home office is a poor investment for home re-sale; however, an additional bathroom can make your house more attractive for quick sale.

As you consider which web site improvements to budget in this year, consider only those that likewise will increase your site's "sale value".

Here's a list of the do's and don'ts for companies on a limited budget (aren't we all?):

· New content: Do. Review your site's current positioning on the major search engines and create content for important terms with which your site is not performing.

· Search engine optimization: Do. If it hasn't been, have your site optimized for the keywords that your customers and prospects would use to locate you on search engines.

· Link-building program: Do. This is an important way that search engines measure your site's importance in your industry.

· Web site audit: Do. A comprehensive audit will check to make sure that internal and external links work, contact forms are operational, your site's performing on search engines, etc.

· Foreign language pages: Do. If you routinely do business outside the U.S., devote pages to the language of your other markets. It'll help position your site in foreign search engines.

· Technical data sheets: Do. Give your prospects enough information about your products to want to do business with you or contact you for more information.

· Site redesign: Do. If your site hasn't been professionally designed, it's time to ante up for the good paint.

· New site navigation: Do. If you're site looks like it has Bandaids all over with buttons and links that were added after the site was launched, it may be time to re-do the navigation to make it more user-friendly and attractive.

· Back-end applications: Do, if it improves your company's ability to serve your customers in an efficient manner. Don't, if you're trying to cut out customer service by making your clients do all the work.

· Flash: Don't, unless you've already done the do's and have money left over.

· More images: Don't, unless the graphic conveys information better than text.

· Videos: Don't, unless your video shows something that would be difficult to describe or illustrates a significant difference in how your products work or are used compared to competitors.