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Hello? Anyone Home?

  |  July 20, 2001   |  Comments

The moral of the story is that reviewing the basics doesn't hurt anyone. If you have it all figured out, this article is not for you. But if you're ready for a brief refresher, here it is.

Whenever we write an article in which we revisit some of the basic standards of Web site development, online relationship building, or some other topic, we get lambasted by readers who find the basics insulting. After all, we're professionals, right?

But it's like people who first join a gym. The fitness instructor is careful to teach proper form, and the student is careful when doing her crunches. Proper form ensures that the exercise achieves the desired result, and it prevents injury. Then you see these people at the gym who have been going for years. When they joined, they went through the training. But now there they are, struggling with traditional sit-ups, doing them as fast as they can. Or look at those people on the StairMaster, leaning forward and hugging the monitor in front. What are they doing to improve their fitness? Not much!

So the moral of the story is that reviewing the basics doesn't hurt anyone. If you have it all figured out, this article is not for you. But if you're ready for a brief refresher, here it is.

Actually, the inspiration for these pointers comes from our friend Dawn, who is not in the dot-com world but who uses the Internet extensively for research in her career and personal life.

  • When your last press release is dated in February (and it's now July), take it off your home page. It gives the impression that you are going under, or no longer care, or both.

  • If the last posting in your forum is older than 3060 days, remove it. It makes your site look as though no one is interested in your topic, or no one is logging on, or both.

  • When a page has been removed, remove the link. A "This page is no longer available" message makes your business (i.e., you) look like it has poor attention to detail.
That's it: three quick tips.

It is difficult for the Internet audience to ascertain whether your business is strong or on its way out. Making sure your site is fully updated is the easiest way to send the message that despite the Internet fatalities of late, your site or business is fully present.

The bottom line is that all the press releases and desperate PR in the world won't make up for a sloppy online presence and inattention to detail.

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Greg Sherwin and Emily Avila

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