The purpose of a small business website is to enhance brand reputation and increase both traffic and sales. Unfortunately, many websites are constructed poorly and cut corners, resulting in a loss of traffic and a poor user experience.

There are five mistakes that small businesses must avoid if they want their website to be successful and continue to grow.

1. Slow load times. On the web, speed is everything and the speed by which a website's pages load is incredibly important.

Just a matter of seconds can make a difference. Slow loading pages drive people away more than anything else.

2. Information overload. Giving visitors too much information right from the start, is like walking into a room and being introduced to everyone at once.

The key is to use your home page or landing pages to seduce visitors to dig deeper into your website. Giving too many choices can spell the end of a website.

3. Poor website design. Most Internet users have gotten into the habit of browsing through websites, expecting to find menus and other forms of navigation in the usual places.

You can still offer users an innovative website design, while conforming to design norms. Placing your website menus in unexpected places will annoy your visitors and ruin your business.

4) Failure to communicate. It is imperative that business websites provide clear contact information on every page of the site.

If a customer wants to send an email or talk to someone by phone, you need to make it easy for them. Protecting yourself against spam should never come at the expense of customer service.

5) Failure to optimize. There is a lot more to good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) than simply finding a few keywords to place within your copy.

Good research and website analysis ongoing. This is crucial to ensure that your website does not fall behind through outdated copy and keywords that are no longer relevant.

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Twitter recently announced that it is redesigning its popular social networking website, with changes scheduled to be rolled out over the next few weeks.

Now featuring four new tabs, Twitter says that it has created a new streamlined, user-friendly way to stay connected online.

Here’s the skinny:

Home Tab

Just like the default page that all Twitter users are used to, the home tab features a constant feed of tweets by the people you are following. The difference lies in the fact that images, videos and conversations are now embedded within the feed, giving users a more comprehensive view of current stories.

Connect Tab

The connect tab allows users to see how others are interacting with them. This section allows you to see who is following you, mentioning you, retweeting your post or adding them to their favorites.

Discover Tab

This customized tab shows all news and trends as they relate to your interests. The discover tab will automatically pull up news related to not only who you follow, but to your location as well. Of course, you can also customize your own news feeds by searching a #hashtag to see related posts and tweets about that particular subject.

Me Tab

The “me” tab allows users to introduce themselves to the Twitter community. The new streamlined look incorporates a user’s bio, photo, interests and a feed of the users recent tweets. The tab also shows direct messages, so you can keep the conversations going.

Tweet Tab

The Tweet tab makes it easier than ever to share your thoughts with the Twitter community. Users can send tweets instantly from any location on Twitter and now users can tag their location or upload images and videos directly from their device. In addition, a new “auto-complete” feature pulls up a list of people you follow when you want to @mention someone.

Although it may be a few weeks before the redesign is available to all users, sneak previews are currently available through mobile apps for the iPhone and Android.

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Google has reported that it will be investing $300 million into a Hong Kong data center scheduled to go live in early 2013. The announcement was made during a ground breaking ceremony in China last week.

The money includes the cost of land, construction, and technical equipment, according to Google representatives, who added that the company will employ approximately 25 full-time staffers, along with some part-time and full-time contractors to fill various roles such as computer technicians, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, caterers and security personnel.

"We're working as quickly as we can to get this facility operational so we can keep up with rapid growth in capacity demand across the region," Simon Chang, Google's head of APAC Hardware Operations.

In September, Google announced that it would build data centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

The company also announced that it would launch a community program in Hong Kong, which would provide annual grants of up to $50,000 to organizations that focus on technology literacy and innovation, renewable energy initiatives, and entrepreneurship.

As a jump-start to the program, Google has awarded a $50,000 grant to Hong Kong-based NGO WebOrganic. The grant was awarded in response to their effort to provide affordable laptops and digital literacy programs to underprivileged children in Hong Kong.

Google recently launched a website offering information about the facility (google.com/datacenter/hongkong). There, people can ask questions and find out more information about the project and learn about job opportunities.

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