By Guy Clapperton

E-business has of course helped everyone to make a better business but there are still mistakes that can be made. Here is a list of guidelines, based on experience and observing actual events, which will help completely demolish your company if you’ve a mind to:

1. When you receive an e-mail, make sure you sit on it for a few days before replying. Customers are doggedly loyal on the Internet and they won’t just log onto someone else’s website and take their money elsewhere while they’re waiting for you.

2. If you want to design a website, make sure it’s packed with as many different colours and fonts as you can. People enjoy headaches. Blue on blue is particularly useful and indeed is so difficult to focus on that British war planes were painted blue on the bottom just so that they were difficult to make out against the sky.

3. Set up an e-shop so customers can order online. Don’t think about delivery, mind you; be like the household name supermarket in the 1990s that found it didn’t have enough delivery vans so started sending trade delivery lorries to people’s houses. They were surprised, to say the least.

4. When you’re choosing an Internet name, don’t worry about registering in more than one territory. When PriceWaterhouseCoopers decided to rebrand its consultancy as Monday it registered the domain name ‘introducingmonday.com’ and overlooked ‘introducingmonday.co.uk’; the B3ta satirical website immediately bought the .uk version and filled it with a song about a donkey and chanting about how they’d stolen the name. It would have cost around £10 to overcome this (and no, the song isn’t still there, Renault now owns the site).

5. Assume websites are exempt from the Disability Discrimination Act, whatever you do. Nobody’s seriously going to take you to task because someone who’s partially sighted or disabled in another way can’t navigate their way around it.

6. Always ask for people’s dates of birth when they want to become a customer online. People enjoy that sort of intrusive question and won’t vanish to the competition faster than you can blink.

7. Put a few obstacles in front of the online shopping basket and the actual moment of payment. People will enjoy the feeling of suspense.

8. Try to evolve a distinctive Internet presence and don’t worry at all about making it consistent with your company’s appearance outside of Cyberspace — people like to be kept on their toes and unsure whether they’re still interacting with your company.

9. If you’re doing a web promotion worldwide, give away a bottle of champagne in a prize draw. You’ll find you’re exempt from gaming and licensing laws in all the territories in which you’re advertising so won’t have to do your homework.

10. If you’re going to do a blog, don’t worry about keeping it too up to date and don’t concern yourself about libel laws — nobody’s going to take them seriously (except one high-profile case in France in which someone was sued, but that’s different, right?)

N. B. If you want some serious advice, reverse all of the above…

www.clapperton.co.uk