Attract Buyers to Your Web Site With Valuable Content
Give People Reasons to Visit and Buy from Your Web Site
Content is the most important component of your web site. Useful content gets visitors to your site, engages them, builds credibility, and converts them into buyers. Surveys indicate that 80 percent of visitors go to web sites to get information. Only 5 percent are interested in graphics.
Valuable content can include how-to articles, reports, tips, links to useful resources, and freebies.
For example, a web design company may provide free graphics and diagnostic tools. A CD web site may offer free reviews, biographies of musicians, and an online jukebox that allows visitors to preview their music selection.
To make money with your web site, you also need to include:
- Contact information. Include your name, business name, email, 800#, local phone number
(international prospects can't call 800 numbers), fax, and mailing address.
- Company information.
- Product information, the benefits of your products and services, how to purchase them, and their best uses.
- A compelling, benefit-oriented sales letter.
- A special offer.
- A call to action.
- Ordering information.
- An online order form.
Target Your Audience
- Provide information that is valuable, useful, or entertaining to your target market.
- Feature content relevant to the topic of your site.
- Use a feedback form to find out what your visitors and prospective buyers want.
Visitors typically come to your web site four to seven times before they buy from you. Our next report reveals how to keep attracting prospective buyers to your site and turn them into buyers.
Keep Attracting Prospects and Turn Them into Buyers
It may take 4 to 7 visits before your web visitors buy from you. New information, regular changes, and updates keep visitors coming back to your web site. As your visitors develop confidence in you, they will be more likely to buy from your products or services. Follow these tips to keep prospects coming back, win their trust, and increase your online sales.
Capture your visitors' email address
Collecting email addresses is essential to staying in touch with your prospects. Provide a free report or subscription to your ezine (electronic newsletter) to capture your visitors' email address. Follow up with ezines, offer more valuable information to establish credibility, inform them of what's new on your site, and invite them to return to your site.
Provide valuable information and benefits
If your visitors don't see anything that interests them, they will go to your competitors and may never come back. If you provide plenty of valuable information and benefits, they are more likely to bookmark your site and come back later.
Studies show that people spend more time at a site that changes regularly.
1. Make changes and provide new, original, and useful content often.
2. Update your web site at least once a month, even if the changes are minimal. Make small changes, e.g. updates, new articles, a tip of the week.
3. Keep all information current.
4. Indicate the items you updated.
5. Mention that you are continuously adding new information.
6. Ask visitors to bookmark your site and come back for new information.
Content that attracts prospective buyers back to your site
1. Updated information (e.g. industry information).
2. Timely information (e.g. events schedule, class schedule, articles, tip of the day/week).
3. Updated product (e.g. latest edition of your book, updated virus software).
4. New product (e.g. new software demo).
How to generate content for your site
- Recycle information from newsletters, postcards, free tips, and reports you already have.
- Spend time exploring useful web sites and request permission to use some of their articles.
- Go to free content sites providing archives of articles you can publish on your web site.
Provide valuable content and update your site regularly to give prospects compelling reasons to return to your site. The more frequently they return, the more likely they'll buy your products and services.
Plan Your Web Site for Profits
Most businesses fail to plan for online success. Knowing your purpose, audience, and uniqueness are the first steps to developing a successful web site. Follow these three steps to position your web site for Internet profits.
Step 1: Determine Your Purpose
The first step in planning a web site is to determine what you want to accomplish. Do you want to sell products and services, find new customers, establish credibility, or improve customer service?
The purpose of your web site will affect its content and design. Depending on your goal, you may want to write articles to establish trust, provide a compelling sales letter, a catalog, product information, a secure online order form, and a shopping cart.
Step 2: Define Your Ideal Customers, Their Needs and Concerns
Many web sites are trying to attract everybody. Don't make this mistake. Your web site will be more profitable if you focus on your ideal prospects who are likely to buy your products or services. Ask the following questions to create a profile of your ideal customers.
- Who are your customers?
- Who wants or needs your products or services?
- What is the age range, gender, profession, industry, income level, and education of your ideal customers?
- What are your customers' needs, wants, and concerns?
- What problems can you solve for your customers? What problems do your products or services solve for them?
- Who will be visiting your web site?
- What is the common denominator of your visitors?
- Why will they come to your site?
- What information do they want?
- Are most of your customers computer literate? What computer monitor and screen resolution do they have? What browsers do they use? Do your visitors connect to the Internet with a slow modem or a fast connection such as cable or ADSL?
Target your web site's content and design directly to your ideal customers. Attract your target audience with a benefit-oriented headline. Tell right away what your web site is about and what's in it for them. If they don't read further, they were not prospects.
If you are targeting seniors, make your text large. If your prospects are accountants, use a conservative design. Make your design colorful for children. Avoid movies, sounds, and Flash animations if your clients have slow computers and Internet connections.
You can dramatically increase your web profits by focusing on your customers, provide information they want, and solving some of their problems.
Step 3: Demonstrate Your Uniqueness
Emphasize your uniqueness to make your web site stand out and set you apart from your competition. Attract your audience with a benefit that is different from other web sites. What is your distinct advantage? What separates you from your competition? What is distinctive about your offer? Why should your prospects choose you over others?
Visiting competing web sites will give you ideas about content, design, and features you may need for your web site. Then develop a site that stands out and distinguishes you from them.
Answer these questions to help you formulate your uniqueness.
- What are the most important results your customers will achieve from your products or services?
- Why should prospects buy from you instead of your competitors?
- What do you do better than anyone else? Do you possess hard-to-find or specialized expertise? Do you offer a free consultation, initial visit, analysis, or better advice?
- What makes your products or services better, unique, or more desirable than your competitors?
- Do you have the lowest prices or the highest quality products in your industry? Do you provide the fastest service, the strongest guarantee, longest hours, or better follow up? Do you keep customers informed with newsletters or information hotlines?
Plan your web site for profits. Determine what you want to accomplish with your web site, who your ideal audience is, and what makes your online business unique. Only after implementing these steps are you ready to start developing your web content.
Storyboard, Flow Chart, and Design Map
A flow chart provides a strategic plan for developing a web site.
- Clarify the needs of the client, web designer, and target audience.
- Indicate the site's content and how users will find the content (navigation).
- Map out how the site will be organized.
Design maps describe the layout, content, navigation links (buttons, images, keywords, and topics)
on each page of the web site.
A design map also shows the connections (categories and connection between the pages), links and organizational structure of the main pages, subordinate pages, pop-up windows, and the location and importance of relevant images.
See samples of organizational charts in the resource section (bonus reports), including Web Site Development Schematic Showing Linked Pages and Web Site Development Schematic Showing Linked Pages.
Getting Your Web Site Launched on the Internet
To get your web site on the Internet, you need a domain name and a hosting company. The following information answers frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about domain name registration and hosting.
What is a domain name?
Your domain name or web address is a unique name, identifying a specific web site, for example, http://www.websitesin5.com/. Having your own domain name is important to attract potential buyers, convey a professional image, and inspire trust.
You can register your domain name with .com and other suffixes. The .com extension usually
refers to a commercial web site. Many businesses also register their domain name with .net and .org endings to ensure competitors or speculators do not register a similar domain name.
A domain name can include up to 67 characters, including the .com, .net, .org, .edu, or other extensions.
Follow these tips when selecting a domain name
- Choose a descriptive domain name that conveys professionalism and is easy to remember and type.
- Consider an address that represents your business name, product name, or a name that indicates your type of business.
- Consider variations of your domain name like making it plural, adding dashes, or underscores.
- Include keywords in your domain name to boost your search-engine ranking e.g. web-design- resource-center.com, webdesignresourcecenter.com, or webdesignresources.com.
More tips about domain names
- You can use numbers, letters, and hyphens (dashes) in your domain name, but the web address cannot start or end with a hyphen.
- Avoid confusing characters like zero, one, l, 2, s, and z to minimize the risk of typos. The number zero (0) can be confused with the letter O, and the number "1" with the letter "l."
- Special characters such as ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) and ? are not permitted in web Addresses.
- Domains cannot contain spaces.
- Domain names are not case sensitive, so you can spell your domain in uppercase, lower case, or a combination of both, e.g. http://www.websitesin5.com/ or http://www.websitesin5.com/
Fees for domain name registration
Each domain name registration service or registrar, sets its own price for registering domain names. Fees range from $20 to $80 to register a domain name for one year. You can register a domain name for one or two years. Some registrars offer free or discounted registration services in connection with other offers, such as web hosting. Make sure they are reliable. Receiving a $10 discount is not worth the delays and hassles you may encounter. Ask your professional web designer for a referral.
To keep your domain name, you need to renew the registration and pay a renewal fee each year.
Parking a domain name
If you want to reserve a domain name but don't have a hosting company yet, you may have to pay a fee to a hosting company or registration service to hold or park your name. Some registrars charge
$70 and others offer parking for free. Make sure they are reliable.
Registering a domain name
It's best to choose a hosting company first before registering your domain name. Have the hosting company register or transfer your domain name.
You can check the availability of a domain name at http://www.websitesin5.com/domain_names or any of the registrars listed by http://www.internic.com/.
You can register your domain name yourself through domain name registration services. Internic provides a list of ICANN-accredited registrars (the organization governing domain names) at http://www.internic.com/regist.html. When submitting a registration or transfer, the registrar will ask for the name of two domain name servers that contain your IP address. Your host will give you that information. Once your domain name has been registered or transferred, it takes approximately
72 hours before it becomes active.
IMPORTANT TIP: When registering your domain name, make sure you are both the billing contact and administrative contact. If your hosting company lists itself as the billing contact, you won't have much leverage to keep your domain name if you decide to switch hosts.
When changing hosting companies, you can keep the same domain name and email address (connected to that domain name e.g. email@example.com). You simply transfer your domain name to a different hosting company.
It is important to protect your business and product names by registering them as a domain name before someone else does.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Hosting The following section answers frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about hosting. What is a server or hosting company?
Every web address must reside on a server (host computer) to be accessible on the Internet. A server is a computer that is connected to the Internet and uses specialized software to make web pages available on the Internet at fast speed. Because obtaining and maintaining your own server is expensive and requires specialized skill, small businesses usually rent space on a hosting company's server to store their web pages. When Internet users enter your web address into their browser, the host directs them to your web site.
Can I use my own computer as a server?
Yes, you can, but it's not a practical idea. When you turn off your computer, nobody can access your web pages. Hosting companies use much higher speed lines, allowing your web pages to be viewed at a much faster speed than your telephone line.
Can I get free hosting?
Free hosting has many limitations and often provides only limited space for personal use. A major disadvantage of free hosting is that you will have a long address which starts with the provider's name such as http://www.yourprovider.com/yourname/yourfilename.htm. In addition, most free hosting companies place advertising on your web pages that distract from your message and slows down your pages.
Hosting fees range from $7-$100/month, depending on the space and features you need. The average fee for hosting for a basic small business web site is $30-40/month. If you want a secure server and shopping carts, you'll pay more.
To convey a professional image, you must pay for hosting and get your own domain name.
Design Your Home Page to Motivate Prospective Buyers
Generally you get only one chance to grab your visitors' attention. Use these four easy steps to compel prospective buyers to explore your web site.
Step 1. Headline
Start your home page with a compelling, benefit-oriented headline, followed by a subheadline.
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Step 2. Description of your web site
Target your audience by describing your site's content in one to three sentences. Tell what you can do for your visitors, what problem you can solve for them, what solutions you provide, and what your qualifications are.
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Step 3. Provide links
- Provide links that give visitors an overview of your site's content.
- Turn your links into headlines. Include action words and benefits to invite and motivate people to go deeper into your site.
- Write several headlines with different hot buttons to motivate a larger number of visitors.
- Link to a testimonial page. Providing testimonials from customers or authorities in your field is a powerful way to convey the benefits you offer.
- Provide a link to your sales letter, catalog, and order form.
Step 4. Capture your visitors' email
- Get your visitors' email address and build email lists of your prospects.
- Few people will buy from your web site on first contact. Generate leads with your web site, stay in touch by email, and turn your visitors into customers. Send regular email to establish trust; provide additional information and value; offer additional products and services; and get visitors to return to your site. Over time, they will develop confidence in you and buy from you.
- Offer something valuable to get your visitors' email address such as a free special report, newsletter, evaluation, consultation, discount, or special offer.
- Keep the sign-up form brief. Ask for your visitor's email address and name. Ask for their address and telephone number if you're planning to follow up by mail or phone.
Examples of valuable information:
- Yes! Send me your FREE report "Top Ten Ways to Generate Web Traffic."
- Enter your email address here and receive "10 Secrets That Are Guaranteed to Make Your Internet Profits Explode!"
More tips to make your home page effective and keep visitors at your site.
1. Keep your home page short. Visitors should be able to see the important information on your home page without scrolling down. Studies show that more than half of the web surfers never scroll down past the first screen of information, so provide your benefits, site description, and USP at the top of the page.
2. Make your home page fast loading. If people have to wait to view your home page, they will leave and go to another web site. Avoid large graphics, flashing animation, audio, video, and other technical features that slow your page down.
3. Make it easy and logical for visitors to get to the information they want.
4. Make it easy to contact you. Provide a phone number, email address, and web address.
Let's recap how to motivate your prospects to explore your web site: Target your ideal prospects, grab their attention with benefit-oriented headline and links, and tell them what you can do for them. Don't forget to capture their email address and stay in touch by email to turn your visitors into customers!
If you are not experienced with web design, a professional designer can help you turn your text and graphics into an easy-to-read, easy-to navigate, professional-looking web site. Professional designers know which layout and techniques are most effective.
Increase Sales with a Professional Web Site
Design plays a crucial role in a web site's success. Your web site is the first impression people have of you. It's often your first and only contact with your prospects and customers. Follow these tips to create a powerful online image and increase your online success.
- Create a professional-looking web site. A professional-looking, easy-to-read-and-navigate web site is essential to building trust and converting web visitors to customers.
- Be unique. Design original graphics and layouts to obtain a unique look. Stand out from the crowd. Avoid templates and clipart graphics. Use graphics that support your sales message. Don't clutter the page with graphics that have nothing to do with the content.
If your web site is professionally designed, visitors will conclude that you are professional. If your web site looks amateurish, they will assume that the quality of your services and products is unprofessional too.
Give a positive impression with your web site. Convey a professional, competent image with pleasing, powerful design to encourage visitors to stay at your site longer, return to your web site, and convert visitors into customers.
Combining layout, graphics, typefaces, and color into a unique design requires the talents of a skilled professional. Hire a professional designer to create a special look for your web site, show professionalism, build trust, and increase sales.
What Visitors Like and Dislike
How user-friendly is your web site? Here's what Internet users and buyers say they like and dislike.
What Internet visitors like:
- They like pictures without sacrificing speed. Your web site's speed has a significant impact on user loyalty and sales. A slow web site will cost you sales. Visitors won't wait more than10 seconds for your web pages to load. Don't make visitors wait for graphics they're not interested in. If you want to illustrate your products with large images, provide thumbnails (small graphics) and let visitors decide if they want to click on them to view larger images that take time to download.
- They want easy and logical navigation. Viewers want to find what they're looking for without having to go through numerous pages or clicking on numerous links. Use terms for your navigation buttons and links they will recognize such as Home, Order, and Contact. Avoid home pages with animation that don't tell anything about the content and take a long time to load. Instead, provide plenty of links on your home page, giving an overview of your web site's content and choices.
- They like being in control and having multiple choices. Give them choices by providing many links.
- They love content and freebies. Useful, valuable, and entertaining content gets visitors to your site, engages them, builds credibility, and converts them into buyers. Valuable content can include how-to articles, reports, tips, links to useful resources, and freebies.
- They love customer service and will return to sites that treat them well.
What Internet Visitors dislike:
- They dislike long pages. They prefer clicking through several short pages rather than waiting for one long one to load.
- They dislike pop-up windows - a message window that covers the main page and pops up each time they go back to the home page or when they leave the site.
- They dislike clumsy frames and drop-down menus. Newbies may not even know how to use drop-down menus.
- They don't like difficult-to-use web sites. When using sophisticated features, software, and programming, consider how real people access your features. Test if the typical user can use your database, book a concert, or use your pull-down menus.
Follow these tips to make your web site user friendly. Give your visitors what they want and make it easy for them to use your web site so they'll refer your site to their friends, return often to your site, and buy your products and services.
How to Make Your Web Site User Friendly
Prospective buyers like web sites that are fast loading, easy to read, and easy to navigate. Follow these tips to make your web site user friendly.
- Speed up your web site. Your web site's speed has a significant impact on user loyalty. A slow web site will cost you sales. Visitors won't wait more than 10 seconds for your web pages to load. Make your pages fast loading (especially your home page) to keep visitors at your site.
- Make it easy for prospective buyers to find what they are looking for. Easy navigation is essential to keeping prospective buyers at your site. Provide plenty of links on your home page, giving visitors an overview of your web site's content and choices. Provide links to your home page and main sections (such as order form, contact page, products, and articles) on every page. Visitors may not visit your pages in the sequence you would like them to. Provide a site map
(table of contents) if your site has more than twenty pages. Make sure all links are working.
- Make your web pages easy to read. An easy-to-read, professionally-designed web site can maximize your sales. Use color and spacing to make your web pages easy to read. Dark text on a light background is easy to read. A hint of color softens the screen. Avoid text on dark and busy backgrounds. Break up your sales copy into short, easy-to-read sections and use subheadings to highlight benefits. Split up long pages into several pages.
The next chapters will provide more details to make your site easy to read, easy to navigate, and fast loading.
Increase Sales with Easy-To-Read Web Pages
Make sure you've made it easy for visitors to read your web pages. Web pages with readable text will generate more sales than fancy pages that are hard to read. Follow these design tips. Not only will your web pages be easier to read, but you'll keep potential buyers at your site and position yourself to increase sales.
Keep Pages Short -- Especially Your Home Page
- Put important content at the top of your pages so it's visible on the screen. Users may not scroll through lengthy pages.
- In general, limit the length of a web page to two screens.
- Split up long pages into several pages.
- Use left aligned text rather than justified text.
- Write short paragraphs (4-5 lines).
- Indent paragraphs in sales letters.
- Limit the width of your web pages to fit your visitors' monitors. Your visitors don't want to scroll left to right to see your content or reach navigation buttons.
- Keep the look, layout, navigation, typefaces, and colors consistent on all your pages.
Break up Copy
- Avoid long pages of text.
- Break up text with white space, color, columns, lines, bars, and graphics.
- Break up copy into easy-to-read sections.
- Use subheadings and bulleted lists to highlight benefits.
Color and Contrast
- Use color sparingly. Too much color can be distracting.
- Select a background color that contrasts with the text color.
- Avoid blue backgrounds when using blue links (the standard link color).
- Avoid dark backgrounds. Dark text on a light background (white to light pastel) is easy to read.
- Avoid text on multi-colored background images. Most background images will decrease the readability of your text.
- Use web-friendly colors. Colors that look bright on your monitor may appear dark on someone else's and make your message unreadable.
- Avoid small type, reverse type (white text on dark background), and italics.
- Use capital letters sparingly using in your body copy.
- Limit the number of fonts in a web site to a maximum of three.
- Use a type size that is geared to your target audience. For instance, use larger type for older readers.
- Emphasize important words, headlines, and sentences by using color, bold, and different text sizes. But do so sparingly. Too much bold or color reduces the impact.
- Avoid underlining text. Readers might think your underlined words or sentences are links.
- Use standard fonts. If you're using fonts your viewers don't have on their computers, their browsers will show substitute fonts and your web pages can look totally different on visitors' computers than how you intended them to look. You can avoid this by using fonts most people have, such as Arial, Times New Roman, and Verdana. These fonts are also easy to read on computer screens.
- If you want viewers to see a special font, you must convert the text into a graphic.
- Avoid special characters like curly quotes, curly apostrophes, n-dashes, and m-dashes. These characters are unique to different operating systems and may convert into bogus characters in web sites. To avoid this, use a text editor such as Notepad (Windows) or SimpleText (Mac) and check your pages on several operating systems.
Images and Graphics
- Use images and graphics that support your sales message.
- Keep animation, blinking text, and scrolling text to a minimum. They distract the reader from focusing on your text.
Check Your Pages
Web pages may look different on your visitors' computers, depending on their computer, monitor, browser, and fonts. What may look great on one browser may look unprofessional on another. View your web pages with different browsers, computers, platforms (PC and Mac), screen resolutions, and settings. Statistics indicate that visitors use a wide variety of browsers and platforms.
If you're not experienced with web design, hire a professional web designer to design your web pages and convey a professional look.
Keep visitors, prospects, and buyers at your site with easy-to-read, interesting content. An easy-to- read, professional web site can maximize your sales. Apply these techniques now.
Increase Sales with an Easy-To-Navigate Web Site
Can your visitors find what they're looking for on your web site with one or two clicks? Easy navigation is essential to keep visitors at your site and turn them into buyers. Follow these 13 steps to make your web pages easy to navigate and compel prospective buyers to explore your web site.
1. Provide plenty of links on your home page, giving an overview of your web site's content and providing choices for your visitors.
2. Put clear navigation options at the top or left of your pages, so visitors see them right away. Users may not scroll through lengthy pages. In addition, repeat some links and add a "Go Back to Top" button at the end of long pages.
3. Provide links to your home page, main sections, order forms, contact page, and products page on every page. Potential buyers may not read your pages in the sequence you would like them to.
4. Use simple terms for your navigation buttons and links visitors will recognize such as "home,"
"order," and "contact."
5. Use standard underlined hyperlinks for recognition. The standard color for non-visited links is blue. (After visitors click on the link, the link color changes.)
6. Include a site map (table of contents) if your site has more than 20 pages.
7. Put your URL and email address on every web page (e.g., http://www.yoursitename.com/).
8. Make navigation simple and consistent throughout your web site. Keep the style and location of your navigation buttons and links the same on every page.
9. Turn links into benefit-oriented headlines and include action verbs to motivate potential buyers to click on your links. For example, Ten ways to increase your web sales immediately. Sign up now to get this $29 report FREE.
10. Describe your graphics and navigation buttons in ALT tags (alternative text describing your images for visitors who browse your site with the images turned off). ALT tags can also improve your search engine rankings.
11. Avoid "splash" or "entry" pages (home pages with animation) visitors have to click on to enter the site that don't indicate what your site is about.
12. Avoid frames, drop-down menus, and pop-up windows. They may confuse visitors.
13. Make sure all links work.
Make it easy and logical for potential buyers to get to the information they're looking for. Apply these steps now and watch your sales increase! If you need assistance implementing any of these strategies, turn to your professional web designer and ask for help instead of wasting your valuable time.
Speed up Your Web Site and Increase Sales
Your web site's loading speed has a significant impact on your visitors' loyalty. A slow web site will cost you sales. Most visitors won't wait more than 10 seconds for your web pages to load. Apply these techniques to speed up your pages, keep potential buyers at your site, and increase sales.
Six tips to speed up your web pages.
1. Give viewers something to read as quickly as possible.
2. Provide a lot of graphics or images only if you know your audience has fast Internet connections. (Your load time will vary depending on your visitors' access speed.)
3. If you're targeting the general public, avoid large and unnecessary graphics, animated graphics, sound, movies, Flash animation, and large banners -- especially on your home page. (Graphics slow your web pages down considerably.)
4. Use graphics and images that support your sales message and illustrate the benefits of your products or services.
5. Keep your pages short. Split up long pages into several pages. Breaking up pages into several pages also allows you to track which pages potential buyers go to.
6. Avoid links to slow-loading pages.
Visitors like pictures without sacrificing speed. Apply these tips to optimize your images.
- Keep images and graphics as small as possible, both in dimensions and file size. The larger the file size, the longer the images take to download.
- Don't make visitors wait for images they're not interested in. If you want to illustrate your products with large images, provide thumbnails (small graphics), and let visitors decide if they want to click on them to view larger images that take time to download. Mention the download time.
- Crop images (cut off extra areas around the images).
- Keep the resolution of your images to 72 dpi, the maximum resolution a computer monitor can read.
- Reduce your file size by saving images in the proper graphic format (GIF or JPEG).
- Reduce the number of colors. Use solid colors rather than gradients. The more color in an image, the bigger the file size is, and the more time it takes to download.
Graphic Resource: Paint Shop Pro is a popular, inexpensive graphic program to design and edit your images. You can download a trial version at http://www.jasc.com/.
Studies indicate that billions of dollars in online sales may be lost each year in the U.S. due to unacceptable download speeds. Don't lose sales with a slow web site. Apply these techniques now! If you need assistance implementing any of these strategies, turn to your professional web designer and ask for help instead of wasting your valuable time.
Avoid These Common Web Design Mistakes
Let's look at some common Web design mistakes that will reduce your web sales.
Web Marketing Mistakes
- Lack of marketing. You need to market your web site for visitors to find you.
- Lack of unique content. Without valuable content, visitors and buyers don't have a reason to return to your web site.
- Me-oriented content to satisfy the ego of the company CEO, Web designer, or programmer. Instead provide content that focuses on the customer.
- Starting a page with "Welcome to my Home Page" instead of providing a benefit-oriented headline. For example, "Eight Ways to Boost Credibility and Online Sales."
- Not updating content. You need to continuously add new information and update outdated information to keep visitors coming back.
- Lack of keywords in your web content, page titles, and description. This will result in poor search-engines positioning.
- Missing META tags. Some search engines can't index you without META tags and your prospects won't be able to find your Web pages.
- Missing or hard-to-find contact information. Mention your contact information on every page to build trust and make it easy to buy from you.
- Trying to be everything to everyone instead of having a unique selling advantage.
- Not providing an online order form. Make it easy to buy from you by providing several ordering options, including a secure online order form, an 800 number, and a fax number.
- Not accepting credit cards. Offer several payment methods, including major credit cards. The majority of sales will come from online orders paid with credit cards. If you are not accepting credit cards online via a secured server, you will lose sales.
- Typos. You'll loose credibility.
- Splash or entry pages (home pages with animation) visitors have to click on to enter your site instead of indicating what your site is about.
Web Design Mistakes
- Faulty links.
- Poor navigation and faulty links that make it hard for visitors to find the information they are looking for.
- Missing images.
- Slow-loading pages. Prospective buyers won't wait for your pages to load.
- Dark, multi-colored and distracting backgrounds that make text hard to read.
- Blue background. Blue links, the standard link color, won't be visible on a blue background.
- Underlined words/sentences that can be confused with links.
- Frames that are difficult to navigate, bookmark, print, and index for search engines.
- Special characters such as curly quotes, curly apostrophes, n-dashes, and m-dashes. These characters are unique to different operating systems and may convert into bogus characters in web sites.
- Pages that are wider than your visitors' computer monitors and force visitors to scroll left to right. (Create the width of your web page to fit your audience's monitor to avoid horizontal scrolling).
- Background music on your home page. Visitors will be tired of hearing your music when returning to your home page. Have a "Stop Music" button. If you are a musician and have music on your site, make listening to the music optional.
- Pop-up windows (a message window that obscures the main page) that keeps coming up each time visitors return to the home page. (Have the pop-up window come up when people leave the Web site only).
- Flashing banners, animation, scrolling text, irritating blinking text, marquees, distracting messages in the browser status line, and other features that can annoy visitors.
- Under construction pages. Put your pages up when they are ready.
Think like a prospective buyer who is visiting your web site for the first time. Your web site will be successful only if you provide what your customers needs.
Ask for feedback from a professional web designer, customers, and business associates. Check your web design and content with these tips in mind. Correct the problems. It will pay off in sales and profits.