IS YOUR WEBSITE A WINNER?
By Pam Jones

Marketing on the Internet can be somewhat challenging. Whether you are selling a product or service online or offline you need to market that product or service.

Are you marketing your website, but still not getting the sales you would like to receive? Maybe your website is holding you back. Here are a few things to consider to have a winning website:


1)   Is your site easy to find?
Do you have your own URL? There are many reasons for having your own URL, but the most important is the ease of prospects to remember how to locate your site. It also shows that your serious about your products or service. In a sense your URL is your online business card.

2) Does your site have a good title and meta tags?
Some search engines use title tags and meta tags for indexing your site. You will want a good title for your site. The description is what others see when your site comes up on search engines. List keywords in order of importance.

3) Does your site have a headline?
Do your visitor know  "What's in it for me if I read this page?" or does your site  focus mainly on the features of your product or service? What leading benefits do you offer visitors to your site?

4) How professional is your website?
Does it contain typos or grammatical errors? Why give visitors any reason to doubt your professionalism? Be sure to use spell check or have someone else proof your site for errors before putting it up for the whole world to see.

5) Does your site consist mainly of  "I" words?
You want your visitors to feel that your site was made for them. Make use of "you" words in 90% of your content.

6) Does your site consist of  frames?
Many older browsers don't support frames and some search engines don't index them properly. If you feel that you must use frames in your site be sure to offer a non-frames version.

7) Do you have "Under Construction" signs on your site?
It is best to have your site ready before putting it on the www. You certainly don't want to have your site ready when you submit to the search engines.

8) Does your home page scroll into cyberspace?
I have been to some sites that seem to go and go and go and go like the EverReady Bunny. It is better to separate it into sections. Use your home page as a map for the rest of your site.

9) Are the graphics on your website really necessary?
Or are they turning away traffic because it takes too long for your site to load? Sites where the main purpose is entertainment need graphics. However, if you are trying to gain exposure to as many visitors as possible you want your site to be easily accessible.

10) How much FREE content do you offer from your website?
The more free information you offer from your website, the better. You can offer an article or two about how your product or service can benefit your visitor or updates to your site. Whatever you offer make sure the information is
valuable information and not just a sales pitch. I've also seen lots of sites that offer everything under the sun that has nothing to do with the main intent of the site.

11) Do you have links from every page on your site to your main page?
Or do people get lost in your site and have to continually press the back button to get back to where they might want to go?

12) Do you have links leading people away from your site?
Can they get back to your site easily? You have spent money on your website and in promoting your product or service. I don't know how many sites I have been to where right off the bat I'm blasted with banners and links to other sites.

13) Do you have a MAJOR PURPOSE for external links?
Why are you leading visitors away from your site? Will you make money as an associate by providing the link? Are you trading links with others? Does the link offer additional information pertaining to your product or service?

14) Is your site interactive?
Provide simple forms for your visitor. Ask for information about your prospects. It is easier for a prospect to fill out a form rather than for them to email you for more information. Also by having a form for your visitor to use you receive the information you need to know how to proceed with that prospect. I have various forms on my site pertaining to the different services offered. I also offer an email form so the prospect can receive the form in an email message, review the information and reply to me with the information requested rather than having to do it online.

15) Is your site confusing to visitors?
Is it easy to navigate? Does your visitor have to search for what you are offering them? There have been a few sites I have been to where I have to click three or four links to get to what I am looking for. Some of the easiest to navigate sites I have been to offer links to the main portions of the site on each page. This makes it very easy to get where you want to go without constantly hitting the back button.

16) Do you have a way of collecting the email addresses of your visitors?
I can't stress how important this is. You need a way for your visitors to voluntarily give their email address. This gives you an opportunity to follow-up with them about new products, offering your newsletter, whatever you have to offer them.

17) Do you follow-up with your prospects?
It has been said that it takes at least seven contacts with a prospect to make a
sale. Prepare sales letters and follow-up with your prospects constantly!!

18) How many options of ordering do you offer?
Do you offer secure credit card ordering? If your visitor isn't comfortable in ordering online do you offer an address or phone number for ordering. The more options you offer the more sales you will receive.

19) Do you fulfill orders in a timely manner?
Let your customers know how long it will take for them to receive their orders. If it will take 6 weeks-tell them so, and fill the order in 4 weeks. Fill all orders as quickly as possible. It is better to fill an order sooner than expected, than to tell a customer it will take 2 weeks and they receive it in 4.

20) Do you have any "missing graphics" or broken links on your site?
Have you been to a site and waited for the graphic to show up? Or clicked on a link and gotten a 404 error? Check your site periodically for things that might need to be fixed.

21) Do you provide contact information on every page of your site: physical address, phone number, fax number, email address (yours-not your webmaster)? You would be surprised how many sites I come across that offer no way of contacting the sight owner. How can you make sales if no one can contact you?

22) Is your site a "cookie nag" or do you have JavaScript Pop-Up Windows? Have you ever been to a site where you had a cookie pop up every time you clicked a link, or a window pop up every 3 seconds?

23) When was the last time you checked your search engine positioning?
Have you submitted your site to the major search engines in the last 6 months? You don't want to spam the search engines by submitting your site every week; but it is necessary to submit on a regular basis or when you make substantial changes to your site.

24) Are you marketing to your TARGET AUDIENCE?
Do you know who your target audience is? It is futile to think that anyone and everyone are your target audience. The more targeted your audience is, the greater your sales will be.

25) Do you promote your website offline?
Do you  have your url on every piece of information that leaves your office (i.e.: business cards, letterhead, brochures, offline advertising, etc.)?.

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Pam Jones specializes in offering quality information and services that will keep you on the right track with your online marketing to help you increase your profits. Visit the Internet Marketing Resource Center at http://www.i-m-r-c.com, for tips, tools, resources and helpful articles. Or find out about web hosting, website design or redesign, domain name research & registration, online marketing & promotion and website maintenance services at affordable prices for small to medium sized businesses at Clearwater Web Solutions at http://www.clearwaterwebsolutions.com.


 
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