Creating a Winning Web Site
Marketing on the Internet can be somewhat challenging. Many times people put up a web site and expect the sales to start rolling in. This does happen in some cases, but not the majority. Your web site can either be a marketing success or a marketing failure. You will have a better chance of having a winning web site if your site contains the following elements.
You already have your domain name and hosting service, right?
Start with a piece of paper and a pen. Make an outline of the thoughts and ideas you want to express in your site. Start with your home page and work out from there. Create a list of keywords others would use to find your site. Use these keywords as often as possible in your text and still make sense.
Create a Compelling Headline
Your headline will be the first thing your visitors will see. Your visitors need to know "whats in it for me" as soon as they enter your site. Do something to get their attention RIGHT AWAY! Don't use your home page to tell about your company and the features of your product. Put this information on a separate page if necessary. Your visitor is looking for BENEFITS not FEATURES. What leading benefits do you offer visitors to your site?
Keep Your Web Site Professional Looking
Here are a few common errors I see on web sites that take away from the professionalism:
Spelling and grammatical errors
Difficult to read text
Be sure your graphics and text line up and are not scattered around on the page.
Is the look and feel of your site consistent?
Invite Your Visitor Into Your Site
Write your text as if you were talking to your visitor personally. Make your visitor feel welcome while they are at your site.
Don't Use Unnecessary Graphics
Don't take the chance of turning away traffic because it takes too long for your site to load. A business web site needs to be as easily accessible as possible with a minimum of distractions.
Every time something blinks, moves, or makes sound you use up precious time and resources. Don't use them unless they help you serve your purpose.
Offer FREE Content
The more free information you offer from your web site, the better. Whatever you offer, make sure the information is valuable and not just a sales pitch.
Try to keep your offers in respect to your target audience. What types of information would THEY (your visitor) be interested in?
Make Sure Your Pages Link to Your Home Page
Don't let your visitor get lost in your site and have to continually press the back button. Provide easy navigation links with a link to every major page in your site.
Don't Lead Visitors AWAY From Your Site Unnecessarily
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have links to other sites at the very top of your home page. As soon as a visitor clicks on a link to another site, you take the chance of losing them forever. You have spent money on your web site and in promoting your product or service. Why do you want to send your visitors someplace else?
Make sure you have a purpose for every link leading 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?
If the links you provide on your site aren't beneficial to your purposes, have a separate page for exchanges and links. This way the links won't be taking away from possible sales from your site.
Create A Way For Your Visitor To Interact
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 necessary to know how to proceed with that prospect.
A few examples would be to provide a subscription to your newsletter, offer a survey related to your products or services, provide a contest, request additional information.
Get Your Visitor's Email Address VOLUNTARILY
I cant 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. By getting your visitor to voluntarily submit their email address you are able to follow up with them to announce special offers and invite them back to your site.
TELL Your Visitor What You Want Them To Do
Do you want them to order? Invite them to Order Now and direct them to your order form.
Do you want them to request further information? Invite them to request information from your autoresponder.
Tell your visitors what you want them to do and provide the means for them to do it. I've seen too many sites that are just "there".
Provide As Many Options For Ordering As Possible
Click this link for information about Merchant
Make Sure You Don't Have Any Broken Links
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. Sometimes glitches happen and you need to check these periodically to make sure all aspects of your site function properly, especially if you have links leading to another site.
Provide Contact Information on EVERY Page of Your Web SiteHow can you make sales if no one can contact you? Providing contact information gives credibility to your site. It shows that there is a real person behind it. The Internet provides a means for legitimate businesses to expand their horizons, but there are also a lot of crooks and scams out there. I, personally, won't purchase from a site that doesn't provide contact information.
You should at least have an email address on every page of your web site (yours-NOT your webmasters). Other information can include a physical address, phone number, and fax number. If you don't feel comfortable providing your physical contact information on every page you should at a minimum provide a page with this information. It can be an About Our Company page with a little bit of history about your company.
Include Your Web Site Address On ALL Offline Advertising
Do you have your URL on every piece of information that leaves your office (ie: business cards, letterhead, brochures, offline advertising, etc.)? You want people to know your web site is there from all avenues of advertising and promotion. Dont leave any stone unturned when it comes to promoting your web site.
Train your employees and sales staff to mention your site at every available opportunity.
Get a Second Opinion
Get a second opinion from a friend or other trusted person. I offer a FREE Web Site Analysis and will look at your site and offer any suggestions for improvement. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
Click here for a few HTML tutorials and other web site building resources.