By Tony L. Callahan
What are the secrets of the super sites? Why do some sites succeed while the majority of others fail? More and more Internet
business owners are asking themselves these questions. The
answers are frequently more obvious than you may think. Below
are 10 tips for better, more successful web sites.
1. Build It For Speed
It's a fact of modern life - people are in a hurry. Nowhere is
that more true than on the Internet. It seems that no matter
how much the technology improves, nothing is ever fast enough.
In fact, several studies indicate that the fast technology
advances, the faster people expect things to be.
So what does this mean for your website design? It means that
you have between 10 and 30 seconds to capture your potential
customer's attention. If they can not at least begin to read
about your product in that much time, they will be headed
To minimize your load time, keep graphics small. Compress them
Streaming Audio/Video, animation) sparingly and only if it is
important to your presentation.
2. Target Your Market
Know who your market is and make certain that your site caters
to their needs. It is critical that your site reflect the values
of your potential customers. Is your market mostly business
professionals? If so, the site must be clean and professional.
Is your product aimed mostly a teenagers and young adults? Then
your site could be more informal and relaxed. The key here is to
know your market and build the site to their preferences.
3. Focus The Site
Make certain your web site is focused on the goal, selling your
product or service. A site offering many unrelated products is
not necessarily unfocused, but this is often the case. If your
business does offer many products, dedicate a unique page for
each instead of trying to sell them all from one page. Upselling
or cross selling is vital but don't dedicate so much to it that
the customer feels caught in a bait and switch. Make mention of
other products but do so subtly.
4. Credibility Is Crucial
The most professionally designed site won't sell if your
customers don't believe in you. The impersonal nature of the
Internet breeds a certain level of mistrust. For your web site
to be successful you must overcome this tendency.
A clear privacy statement is one way to build your credibility.
Every commercial web site should have a privacy statement posted
on line. Provide a prominent link to your privacy statement from
every page on the site as well as from any location that you are
asking your visitors for personal information.
Provide legitimate contact information on line. Your contact
information should include an email address, mailing address,
phone number and a fax number, if applicable. If you are
unwilling to provide this information to your customers, how can
they trust (or buy from) you?
5. Offer A Guarantee
Offer an ironclad, no exceptions money back guarantee. This item
is really a credibility issue but it is important enough to
warrant its own mention. What better way to establish your
customer's trust than to eliminate any risk for them? If the
customer sees that your are willing to assume all of the risk,
they will immediately be more inclined to trust you.
6. Make Payment Easy
Offer a variety of payment methods for your customer. If you
don't currently take credit cards, start immediately. You can
either set up a merchant account or use one of the many credit
card clearing houses. Take checks on line. Provide an address
for those who prefer to pay by cash, check or money order.
Make sure the payment process is clear, easy to access and
intuitive to use. Eliminate as many steps as possible. Do not
ask for any more information than is necessary to complete the
transaction. Nothing frightens a customer off faster than
feeling that their privacy is being invaded.
7. Simple Navigation
Make site navigation easy and intuitive. While it may be
artistic to make your index page all black and hide the link to
continue, will that generate business? If your customer can not
navigate your site to find what they want, they will go
elsewhere. Limit the choices and direct your customers through a
Make sure the site is consistent in look, feel and design.
Nothing is more jarring and disturbing to a customer than
feeling as if they have just gone to another site. Keep colors
and themes constant throughout the site.
9. Design for indexing
85% of all web users find what they are looking for via the top
search engines. Make sure that your page is designed to maximize
your placement. Focus on your keywords and keyword density but
don't sacrifice your message. Utilize the meta tags keywords,
description and title. Use your keywords when naming your pages.
10. Content is (still) king
Good content sells product. Ask yourself the following
questions. Does your copy convey the message you wish to get
across to your visitors? Is it compelling? Does it lead your
visitor through the sales process? Have others review, critique
and edit your copy to insure it is delivering the intended
message. Always double check your spelling and grammar.
Implementing the ten steps above probably will not make your
site as successful as Yahoo or Amazon overnight. If they are
implemented correctly and integrated into an overall web site
design and marketing campaign, you should see a marked
improvement in the site's traffic and sales.
How to Make a Winning Home Page
To create a home page that
will rank well in the search engines and attract new visitors once they arrive takes some advance
planning. Knowledge of a few key points can make all the difference in the success of your site.
Your Web Site User-Friendly
You can create a website that attracts customers, not repels
them, with a little common sense advice.
Creating keyword rich pages for the search engines
Once you have established the
keywords for which you should optimize your site for the search engines, it is time to
figure out how you can get a high ranking in the search engines for those keywords. The
solution is to create Keyword Rich Pages - pages which provide good content and in
which a particular keyword is repeated a number of times so that the page gets a top
ranking for that keyword.