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Archive for December, 2007

What makes a website good at generating sales?

A successful website should provide plenty of examples of how your product or service is used in real life. You need to show the customer how he can use your product or service to accomplish his goals. A customer is not going to believe what you tell him, but he is much more likely to believe your real world examples.

A good website helps your business grow sales

Why do you have a website? Is it merely a $1,000 business card? If so, your website is not living up to its purpose. More likely, you want your website to help your business grow sales. If your goal is to grow sales, do you think your website does a good job at this? Could it do better? This last question is the one business owners, or those in charge of marketing, should be asking regularly.

How can your website do better? First, realize that to get a customer to buy your product or service your website needs to accomplish two things:

  1. Let the customer know you exist. How can the customer use your service if they don’t know about your company?
  2. Convince the customer you can serve his need. Is the customer convinced you’re not just blowing hot air and that you can really provide what you claim?

The first element, let the customer know you exist, is easy. If the customer is on your website, you’ve already accomplished this.

Convince the customer you can serve his need

The second element, convince the customer you can serve his need, is the hard part. How can you convince the customer? There are four steps to convincing the customer your product or service can help him.

  1. Provide examples of your product or service and examples of what you’ve done in the past.
  2. Briefly and succinctly describe your product or service on the first page of your website.
  3. Discreetly provide high-quality pictures of you, your employees, your offices, your equipment and products.
  4. Tell your customer what to do if they want to buy your product or service. Should they call you, email you, purchase online…?

Again, examples, examples, examples. People often say, “Show me. Don’t tell me.” Why? Because a lot of companies exaggerate what they can do. That’s why examples are easier to believe. Therefore, show examples of what you do and, if you can, what you’ve done in the past. Examples are trusted more than statements.

How many examples should you show? At least one. If you can, show more than three. It isn’t possible to have too many examples. But if you have lots of examples, make sure your examples are well organized otherwise they might be hard to understand.

Of course the three other steps are important too. On your first page put a simple explanation of what you do. On another page on your website, explain your product or service in as much detail as possible. High-quality pictures of you and aspects of your company, and a call to action, will also improve sales.

So examine your website. Is your website taking all four steps listed in this lesson? If not, then…

  • identify what changes you need to make, and
  • contact a web developer to start making those changes.

When you make positive changes, your website visitors will be much more likely to buy your products and services and to recommend them to their friends or colleagues.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Categories: Sales strategies   Tags: , , , ,

A Good Link on Increasing Website Traffic

How can you increase website traffic? I’ve listed a number of ways on this website, but today I found a list of ways to increase website traffic I felt was worth sharing.

I think SEO Logic has put together a fairly good list of recommendations. Many of these suggestions to increase website traffic are free.

Perhaps the most effective suggestion is towards the end. Writing a press release and publishing it through a company such as PRWeb is an excellent way to increase website traffic. If you can, publish as many articles as possible. Over time such efforts will pay dividends.

Promotions:

Choosing a good company that offers quality link building service is your best option if you plan to let someone else handle your link campaigns.
Vertical measures provides link building services.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 24, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Categories: Useful Readings   Tags:

Announcing a New Class, “Promoting Your Business with Effective Web Content”

Summary: Ayos Website Design is launching a new class, January 16th, to teach business owners how to use useful website content to attract increase website traffic.

A website must be useful to get visitors. Wouldn’t you agree, you don’t like to waste your time on a useless website? Your customer is the same.

With this in mind, how can you create a useful website? By providing quality information. With this in mind, we are happy to make the following announcement.

Starting January 16th, Ayos Website Design is launching a class entitled, “Promoting Your Business with Effective Web Content”. This class will be taught by Todd Hibbs, owner of Ten Cent Solutions. His experience at Microsoft lends itself well to this course outline.

The purpose of this class is to help business owners and marketing executives understand how they can increase their website traffic using articles, blogs, audio, and video.

The class is 2.5 hours and is offered in a classroom format with plans for future online classes. We hope that you will find this class as beneficial as our past classes.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 20, 2007 at 9:07 am

Categories: Courses and Webinar   Tags:

What are the worst mistakes you can make on your website?

ten web design mistakes

Jakob Nielsen, one of the world’s top website usability experts, does an annual review of the worst mistakes you can make on your website. This year’s list is now available! I don’t agree with all ten, but numbers 10, 7 and 9 are definitely critical for business homepages. Read and enjoy!

Read the full Alertbox at: Top Ten Mistakes of 2007 in Web Design …

    To resume this Top Ten List :

  1. bad search
  2. PDF files for online reading
  3. no color change for visited links
  4. non-scannable text
  5. fixed font size
  6. a bad HTML <title> tag
  7. advertising too agressive
  8. ignoring conventions of webdesign
  9. opening new windows in the browser
  10. not answering and ignoring visitor’s questions

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 19, 2007 at 8:17 am

Categories: Useful Readings   Tags: ,

Lessons from Our, November 7th, Website Marketing Class

website analysis course

7pm on a Wednesday evening is always a difficult time to start a class. Most attendees are tired after a long day of work, and it takes effort to start an intense two hour training course. At such a late hour, I was happily impressed by the eagerness of attendees to learn what makes their website succeed or fail.

Successful business people are learners; they are forward moving, progressive. This also happens to be the type of person that is willing to attend a web marketing training course at night, after their competitors are settling in for the night. Why do I say this?

You could see these strengths in the discussions we had, the comments attendees made. I really had a lot of fun, and I think they did too.

Most attendees already realize that their websites can use improvement. Thus, they are eager to learn. Nevertheless, before going into every class I worry, will attendees identify specific improvements they can apply to their website? As the class wound down, around 9:30pm, I was relieved that each of the ten attendees answered, yes!

In summary, the key lesson is that many businesses are losing website sales because owners and marketers need to learn more about website marketing. The after-class feedback confirmed that attendees consider these classes a valuable service. I will continue offering them as long as our classes receive positive feedback.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 16, 2007 at 10:37 pm

Categories: Courses and Webinar   Tags: ,

Is the first page your customer sees the correct one?

It’s easy to always point your customer to your home page. However, is that what your customer wants to see? If you point your customer to the wrong page on your website he may leave before he finds what he is looking for. Thus, you won’t get the sale.

This is especially a problem if your customer is visiting your website after viewing one of your advertisements. For example, if your Google ad says that you have a 50% off sale, clicking the ad should take the customer directly to your sale and not to your homepage.

Problems like this can make the difference between getting a sale and not getting a sale. Make sure your ads point the customer to the correct page.

This article (http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol8/promo_no3.shtml), on NetMechanic.com, explains what makes a landing page profitable:

  • the landing page must be well targeted
  • the five essential components of a good landing page
  • page design is here to establish trust
  • experiment and test different types of landing pages before launching a marketing campaign

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 14, 2007 at 9:20 pm

Categories: Useful Readings   Tags: ,

Increase Site Traffic By Giving Customers a Reason to Visit Your Site Frequently

Summary: To increase site traffic, post entertaining or educational content (whichever is appropriate for your business) to your website at least once per week.

If a customer visits your site once, do they have a reason to ever come back again? Take a good look at your website and ask yourself that question.

Most salesmen will tell you that you almost never win a customer on the first phone call. A good sales person builds a relationship with his customer. Your website must do the same.

Building relationships takes time. At first, a visitor to your website is going to eye you with skepticism, especially if they’ve never heard of you and just chanced upon your website through a Google search. Chances are, most customers will look at two pages on your site and then leave.

However, if you can give the user a reason to come back to your website then perhaps on their 2nd, 3rd, or 49th visit they will buy from you. This long term engagement is critical to increasing your site conversion rate.

How do you keep customers coming back? The best way is through entertaining or educational content. Try some of the following:

  1. Put a blog on your website and teach a lesson in each post.
  2. Post training videos on how to use your products or services.
  3. Conduct your own audio talk show, and place the MP3 files on your website.

Any of these ideas will get users to regularly return to your website, and eventually these users will become paying customers.

The key though is regularity. You need to post new content at least weekly, but at best daily. The truth is you can never post too much, but of course time is limited. So put something new on your website at least every week and stick with it for at least six months. If you do so, you will see an increase in site traffic.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 12, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Categories: Tips to increase site traffic   Tags: , ,

Increase Site Conversion By Making Text on Your Site Scannable

Studies of how users read on the Web found that they do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five different writing styles found that a sample Web site scored 58% higher in measured usability when it was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was written in an objective style instead of the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time resulted in 124% higher measured usability. Such improved usability will increase your site’s conversion rate.

Read the full Alertbox at: Jakob Nielson Alertbox – Writing for the Web

    Some conclusions of this interesting study:

  1. Simple and informal writing are preferred
  2. Credibility is an important issue on the web
  3. Outbound links can increase credibility
  4. Humor should be used with caution
  5. Users want to get their information quickly
  6. Text should be scannable
  7. Text should be concise
  8. Users like summaries and the inverted pyramid style
  9. Hypertext is well-liked
  10. Graphics and text should complement one another

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 11, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Categories: Useful Readings   Tags: , ,

How much should you pay for a good website host?

ASP WebHosting

Summary: For sites that are static HTML and have fewer than 1,000 pages, you should not pay more than $10.00 per month for world-class hosting.

Many companies overpay for website hosting. I receive calls from customers that are paying anywhere from $35 – $75 per month for website hosting for very simple websites. Unless you’re running a complex e-commerce solution or a dynamic website with a heavy duty database backend, that is way too much money to spend on hosting.

For sites that are static HTML and have fewer than 1,000 pages, you should not pay more than $10.00 per month for world-class hosting. That’s right, $10.00 per month.

One of the best web hosts on the internet is Crystaltech.com; I use them to host this website. I found Crystaltech through trial, error, and research on web hosts. Their most basic plan costs only $2.95 per month. Crystaltech’s uptime is 99.99% (as of Dec, 2007), which is excellent, and their customer service is responsive.

How much are you paying for your web host?

If you have a simple static website with less than 1,000 pages and you’re paying more than $10.00 a month, you should make a change to save money now.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - December 10, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Categories: Useful Tools   Tags: , ,

Are mistakes on your website costing you business?

Searchenginejournal has published a list of ten mistakes to avoid if you want to generate business through your website, ignoring any of these tips results in lost business.

Read the full article at: Top Ten Mistakes When Setting up an E-commerce Website

    To resume this very good list:

  1. Complicated Checkout
  2. Bad Payment Gateway
  3. Information Overload
  4. No Product Information
  5. Not having a good return policy & terms
  6. Not Securing Your Site
  7. No Products on home page
  8. Slow Loading Speed
  9. Poor SEO & Marketing
  10. Not Up Selling

Update on March 25, 2011 : Previous link for Top Ten Mistakes was http://www.microsoft.com/uk/smallbusiness/starting/technology-in-business/sales-and-marketing/top-ten-online-mistakes-when-setting-up-a-website.mspx, but this link no longer exists. I found this other one which is also very interesting.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - at 9:47 am

Categories: Useful Readings   Tags: , , ,

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