Turn More Hits Into More Sales

 

Article by: Tony L. Callahan


Have you ever visited a business web site and found you have absolutely no idea what they are selling? It happens to me all the time. It seems that many web site designers get caught up in the fun and excitement of designing their site. In the meantime, they lose site of why they were creating it in the first place.

Why do businesses create a web site? What is the purpose of a business web site? Simply stated: "A business web site is a source of information for those who want to learn more about your product or services."

What things can a web site designer do keep from being caught up in design and losing site of the purpose? I try to analyze any web site I design by the following criteria:

Content Is The Key To Sales

Good content sells product, flashy graphics are neat. Are you trying to produce an award winning site or a site that sells? 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.

Don't Divert The Visitors Attention

Ask yourself: "Does that cool animated GIF play a necessary role in delivering my message or is it there because it looks neat?" Integrating animation, sound and Javascript into your web site may be fun but it rarely enhances the message. In fact, it frequently distracts your visitors to the point where they miss the point of the site altogether. Use flashy technology sparingly and only if it is important to your presentation.

Careful With Color

Be aware of the use of color. Dark colored text on a light colored background provides the best contrast for viewing. Also be aware that, subconsciously, colors have meaning. Red and pink are associated with passion; blue, gold and gray are associated with professionalism and quality; yellow and green are associated with youth and vigor. Be sure that your color scheme delivers a message consistent with your copy.

Keep It Short

Many studies indicate that people will not scroll down to view your web site. Where ever possible, keep your content down to one screens worth of information. Make multiple pages, if necessary, to deliver your message. People are more likely to follow links than to scroll down. Remember, screen resolution will affect how much can be displayed per screen. Design with lower resolutions in mind.

Build For Speed

Several studies have revealed that if your visitor has to wait more than ten seconds for your page to load, they will move on to their next destination. Assume your visitors are connected via a 14.4 modem, many still are.

Make Navigation Easy

Guide your visitor through the sales process with easy navigational aids. Using the same button graphics saves load time and helps the user recognize your navigation points. Standard menus from page to page throughout the site also help.

Avoid Non-Universal Formatting

Framed pages are not supported by all browsers. They are also slower to load. Avoid framed pages where ever possible and always provide a non-framed option if you must use them. Also, not everyone is using Java enabled browsers and some who are using enabled browsers have Java turned off. If you must use Applets or Javascript, test to be sure your user can handle Java and prompt them to visit another, non-Java page if they cannot.

Test Different Browsers

Different browsers display the same HTML in different ways. A page that looks great in Netscape may look very different when viewed by a visitor using Internet Explorer. At a minimum, test your web page designs with both Netscape and Internet Explorer.

Clearly, getting hits to your business web site is a good thing. Once the visitor has surfed to your site, you should be concerned with converting the hit to a sale. No amount of technique will overcome the visitor's resistance to a poor product. If you are offering a good product at a fair price, following the criteria outlined above will help insure that your message isn't overwhelmed by the technology. This will eliminate one barrier to turning more hits into more sales.

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Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Links-subscribe@topica.com.

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