I Wouldn't Start From Here!

Written by Martin Avis

Continued from page 1

Dead links. Do I really need to mention that this is a no-no? Apparently, because so many sites still have links that either do nothing or point to 'under construction' pages. If you don't haverepparttar content - don't makerepparttar 134738 link.

Site Look and Feel ------------------

If you are walking around Paris, New York, London, or any other major city, there is a particular look and feel torepparttar 134739 place. Visitors like that: it addresses that instinctual need to know where we are.

What cities and countries do with architecture and landmarks, web sites need to do with design.

Many people sneer atrepparttar 134740 pre-designed templates that come with web design software like 'FrontPage' and 'HotMetal', butrepparttar 134741 idea is sound: creating a themed 'look'. In this way, visitors know they are on your site, whichever page they are on.

Reassurance -----------

Just as well-drafted maps and effective signposts help tourists to confidently find their way around, so too must we ensure that our site visitors never feel lost.

The easiest way to do this is to putrepparttar 134742 whole site's navigation system on every page. An effective device is to color-code menu items and page backgrounds so that folks know intuitively which section they are in.

Provide browsers with familiar landmarks and they will be content to keep on looking at what you have to offer.

Redesigns are often a quick way of making your visitors uneasy. Now, I have no problem with redesigns - most sites get dated after a while - but not atrepparttar 134743 expense of functionality.

In fact, it seems to be an Internet rule thatrepparttar 134744 more a site is 'redesigned'repparttar 134745 more it becomes impossible to navigate. I had been visiting one ISP's site for a couple of years to pick up occasional emails. Then, suddenly, they decided they needed a redesign. After their (probably vastly expensive) designers had made it modern,repparttar 134746 link to email was hidden way downrepparttar 134747 page. It took me 5 minutes to find it.

Guess which email account I am no longer using?

The Internet is, more than almost anything else in this fast-moving world of ours, all about instant gratification. Unless your visitor can get to what they want in three clicks,repparttar 134748 likelihood of them exiting increases dramatically.

That is important enough to repeat: you have only three click to keep your visitor's attention.

Even beginners torepparttar 134749 Internet know that it only takes one click, in their favorites list, to leave you forever.

Martin Avis publishes a free weekly newsletter: BizE-Zine - your unfair advantage in Internet marketing, business and personal success. To subscribe, and get 4 great free gifts, please visit http://www.BizE-zine.com

How To Look At Your Site With Buyer's Eyes

Written by Martin Avis

Continued from page 1

Attention to detail -------------------

So many sites are badly programmed. Before you upload your site always check:

1. Spelling. Every word. Twice. Then get someone else to check it for you. Unnecessary spelling mistakes give an impression of sloppiness. Would you willingly buy from a sloppy shopkeeper?

2. Links. Do they all work. If not, fix them. They must all work.

3. Does it work forrepparttar majority of viewers? Have you checked how it looks on small monitors and in old browsers? There are still lots of people using older equipment. Try not to offend them.

4. Does it load quickly? One ofrepparttar 134737 biggest turnoffs for visitors to your site is a slow loading homepage. Optimize those graphics.

5. Since we are talking about graphics - do you really need all of them? One good picture can be more powerful than ten bad ones.

When you have checked and double-checked, upload it and then check again. It is amazing how many links go dead afterrepparttar 134738 site is uploaded. And get intorepparttar 134739 habit of checking your site regularly.

Capture -------

This is so important, Moses should have carved it in stone:

"Thou shalt not let thine visitors go without first getting their email address."

Statistics show that it can often take up to seven (that magic number again) communications with a visitor before they are willing to buy from you. It's all about building trust and developing a relationship.

So how do you get them to come back once, let alone seven times?

By offering them something of value. That could be a newsletter, a special report, a free consultation, a free gift voucher, a tips sheet. You decide what works best for your business. But ensure that you get their email address AND permission to use it.

Whatever you offer them must have a high *perceived* value.

Armed with their email address, you can send them news of changes to your site, special offers, 'I heard about this and thought you might be interested' affiliate offers. Anything to keep you and your business top of their mind.

If you are careful, and don't overdorepparttar 134740 mailings (no more than once a week), AND ensure that you are seen as honest and reputable, they will come back and buy.

********** The mailing list could berepparttar 134741 most valuable thing your business produces. **********

Ease ----

This shouldn't need to be said, but so few sites do it: make it easy forrepparttar 134742 visitor to do what you want them to do.

If you are capturing their email address, don't ask for anything else (maybe not even their name). Make it a no-brainer. There are loads of free resources onrepparttar 134743 Internet that will let you have simple scripts to getrepparttar 134744 job done. Try http://javascript.internet.com/

To make a sale, you have to makerepparttar 134745 process as painless as possible. Don't ask for pages of personal information that you don't really need.It should go without saying that you must always reassure customers that your payment process is secure.

Always remember that your visitors are never more than a click away from leaving you forever. Do everything you can to make staying easier than leaving.

So there arerepparttar 134746 big secrets. SPACE. Not so hard, are they? Follow these principles and your web site will look better and work better. And you will make more money.

There is one other *secret* which deserves to be put into a section all on its own as without this, nothing else matters:

Focus -----

Focus is critical. Focus on who you are talking to. Focus on what you are trying to say. Focus on what you wantrepparttar 134747 visitor to your site to do.

Too many web sites lack focus. The webmasters know what they want, but totally fail to communicate that message to their visitors.

If you want to get an order - everything on your site must be focused on deliveringrepparttar 134748 visitor to your order page inrepparttar 134749 right frame of mind to buy.

If you want to get their email address (highly recommended), focus on that as your prime objective.

Don't run off on sidetracks and tangents. Don't waffle about how great your company is. Focus your mind on your customers and tell them exactly what they want to hear.

Then they will do exactly what you want them to do.

Martin Avis publishes a free weekly newsletter: BizE-Zine - your unfair advantage in Internet marketing, business and personal success. To subscribe, and collect 4 great free gifts, please visit http://www.BizE-zine.com

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