I Wouldn't Start From Here!

Written by Martin Avis

Inrepparttar old joke, a man goes up to an old-timer and asks how to get torepparttar 134738 local library. The old man thinks for a minute and then says "It's quite simple really, but I wouldn't start from here!"

Sounds silly? Well why do so many people design their web sites like that?

It is a basic human need to know where we are at any given moment. If we were to be blindfolded and set down in a strange city, most of us would panic. It isn't a logical, thought-out response - simply a wired-in emotional reaction to feeling out-of-place.

Almost every tourist center inrepparttar 134739 world provides maps and guidebooks for their visitors. They don't do it just to make a few dollars extra - they do it to stop thousands of folks from asking their staff directionsrepparttar 134740 whole time.

Yet how many web sites are 'designed' without a single thought for making it easy for visitors to find their way around?

Frighteningly few!

Most people have a need to build a mental picture of where they have been, and where they are now. If a web site does not help them satisfy that need, they will form an unconscious negative impression. Then,repparttar 134741 quality ofrepparttar 134742 information onrepparttar 134743 site becomes secondary to their basic human instinct. They will quickly click away and look for an alternative, better organized site.

Site navigation is not simply about a nav-bar on your home page. It encompasses three tightly interlinked factors:

* Home page navigation * Site 'look and feel' * Reassurance

Taking these things one at a time, let's look at how your site can be friendly to your visitors, and how they will feel good about you.

Home Page Navigation ---------------------

Every site makes some kind of stab at this. Whether it is a side bar or a top bar, an image map or in-text links, virtually all web designers make some attempt to move visitors on intorepparttar 134744 depths ofrepparttar 134745 site.

But wait - let's think about how it is often done.

Too many links. Why throw a link to everything ontorepparttar 134746 front page? A few themed links directing visitors of discrete sections ofrepparttar 134747 site are more comforting.

Too few links. Unless there is a very good reason to make people follow your site in a linear fashion, it is much better to let them browse inrepparttar 134748 order they choose.

Unclear links. However you decide to design your page, ensure thatrepparttar 134749 links are clear as day. Use of underlined text on a page that is not a link is confusing, as is changingrepparttar 134750 default way that links are displayed. If you do play design games like this, make sure you have a very good reason, and that your visitors have no choice but to understand.

How To Look At Your Site With Buyer's Eyes

Written by Martin Avis

You slave away for hours, days and weeks buildingrepparttar best web siterepparttar 134737 world has ever seen. You masterrepparttar 134738 art of HTML, learn how to upload it to your server, promote like crazy. You're going to make a fortune.

Then you wait forrepparttar 134739 orders to roll in.

But they don't.

You see ads all overrepparttar 134740 Internet from people who claim to be able to convert 5%, 8% even 30% of visitors into sales and wonder whatrepparttar 134741 *big secret* is. But you've spent your budget buying a domain name and hosting services. The little that you have left over is earmarked for buying traffic - or payingrepparttar 134742 rent. Tempting as it is, spending $47, $67, $97 or more just may not be practical right now.


Incidentally, have you noticed how many Internet products are priced ending in 7? Sevens sell. Don't ask merepparttar 134743 psychology of it, but it seems to work time and time again. Try it out for yourself.


I'm going to tell you a big secret. And I won't charge you a cent. Not even 7 cents.

Here arerepparttar 134744 5 secrets that have made a lot of successful Internet marketeers very wealthy.

Secret #1. Simplicity Secret #2. Personalization Secret #3. Attention to detail Secret #4. Capture Secret #5. Ease

Summed up byrepparttar 134745 easy-to-remember acronym, SPACE.

Before I explain what these elements mean, and how they apply to you, let me digress for a moment. What are we actually talking about when we discuss web sites?

There are 4 main kinds of web presence:

>>> Offline companies who want a web site as a shop window. These can be huge corporations or Mom and Pop corner shops. They may sell product or not. Butrepparttar 134746 key point is thatrepparttar 134747 Internet is not their main business.

>>> Internet mega companies who have complex and long term business plans. Companies like Yahoo and Amazon.

>>> Personal web pages that have little or no commercial intent.

>>> Web sites run by individuals to make money. I call theserepparttar 134748 'no fall-back' sites. If they don't turn a profit, they wither and die.

We are concerned withrepparttar 134749 last of these. It is these sites that SPACE can berepparttar 134750 most help to.

Apply SPACE to your site and you really will be seeing it through buyer's eyes.

Simplicity ----------

Layout. Not everyone can be a top graphic designer - in fact, many ofrepparttar 134751 graphic designers I have worked with seem to find effective web site design very difficult. Look closely at your site design. Is it cluttered? Have you tried to get everything exceptrepparttar 134752 kitchen sink onto your homepage?

Back torepparttar 134753 drawing board. Think of your home page as an extended classified ad. It has to pleaserepparttar 134754 eye, grabrepparttar 134755 customer's attention and compel them to takerepparttar 134756 next action - move on torepparttar 134757 next part of your sales story.

Another thing it has to do is to satisfyrepparttar 134758 demands ofrepparttar 134759 search engines. It is often said that your homepage text should contain all of your main keywords withinrepparttar 134760 first 250 words. That is a good target to aim for. And it helps you focus on what your most important keywords actually are.

Personalization ---------------

Your site will not get sales without it. It is as critical as that. Every copywriter in every ad agency inrepparttar 134761 world knows this secret. In case you can't afford a copywriter, I'm going to tell you what I have learned in 25 years working with some ofrepparttar 134762 biggest advertisers around. And it is so simple you will wonder why so few writers do it.

************************** *** They Want Benefits *** **************************

They want benefits.

They. Not you. Your visitors are only interested in themselves. A reader of a newspaper ad is only interested in himself. A TV viewer is only interested in herself. Tell them about themselves. Sure tell them about your company and great products, but do it in a way that is relevant to THEM.

Benefits. Inrepparttar 134763 first 200 or so words of an ad (and start thinking about your homepage as an ad),repparttar 134764 reader could care less aboutrepparttar 134765 range of sizes or colors. They are not interested in how much meat goes into each pie. They are bored by details. Features kill your message.

What they want to know is howrepparttar 134766 product is going to make them feel better, be slimmer, be more popular, be attractive, earn more money. How your e-zine is going to improve their lives or businesses.

*** Sell themrepparttar 134767 sizzle, notrepparttar 134768 sausage.***

Once you have got their attention, tell them about every feature underrepparttar 134769 sun. By now they are so excited they will eat your words like candy.

While we are talking about personalization, remember, your visitors are only interested in themselves. So humor them. Do a word count of your copy. If you don't have at least 5 instances of 'you and your' for every one 'me, mine, my, I, our or we', rewrite it until you do. The higherrepparttar 134770 ratiorepparttar 134771 better.

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