"Let Your Little Website Shine" Part 3Written by Lynne Schlumpf
Thanks for joining me again for this series! One more note about your website before we move on. To enable faster loading, make sure you designate size of your graphics in your code and create alternate text (the alt tag) for those who donít feel like waiting for your page to load. Now we move on to just plain good customer service: 4. Quick response when people request information, report trouble: This one pretty much speaks for itself, but it is worth mentioning a couple of things about this. Try, if you can, to check your email at least 3 times a day. Many people are shut-ins or retired or homeworkers, and they expect a quick response to their questions or complaints. If your Internet Provider can give you access to Auto-Responders, these are fairly successful in giving your website visitors a quick response that says you've received their email and will respond as soon as possible, but sometimes these auto-responders annoy people more than they put them at ease. Human beings always prefer to talk to human beings. This is especially evident in fact that people still consider voice mail and answering machines a necessary evil. Some may see your auto-responder as just that. Auto-responders are more effectively used when someone wants some detailed information and wants it immediately. If at all possible, ask for their phone number so you can call them and give them answers live. I cannot count how many times I have answered our corporate line, only to hear a big sigh of relief on other end, followed by person saying, "Wow, I got a live voice!" Many people prefer not to be called on phone, so give them a choice when they write to you. Some are paranoid that you're going to try to sell them something. If they email and expect email in return, make it polite, prompt, and helpful. If you are not sure what they're asking, don't try to create an answer from incomplete facts from them. Ask them to clarify by return email so that you may answer their question more effectively. Customer service, customer service, and more customer service will make you stand heads above your competition. Try a little experiment with some of your competitors. See how long or in what way they respond to a question about their site. As far as reporting trouble on your web page operations, this was mentioned in Element 3 above. If they are reporting trouble about a product or service you sold them, offer them choices of restitution. Most people will not want to return something if it can be resolved over phone. Give them a liberal guarantee, like 90 days or something. They'll appreciate this more than you'll know. 5. Is useful: There is nothing worse than going to a website that you expected to find "content" in, only to discover it is just a bunch of
Let Your Little Website Shine, Part 1Written by Lynne Schlumpf
One of great things about World Wide Web is that even "little guy" can be big. Your website can give appearance of a large organization, even when it's just you and family dog, sitting in your kitchen in your underwear (not dog, you in your underwear!). It's all about presence and appearance. This article discusses how to make your website look large, even when what is behind it is just getting started. The World Wide Web is making more millionaires faster than any other phenomenon in history.
Elements of a Winning Site The elements that make a website a "winner" are following: 1. Loads Fast 2. Looks Great 3. It's links actually work 4. Quick response when people request information, report trouble 5. Is Useful 6. Is Interesting 7. Serves a great need 8. Is Fun 9. Offers lots of free stuff 10. Presents an appearance in keeping with whatever you are selling 11. Sells in a very subtle way 12. Is not like everyone else's 13. Does not use email addresses retrieved from its contents to "Spam" people 14. Has some kind of newsletter that allows visitors to keep in touch on an ongoing basis 15. Has clear navigation
Now we'll discuss these elements, one at a time. Miss any of these crucial elements, and your website traffic will suffer. Ignore none of them, if you want people to "show up". Just like a boring preacher has a hard time getting people to come to church, just providing good choir music is not going to make up for it. Your website may look good, but if it serves no purpose whatsoever or is not clear in its message, it'll flop like one of those movies that doesn't make it in box office because first group of people to see it keep rest of them from showing up.
The first thing you have to make sure of is that going to your website is not frustrating: 1. Loads Fast: If your website loads so slow that people get bored waiting for it, your business will never get out of starting gate. Large graphics, lots of those great java scripts, lots of background bitmaps, and a slow server to run on are some of causes of this. No one will ever stay long enough to find out what you're selling if your pages are slow. The best way to test your site is to get on an average connection and time it with a stopwatch. You may be operating on a DSL or cable modem connection, so it's best if you can visit a friend who has a dialup and see how your website loads for him/her. Make sure your web hosting provider gives you enough bandwidth and a fast connection. We experienced this problem (among others) while stuck in a 2