1. Build It For Speed
It's a fact of modern life - people are in a
hurry. Nowhere is that more true than on the Internet. It seems that
no matter how much the technology improves, nothing is ever fast
enough. In fact, several studies indicate that the fast technology
advances, the faster people expect things to be.
So what does this mean for your website
design? It means that you have between 10 and 30 seconds to capture
your potential customer's attention. If they can not at least begin
to read about your product in that much time, they will be headed
elsewhere. To minimize your load time, keep graphics small. Compress
Streaming Audio/Video, animation) sparingly and only if it is
important to your presentation.
2. Target Your Market
Know who your market is and make certain
that your site caters to their needs. It is critical that your site
reflect the values of your potential customers. Is your market
mostly business professionals? If so, the site must be clean and
professional. Is your product aimed mostly a teenagers and young
adults? Then your site could be more informal and relaxed. The key
here is to know your market and build the site to their preferences.
3. Focus The Site
Make certain your web site is focused on the
goal, selling your product or service. A site offering many
unrelated products is not necessarily unfocused, but this is often
the case. If your business does offer many products, dedicate a
unique page for each instead of trying to sell them all from one
page. Upselling or cross selling is vital but don't dedicate so much
to it that the customer feels caught in a bait and switch. Make
mention of other products but do so subtly.
4. Credibility Is Crucial
The most professionally designed site won't
sell if your customers don't believe in you. The impersonal nature
of the Internet breeds a certain level of mistrust. For your web
site to be successful you must overcome this tendency.
A clear privacy statement is one way to
build your credibility. Every commercial web site should have a
privacy statement posted on line. Provide a prominent link to your
privacy statement from every page on the site as well as from any
location that you are asking your visitors for personal information.
Provide legitimate contact information on line. Your contact
information should include an email address, mailing address, phone
number and a fax number, if applicable. If you are unwilling to
provide this information to your customers, how can they trust (or
buy from) you?
5. Offer A Guarantee
Offer an ironclad, no exceptions money back
guarantee. This item is really a credibility issue but it is
important enough to warrant its own mention. What better way to
establish your customer's trust than to eliminate any risk for them?
If the customer sees that your are willing to assume all of the
risk, they will immediately be more inclined to trust you.
6. Make Payment Easy
Offer a variety of payment methods for your
customer. If you don't currently take credit cards, start
immediately. You can either set up a merchant account or use one of
the many credit card clearing houses. Take checks on line. Provide
an address for those who prefer to pay by cash, check or money
order. Make sure the payment process is clear, easy to access and
intuitive to use. Eliminate as many steps as possible. Do not ask
for any more information than is necessary to complete the
transaction. Nothing frightens a customer off faster than feeling
that their privacy is being invaded.
7. Simple Navigation
Make site navigation easy and intuitive.
While it may be artistic to make your index page all black and hide
the link to continue, will that generate business? If your customer
can not navigate your site to find what they want, they will go
elsewhere. Limit the choices and direct your customers through a
Make sure the site is consistent in look,
feel and design. Nothing is more jarring and disturbing to a
customer than feeling as if they have just gone to another site.
Keep colors and themes constant throughout the site.
9. Design for indexing
85% of all web users find what they are
looking for via the top search engines. Make sure that your page is
designed to maximize your placement. Focus on your keywords and
keyword density but don't sacrifice your message. Utilize the meta
tags keywords, description and title. Use your keywords when naming
10. Content is (still) king
Good content sells product. Ask yourself the
following questions. 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.
Implementing the ten steps above probably
will not make your site as successful as Yahoo or Amazon overnight.
If they are implemented correctly and integrated into an overall web
site design and marketing campaign, you should see a marked
improvement in the site's traffic and sales.