Core Elements of a Successful Web Site
Here are seven core elements to a successful website: have a primary goal that you want your web site to accomplish, value to the vistor, create credibility and create trust,
global navigation, clean and attractive design, effective sales copy and appropriate text formatting. Let's explore each of these in more detail:
1. Determine your primary goal. Come up with something specific that your website should accomplish to reach your monetary goals. This primary goal should include your target market, what you want your visitors to do, and possibly how you want to get them to do it.
2. Create value for the visitor. In order for your site to be valuable to its visitors, it must provide something that they need (be that a product, service, or information). Because not everyone will be interested in what you're offering, the most effective way to make your site valuable to your visitors is to target your marketing efforts to the right group of people instead of trying to create a site that has a little bit of something for everyone. Build your web site around it's primary goal.
3. Create credibility and trust. When did you last do business with someone that you didn't trust or that you suspected of being dishonest? Never ...
This is because trust and credibility are crucial in any business transaction. In fact, developing these qualities and imparting them to your visitor is perhaps the most important aspect of running a commercial website. Without building trust or credibility, you'll never be able to sell your products or services.
This is because your potential customer has no idea who they're dealing with, what your reputation is and if they're going to get what they expect. If they can't trust you, why would they pick you instead of someone who they can trust?
Here is a list of seven things you can do to help you create a trusting environment on your website:
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- Don't make outrageous claims. Be reasonable with what you say, because people won't believe you otherwise. Omit clains such as 'The biggest...", "The best in the world", etc.
- Check for and correct any grammar or spelling errors. It is very important that the content of your site is essentially flawless. Nothing says, "We're not to be trusted!" better than some spelling and grammar errors.
- Give a risk-free guarantee on your product or services. Think about the beauty of this tactic. It does two things for you right away. First of all, it removes any risk for the customer, so they are usually far more likely to buy. Secondly, it builds trust because the customer assumes that if you're offering a "no questions asked" guarantee, you're willing to trust them. And if you're willing to trust them, they're usually willing to trust you!
- Use testimonials. If people can see proof that you've made previous customers happy, they almost always trust you. However, in order for this to be effective, you've got to do several things: First, NEVER make up testimonials. Second, make sure the testimonials are specific about how you helped the customer or client instead of something general like, "You guys are great!" Something like that is not specific enough. A testimonial like this could be far more effective: "You helped me increase our customer base by 150%. Thanks!" Third, make sure the people providing the testimonials are easy to contact either via an email address or with a website address.
- Provide visitors with plenty of contact information. Many online businesses are fly-by-night companies who are here today and gone tomorrow. People are especially scared of getting cheated by one of these companies or people. In order to alleviate their fears, make your contact information readily available for viewing at all times. You should always include your phone number, address and email addresses in an easily accessible section of your website.
- Let people get to know who you are. A good way to do this is to have an "About Us" page that gives a bit of background on all the members of your company or business. This is effective because the Internet is a very impersonal medium. Adding information about who you are often warms people up to your offer; they feel like they're dealing with a real person instead of a computer screen. People are far more easy to trust than a sales pitch.
- Make your site look like it was made by a pro! If you visited a run-down, disorganized store with dusty shelves and cluttered items, you would probably not buy anything from them, even if their prices were incredible and their product quite good. If your website is "virtually" run-down or too cluttered or "busy" looking, the same thing is going to happen - no one will buy from you. (This includes so-called "Front Page Specials" - sites made with Front Page.) You've got to look good to sell well, because image is almost everything on the Internet. To solve this problem, have your site designed by Blue Rose Web. We can design a clean, crisp, organized and professional looking web site for your business.
- Have answers to visitors' questions. Customers that are interested in your product are typically going to have some questions both about the product itself and about your company. You can provide answers to most of those questions immediately by creating a Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) page on your site. It should be noted that the F.A.Q. page is also a great place to reinforce benefits of your product by wording your questions and answers in a favorable way. Depending on what type of product you're selling, it may be appropriate to give as much information you can on the product. (Technical details, documents, layouts, lists of features, etc.) A good rule of thumb is that the more information, the better. However, keep in mind that the last thing you'll want to do is drown your visitor in information. The key here is catering to your target audience. So, use your good judgement to determine what needs to be on the site, but if in doubt, put the information on the site.
4. Global Navigation It's absolutely vital that your visitors be able to quickly and easily navigate your site and find what they need. In order to provide for this, a site must have a navigation system that will allow them to reach the main sections of the site immediately, and it should always be available in the same place on each page and be recognizable to the visitor.
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5. Clean and Attractive Design A site that reflects a professional appearance is essential. The site should be organized and free of clutter with clean, attractive graphics. So called "clip art" should be avoided because it looks unprofessional. Photos look best and can be tailored to fit your web site. Your web site should be consistent in appearance from page to page. Backgrounds have a tendency to make a site feel very unprofessional, so it is best to stick with a white page and contrasting text.
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Make a logical outline of how you think your site's pages should be organized and then let Blue Rose Web Design build the site around that outline. If you already have a web site and are not pleased with it, contact Blue Rose Web and let us update and upgrade it for you.
6. Effective Sales Copy The sales copy you write is extremely important to the success of your site. It should be written with your target market in mind. (Note that if you have a content-based site, this should be replaced with good content instead.)
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To make your sales copy work, focus on benifits to the customer, not on features. Also, incorporate testimonials. Additionally, unless you're extremely good at writing sales copy, short copy is usually better than long.
7. Appropriate Text Formatting If you format your text incorrectly your site will, quite frankly, look silly. Throughout your site, try to keep your use of font styles, sizes, and colors consistent as well as avoid too much 'bolding'.
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