The elements of a good website
In marketing terms, “the internet changes everything”, but it doesn’t mean that you can neglect the tried and trusted marketing weapons: press, adverts, PR etc. It is just another way of attracting customers.
Website designers fall into three categories: software experts, graphic designers – and a smaller section – marketing experts. A bold statement: most surfers look on the web for (a) free information (b) to buy something, so excuse the biased pronouncement, but your priorities should be to:
- make the website easy to navigate and quick to download
- make contact or buying straightforward
- encourage a community spirit (eBay of course the best)
- keep the site up to date with “news” and new offers
- niche suppliers will always do better than mass market: the only criterion to most consumers who want branded products is price
Less is more for websites. Leave enough white space for the message to breathe. Avoid great slabs of text, they won’t be read: write in short paras (like this) or use bullet points. Never let text take up more than half the width of a screen (see www.guardianunlimited.co.uk) or use narrow columns like this.
Avoid fonts that the user may not have: stick to Arial, Trebuchet (this is), Helvetica, Times Roman,Verdana etc.
Put all the contact details on the Home Page: it’s surprising how many conceal their whereabouts. The internet is all about building confidence, particularly if you’re asking for money.
Running a successful e-commerce business (selling on-line) requires a secure site with confident, professional appearance. Test thoroughly before going live. For more on this area visit www.electronic-payments.co.uk.
Encourage visitors to subscribe to your email letter for future offers, but make sure they can unsubscribe.
Google currently has 75% of searches, so don’t bother to submit to the rest, with the exception of industry specific portals or directories. In-bound links from referral sites are important for Google moves you higher up the list the more links to your site there are. You can’t have enough.
To improve page rankings see the attached handout (pdf) on Search Engine Optimisation "Why isn't my website on page 1?"
86% of prospects don’t actually buy when they get to the “check-out”, maybe because of a glitch in the system or because the cost of post puts them off.