|I have to admit that while I would like to think that I am a realist, really I am an optimist. I like to look at the positive side of things. I subscribe to the theory of “Field of Dreams” if you build it they will come. While that worked for Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) that really doesn’t work in real life, especially when it comes to e-commerce. Just because you create a website it is not a given that you will have a successful website. Your online business requires the same investment in time and energy that any other offline business. For the next couple of months I will be sharing from a sales point of view what it take to make a successful site.|
Part two: Focus your website to your target
So last time we talked about determining who your actual customers are BEFORE you begin to design your website and tailoring it to their needs and wants. In this article I want to talk about how to focus your website. One of the biggest issues I see when people start their website is that there is no focus, no call to action, nothing to move the consumer to open their wallet or purse. Your website has to be a representation of your business in a self-serving way. In other words in retail store environment you can direct people to parts of the store you want them to see and products you want them to buy. You have to format your website with the same frame of mind. So let’s look at how we map out a successful website using this idea.
Make it look good
I can’t stress this enough: you have to have your site look good if you want to have people spend time on your site. If your customer base is conservative stay away from loud colors and college humor, if they are corporate keep the skulls and crossbones designs in the closet; if they teens put away the teddy bear logos and turn on the skulls and crossbones. Know your audience and make the products, artwork, backgrounds, text and images speak to them. There is no way you can be all these to all people. It is ok to cast a wide net but even a wide net has boundaries.
Whatever it is that you want to say you better say it fast
It is estimated that you have between 5-10 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention. This is a stark contrast to a retail store where if someone walks into your store chances are they will browse around or talk to an employee. They do this because they had to invest something to get to your store, their time and gas. So they very likely to spend at least a few minutes in your store. Your webstore is very different, with search engines like Google they can very quickly find what they are looking for so their investment is marginal. That is why you have to capture their attention quickly and give them reason to stay on your site.
Keep it above the Fold
The question then becomes “If I only have 5-10 seconds to capture my audience’s attention how do I best do that?” Great question! From my experience the most successful sites have good content above the fold that capture the audience’s attention and drive them to want to see more. The “fold” is considered the top portion of the website that the user sees before he or she has to scroll down. This is a great location to have a banner or promotion code or a saying that sparks the users interest and makes them want to scroll down to see more. In most cases a visitor to a website decides to hang around purely based on what they see on the first page they visit and above the fold. When a user leaves on this first page it’s called a bounce and can be reported in your Google Analytics as the “Bounce rate”.”
Leave gimmicks to the used car salesmen
Stay away from the gimmicky animations or the huge SALE! SALE! SALE! buttons, they are gimmicky and only distract the user. Keep your message sharp and focused, don’t overwhelm them with 50 products above the fold, keep it simple. I suggest using images that are high quality and possibly a coupon code for say Free Shipping on order over $25 (very easy to do in DecoNetwork).
Give your site a custom look
While there is no silver bullet in having a successful store there are several things you can do to attract potential clients and reduce your bounce rate. One of the most important in my opinion is have your site look unique. It has been my experience that those people that use cookie cutter templates from some of those other web hosting companies have marginal if any success with their site. The reason can be summed up in the following question “If your site looks exactly like a hundred other sites why would I buy from you?” As you know with DecoNetwork you have access to the CSS and HTML, use it! Create a masterpiece, something you are proud of, something that you will have a tear in your eye each time you talk about (it should give you the same feeling you had when you first laid eyes on your firstborn). Make it look special but above all make it unique and designed to appeal to your target market. If you are saying to yourself I like that idea but I don’t know where to begin doing this, not a problem we can help www.deconetwork.com/decocoach.
What can I expect in the weeks to come?
Stay tuned, I’ve got some very interesting topics I want to cover such as “I get a lot of visits to my site but not a lot of conversions. Why?” and “How do I drive better quality traffic to my site?”