The 12 Rules Of Creating And Maintaining A great Web
By Stephen Fasenfeld
Maintaining great web sites is actually a lot easier than people
think. We have all seen companies who relied solely on an online
presence going to the wall in the last couple of years. This could
have been reduced dramatically if a few simple steps had been taken.
I have broken these down into 12 rules so that you can ensure that
your visitor stays for longer and ultimately buys your product if
you are selling one. We may never be able to get your site up to
Ebay's extraordinary standard of stickiness where visitors stay
for hours. We should be able to increase the amount of time people
spend on your site substantially.
- Fast Loading
It is estimated you'll lose as many as 50% of your visitors
after just 11 seconds. Many of the sites I have come across
are slow loading because the Webmaster used graphics that were
too big or werenÕt optimized for the Internet. Consider using
all text or mainly text on your site. Not only does this improve
load time, but it also forces you to focus on whatÕs really
important to your success, your content and your sales letters!
So how do you do this. Simple really. You sit down with a watch
in your hand and time how long it takes to download. If it takes
more than 10 seconds, it is time to look at how you can reduce
Big graphics slow down the length of time it takes for your
page to download. Graphic sizes should be reduced so that images
load quickly.If you are going to put banners on your site, try
and avoid ones that take forever to download.
As much as you may love the spinning graphics that you have
created, it is more important that your visitor likes them and
is not put off by them. If they don't like them, cheerio and
off they pop to a different web site.
- First Impressions
We have all heard the expression, you don't get a second chance
to make a first impression.Visitors that come to your site must
know straight away what your site has to offer them.How many
times have you come to a site where you couldn't figure what
the site is about and got out of there equally as fast.
The way around this is to have a Headline on your site that
pops up first when your visitor arrives at your site.There must
be a benefit included in the Headline. Lets be honest, people
care about themselves first and foremost. They want and need
to know what is in it for them.
You must establish credibility as quickly as possible.Try and
include some real like examples of people that have been in
touch with you telling you how much they like your site. Make
these testimonials verifiable (include full names, where they
are from etc) Why do you want to do this ? The first time a
person visits your website they don't know you from Adam.
Why should they believe what you have to say over anybody else.If
your visitor can read what others have to say about your site
they are more likely to believe you as they are a 3rd party.
You'll never be able to please everybody but you can certainly
please most people.
It is amazing the amount of web sites out there selling products
that hide behind PO addresses or worse will have no contact
information at all. Yes, this does happen and on an all too
frequent basis. If you want to build trust, give a variety of
ways that people can contact you. Include your name, phone number,
fax number, email address, company name, street address, city,
zip code etc.
People want to know that there are real people behind the scenes
who'll answer their calls and emails. For example if you owned
a bricks and mortar shop you would want people to know who you
are. You would probably list in the Yellow Pages and advertise
in other places. You are not going to leave out where you are
located etc. It is exactly the same when you have an Internet
Why would a visitor want to come back to your site again and
again. The simple answer is content.Content is information that
is of value to your visitor . Good content provides credibility.
It establishes you as an expert.
Try and stand out from then norm. If the content is of an outstanding
nature your customer will return to your site. Try and include
articles that are of interest to the visitor and update and
include new articles on a regular basis.Give them something
for free. People love the word free.
How many times have you entered a web site trying to search
around looking for the information that they promised you would
be able to find. Countless times I would presume.The top 3 surfer
complaints are slow page downloads, broken links and trouble
There are many more but these are the critical ones.Make your
visitors job as easy as possible when they are in your site.The
trick to doing this is to find out what your customer wants
and give it to them.They'll be delighted that their experience
on your web site is so enjoyable when compared to the other
web sites they have visited..
The look and feel of your web site is really important to your
visitor. The menus on your web pages must appear consist as
well as visible. In other words on the same place on every single
page.If you have long text on your page, it often makes sense
to include links at the bottom of the page so a person knows
where they are.
If you have a personal preference for your menu to appear on
the left side then it should always appear there. Likewise if
you want your menu to appear on the top of your page.You don't
want your visitor to get lost whilst at at your site . this
can lead to frustration and they'll just zip off somewhere else.
Links are the mainstay of any website. Simply put you have to
click on a link or an image to get around from one part of a
site to another. Why should a person click on a link. Yet again
you have to give them a reason. Try and include a benefit for
them and include the words click here now after the benefit,
not before it. Including it before defeats the whole purpose
.They need to know what they are going to get by clicking on
the link. Too often links are boring, use your imagination when
If you are selling a product, a strong guarantee can often be
the difference between whether someone buys from you or not.Offer
a strong guarantee, one that makes a person say "Wow, they must
If your selling a quality product, you must be able to back
it up with a no frills guarantee.Make sure it is a 100% money
back, iron clad guarantee, with no questions asked. Who would
you go to ?A company with no guarantee or a company that stands
behind their product 100%
Don't make it difficult for your visitors to order if you are
selling a product.Always provide online secure server credit
card processing as well as taking orders over the phone or by
fax as well as postal orders/bankers draft. If you are selling
more than one item, use a shopping cart, it increases sales.
The one exception to the rule of having your menu on every page
is the order page. Considering that you want to close the sale,
you don't want to give people the option of leaving the most
important page on your site. You have worked so hard to get
them to this page, don't let them leave now.
- Colors And Text
Colors can greatly contribute to web sites.You can highlight
certain text that you want to stand out.Ideally you should only
use about 3 colors on a website or else it begins to enter the
realms of overkill.Too many different colors make your text
hard to read as well as making it look unprofessional.Keep your
background lightly colored and use dark text (like black).
Be careful when using colors and bolding, especially when you
are underlining. People, especially those new to the Internet,
get frustrated and confused when they click on a word that looks
like a link and it doesnÕt take them anywhere. Notice that many
of the top sites use primarily two fonts, Arial and Times New
Roman. Why? Because they are easy to read.
Use bullets extensively on your web site. Not only do bullets
You can also use bright graphical bullets for extra emphasis.
- Express benefits to the reader which makes them keep reading
but they also
- Visually break up the page making it easier to read they
- Easy to scan and inviting to the eye
If you just put into operation 50% of the above points, you'll
see a dramatic increase in people returning to your site, enjoying
the experience and ultimately buying your product. Even if you
are not selling a product, you want people to stay and not leave
the moment they arrive. Try it, give it a go and you'll be amazed
at the results.
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