Six Simple Steps To A Web Site That Works

Six Simple Steps To A Web Site That Works


If I asked you the purpose of your web site, chances are you’d say it is to make money.

Yet the brutal truth is this: 93% of web sites hardly make a cent. So here’s how to make sure your’s isn’t one of them.

1. Tune your web site to the station WIIFM.

How many times have you gone to a web site and the landing page says something like, “Welcome to my web site! My name is Billy-Bob Schultz and I was born in Milwaukee on 27th March 1967 and I now live in Kentucky with my wife, Mery-Beth and our three children, six cats and a hamster.”?

And you think (quite rightly) “Hey, I’m not that interested in you. I want to know What’s In It For Me!”

So save the potted history for a sub page and state, right there on the landing page, what your web site can do for the visitor — preferably what your web site can do for them that no other web site can (your USP). That’s not to say you should not mention personal details. It’s good to do that — but in the correct part of your site. And the correct part is either the “About” or “Biography” page of your web site. That puts a human face to your site, as well as being an excellent part of your branding, in the same way the ubiquitous Donald Trump has his name on all his real estate and his face on the Trump Ice bottled water label.

2. Gently does it.

We all know the amount of sales done on line keeps going up and up, which is why we want a piece of the action. But have you thought through the sales process the average on-line buyer goes through before they arrive at a buying decision? Let’s check that out by imagining you are one of the millions who suffer from a bad back.

You could be in the market for any number of products from pills through special rocking chairs and gym equipment to those mattresses made from that special foam developed by NASA. But which product would be best for you?

Before you leap in and buy the first thing you see, you will probably look for information on the pros and cons of each product. And, because the internet is also the Information Super Highway, you would expect plenty of information. So make sure you do provide information on your web site. One good way is to do reviews of products. That way, you will show the potential customer you know what you are talking about. People buy from people whom they trust. So build trust by providing good, free information right there on your landing page and save the sales pitch for later.

3. Sell benefits not features:

I bet you know this one. But do you realize there are benefits and there are benefits? Here’s an example of what I mean. Lets suppose you are selling a reclining chair. The feature would be that it has electric motors that recline the chair at the touch of a button. So the benefit would be ease of use.

But the more direct benefit for this particular customer, with a bad back, is two fold:

  • Having a motorized chair means . . . they won’t further strain their already painful back, as they might with a non-motorized version.
  • Having a motorized chair means . . . they will be able to adjust the exact angle of recline to alieviate the pain in their back at the touch of a button.

4. People buy with emotion and justify it with logic later.

Always remember, people buy with their emotions, not their logic. The right, emotional, side of the brain operates in pictures, not words. So use the words of your copy, or the pictures of your streaming video, to paint vivid pictures of the customer enjoying the benefits of the product, once they’ve purchased it.

5. Call to action.

Whether you are asking the visitor to merely subscribe to your newsletter or actually buy your product, you must incorporate a powerful call to action at the crucial stage. Always remember that the fear of what might be lost is a far more powerful emotion than what might be gained. So your call to action can take the form of limiting the number of the product to be released, an extra special bonus for prompt action or a deadline, after which the price increases.

If you do use one of these calls to action, always be punctilious in stopping the offer when you said you would. You might be surprised to know this can still result in sales after the deadline, if you use the following technique.

State that the price will increase at a certain time and when the laggards arrive at your site too late, you can invite them to “click here for some news about the offer”. You can then offer them the product, but at the higher price. Remember what I said about loss being a more powerful incentive than gain? You’ll be surprised to find that perhaps more than half will actually still go ahead and buy at the higher price.

That’s an important psychological principle, called “commitment”, whereby having made a decision to buy the thwarted buyer will still go ahead with that decision, even at the higher price. That’s the illogical, emotional part of the brain operating. But the buyer will justify the logic of the decision to go ahead because, even at the higher price, they will tell themselves the product was still excellent value and, as they were already on the web site, what they lost on price they gained on convenience.

If you like, you can sweeten the deal with a further call to action by way of an extra bonus exclusive to the full price deal. Put a deadline on that offer and this time they will believe you!

6. Make it easy to buy.

Remember I said your customers buy with their left “emotional” side of their brain? So don’t break the spell by forcing them to switch on the right hand “logical” side by not providing a simple way for them to buy. The entire sales process should be a greased chute for the customer.

Time spent planning and creating your web site along these lines will be some of the best time you can spend, because it will result in satisfied customers — and plenty of them!

Copyright 2006 Paul Hooper-Kelly and


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