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Posts Tagged ‘website usability’

News Websites Don’t Understand The Web

Is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with the news sites that make you register to read an article? How in the world are you supposed to send links to people and expect them to read it? I know when I get a link that requires me to register, I just think “I am sure it was a good story, but who has time for that”.

Feel free to comment.

6 Non SEO Reasons Why Small Business Websites Fail

Is your companies website failing? Perhaps you’ve spent some money on it and it has just never produced for you. Maybe you have one of those companies where the corporate website was the owners kids school project and she is afraid to hurt the kids feelings (I am not kidding here, this was a real life scenario and no one in the company could bring the subject up).

In the course of my day I look at lots of websites; often people even pay me to look at their website and tell them what is wrong with it. Here are some of the more common challenges that I have run into. I urge you to take a look at your website and see if it suffers from any of these challenges then take action and change it.

1. Takes Too Long To Load. Whether its flash or graphics that were never compressed or optimized for the web, most people showing up to your website want results, and they want them pretty quickly. It’s funny when you think back to the days of dial up and now we think our hi-speed connections are too slow. You don’t want to fall prey to this simple to correct issue.

My Advice: When testing your website, make sure you clear your cache, so you can know how long it actually takes between the time a user shows up and is able to read what’s on your site. Also, have others outside of your company test the site and give you their sincere feedback.

2. The Site is Composed Exclusively with Graphics or Flash.
Assuming you care something about search engines finding your website, you need to know that search engines care more about written content than anything else. It is next to impossible for a search engine to visit your website and know what it’s about if it is all graphics or flash without a little help behind the scenes anyway. Exceptions would be sites that serve arts, music, and graphics related communities.

My Advice: If you feel the need to show someone a flash presentation, give him or her the option to click and view it on another page.

3. It is a Hodgepodge of What Everyone Wants to See on the Company Website. This is one of the most frustrating things that I have personally had to deal with in a corporate setting. Everyone has an opinion about how the website should look and few – if any – of them understand website usability (what the user wants and needs to see based on human psychology). It’s turning customers away, but they won’t tell you that and it will take someone taking a bold stand and a humble owner to give up their personal desires in exchange for winning over new customers, and it’s well worth it.

My Advice: Hire a professional design firm with usability expertise to build your website, or if you already have a website, hire a usability consultant to help you restructure it. How do you know if your web designer is a usability expert? Just ask them “what role does website usability play in their design process?” If the phone goes silent or you get a glazed over look, move on. Of course, if you need a usability expert, you contact my firm, AKA Internet Marketing, as we have helped many companies improve their website conversion rates, leading to increased online revenue.

4. Advertising?
Yes, people often use advertising on their company website thinking that it is a good strategy for making money from the website. If you have a business with a website, the only thing you should be doing to make money is optimizing your website so that you earn your visitors business. It really doesn’t make sense to send customers to your competitors. If your website isn’t profitable, you need to take a hard look and ask why. Chances are it is a combination of not enough visitors, the wrong type of visitors, or somehow not instilling confidence in the mind of your prospect.

My Advice: If you have any kind of advertising on your website, get rid of it. Take a look at your web stats and if you aren’t getting at least 100 unique visitors per day then you need to look at implementing a solid web marketing strategy. If you are getting lots of visitors, but not converting customers, then you need to hire a usability consultant to find out why.

5. Not Capturing Visitors Information. I don’t mean deceptively, I mean you should be asked them for their name and email address so you can market to them, ask for their feedback, and be an informational resource for them. The most common way of doing this is to free ebook or newsletter in exchange for their name and email address so you can add them to your prospect database.

My Advice: Implement an email capture system on your website. My recommendation is Aweber as I have used them for years and recommended them to several clients who have also been very pleased.

6. Not Reaching Out to Your Customers. Closely related to #5 is reaching out to your prospects and customers consistently which should induce sales from prospects and repeat sales and referral from past customers.

My Advice: Once you have implemented your email marketing software, make a consistent effort to reach out to customers and prospects at least once per month.

SEO (search engine optimization) is clearly an important component of having a successful website, but as you can see there are many Non SEO issues that affect how successful your website is.

I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at akirlew(at)

4 questions every web site owner needs to answer

I was in a meeting the other day and these questions came up with regard to marketing a web site. They may seem basic, but amazingly in the midst of our quest for visual and technical excellence (along with web traffic and rankings), we can miss what is right in front of us.

1. Why would someone come to our web site? – What are you offering specifically, and how are you getting this message out to your prospective audience?

2. Why would someone stay on our site and do business? – Three things come to mind here:

Usability: Can they locate (as in, is it easy to navigate to) what they think they came to your site for?

Marketing Message: Are you sending the right message? Are you answering the customers question or solving their problem? Is your offer clear? Are you offering content, services, or resources of value?

First Impression: Is your site professionally designed? Does it paint your business in a positive light, or does it look like your kid in middle school made it? Do you use any site seals to increase consumer confidence (i.e. BBB Online, Guardian, Thawte)?

3. Why would they come back to our site? – Are you keeping them current on the subject matter (through blogs, newsletters, forums, etc.)? Are you capturing visitor and customer information so that you can continue to market to them? (i.e. name, email, RSS subscription, offer a newsletter, etc) Do you offer a one time sale or repeat business? Many would think if they offer a one time sale, the job is done. Opportunities are always missed out is you are not marketing on the back end for repeat business. Once you have earned someones trust enough for them to spend money with you, they are more likely to spend more money with you. Don’t leave it on the table!

4. How will they find our web site? – The obvious question that most people ask at the expense of the other 3 above. The answer – a solid search marketing plan that should include some, if not all, of the following:

– Organic Search Optimization
– Pay Per Click Search
– Getting listed in Directories and Niche Portals
– Online & Offline Press Releases
– Affiliate Programs
– Social Media Marketing
– Viral Marketing
– Article Marketing
– Contests
– Advertising
– Joint Ventures
– Offering free tools or services

I hope that was helpful, but most of all I hope it got you to take a look at your site and answer a question other than “how do we get people to our web site?” and make any improvements necessary.

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