I was looking around at some websites to see what things I liked and disliked about them. There is no doubt that there are things that attract people and there are things that totally turn people off.
I have made a list of 13 tips that can help make your website more successful. Most of them are simple but quite effective at making your site more user-friendly.
1. Make your site simple - With all of the bells and whistles available, too many people are trying to see how impressive they can make their websites. They may be attractive but unless your goal is to win a contest for best site, impressing people with glitter will not make sales.
2. Make sure your site loads quickly - You do not have long to grab your customer's attention. Make sure that you at least get a fair shot at grabbing his attention. If your site takes too long to load, you will lose a lot of potential customers without even giving your site a chance.
3. Don't have too many items on one page - You do not want to confuse your visitors. You want to make sure that they understand the purpose of your site. Too many items on one page can make this difficult for some. Don't take the chance. Make all of your pages simple.
4. Make sure every page lings to the home page - It is much easier for your visitors to navigate if all of your pages link back to the home page. You will not lose as many potential customers if you make your site easier to navigate.
5. Get your own domain name - Free servers are great for some things but trying to gain credibility in a business is not one of them. It is well worth the price to get your own domain.
6. Make sure your hosting service offers full support - You want your service to have CGI access and offer secure ordering. This is a place that you don't want to go for cheap. Make sure your service offers the things you need before you choose and save a lot of headaches down the road.
7. Offer as many options for ordering as possible - The more options you provide for ordering, the fewer customers you will lose. You should have a secure order form on your site. Offering the options to order by phone, fax and by regular mail can also increase the number who will order.
8. Make sure you accept credit cards - If you don't accept credit cards, you are making a huge mistake. The biggest percent of your customers will pay this way if the option is available. Don't take the chance that they will choose another method if credit cards are not a possibility.
9. Offer free information on your site - You will want to offer some type of free material on your site. Free material such as courses is a very good way to build yourself as an expert in the eyes of your visitor. Free ebooks are another good thing to offer. Make sure these freebies are good solid information that can help your visitors.
10. Get your visitor's email address - You can accomplish this in quite a few different ways. Giving away the courses or ebooks is one great way. You can publish a newsletter or ezine that your visitors can sign up for on your site.
11. Make sure to build your site with a purpose in mind - If you are trying to sell a product on your site, then sell that product. If you are just trying to get addresses and make the sale later, then make that your purpose when building your site.
12. Encourage feedback - Make your visitor feel like his opinion is important. Offer him the chance to provide you with feedback. Don't be too proud to make changes if you start hearing some of the same things from your visitors.
13. Remember that you are building this site for your customers - This is not a site to fulfill some fantasy of yours. Remember the purpose of your site. Keep your customers wants and needs in your mind as you design it.
Your website is one of those things that will determine if you are a marketing success. Make sure that you make your website user-friendly. Also, make sure that you don't lose sight of the purpose of your site. If your site does not come across direct to your visitor, you are going to lose many visitors before you can even make a pitch.