Use Your A-B-C’s to Make Your Website Dazzle!

January 6th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

“I built my son a tree house. He built me a website.”

The other day I was enjoying dinner out with friends and family and happened to flip over a drink coaster with the saying above. If you’ve eaten at Outback Steakhouse lately, perhaps you have seen this little wondrous item? When I first read it, I chuckled and showed it to my husband. He laughed too. Then I realized that as funny as it was, it held an inherent TRUTH. Today, many kids will grow up comfortable with and using technologies that simply didn’t exist when I was old enough for a tree house of my own. No, I’m not telling my age!

Words like RSS, HTML, Podcasting, Ezines and others will be part of their daily vocabulary. They’ll never know a world without a computer as part of their daily existence. They’ll also probably never know the fear of learning this technology at a point in life when learning new tricks isn’t as easy as it once was. Doing business on the Internet for them, will be just like doing business in a brick and mortar building is for most of us.

There are things in life that aren’t inherent to us and take some effort to learn and understand. I LOVE watching our basketball team, the Phoenix Suns, play. But when my husband starts talking about the ins and outs of their “system” I feel my eyes begin to cross and I lose focus on the conversation. It all becomes a blur and although I appear to be listening patiently and interested, I’ve actually checked out!

Does this feeling sound familiar? Have your eyes crossed and you appear to be functioning but aren’t? Are you simply guessing at what you can do with your website or do you have a game plan in place?

If you’ve ever felt that you’re not sure what you should be doing with your website, you start simple and grow bigger. Use the ABC building blocks below to make sure your site is primed and ready for business!

First Building Block

Attractive Layout

This is a biggie so I wanted to tackle it first. Before I ever write a single line of code, I always tackle the hardest issue of all with my clients….what will the site look like? This is important because the site needs to attract the right clientele or it won’t make money, it won’t build the “know, like and trust” factor and it won’t catapult the owner to success. These days it’s not enough to simply build and publish a website, you’ve got to convert traffic with it; you must convince the viewer that you are trustworthy and worth their time not to mention their money!

Three *Visual Keys* to Customer Connection Are:

Graphics – help to express what your website is all about. I worked on a website redesign project where my client’s existing graphics were of products they didn’t even sell! After switching out those graphics with actual product photos the sales rates began to climb. Why? Because the look and feel of the original website wasn’t reaching out to the intended target audience; with the new graphics visitors knew immediately whether they were in the right place and the site offered something they needed or wanted.
Colors – can bring someone into or repel them away from your website faster than you can say “abracadabra!” Colors set the mood and convey emotions. Emotions can heavily influence your viewer’s decision making process; specifically to stay on your website or to immediately leave. Your website’s colors should mirror the message and/or emotion that you hope to convey to your viewer. For example, if you are selling tranquil CD’s to meditate to, you don’t want to be using race car red for your main color.
Layout – of your website is crucial to customers finding what they need and to your ability to sell your products or services. After all, that is why you have a website. Organize your website so that navigation link titles make sense (i.e. Products instead of “Stuff”) and they are visible. Most importantly, make it easy to find a Help, Contact Us or Customer Service page with your contact information or answers to their questions.
Second Building Block
Broken Links

The other day I received an invitation to attend a special out of town event with someone I really admire. I signed up and paid to reserve my seat. During the seminar checkout process, I was told that (after I paid) I would receive email confirmation of the events location, times, directions etc. Trusting that I would (after all, these people do this all the time right?) I paid my money and took my chances.

Here’s where it all started to break down. Rather than sending me a confirmation of the event I had paid to attend, I received an opt-in notice from the shopping cart with a link to confirm my desire to receive email from them. I clicked the link and whamo!! I had hit a dead page with a malfunctioning link. Broken links can cause real issues for your customers. They might not be able to complete a sale from your website, sign up for your ezine or reach you and you may not even know.

How Can You Avoid This?

Set aside some time in your schedule to work on your business website. The first thing you can do is carefully check that all links on your site are functioning properly. Some reasons links might not be functioning are:

The page you are linking to may have been removed
The page or site you are linking to is unavailable (server issues)
If you have removed a page from your website, the search engines might not know yet and still attempt to send traffic there. This can be frustrating to your customers if they click that link and do not land where they expect to. You can avoid this traffic breakdown using a traffic “forwarding” command. From your website’s hosting control panel you should be able to setup a forward to easily and painlessly reroute customers to new or renamed pages.

Use a Forwarding Command for:

Removed Pages – when viewers attempt to reach a removed page, the forward command will automatically redirect traffic to your new page.
Oops Pages – you can send viewers to an “Oops!” page letting them know the page they wish to view is not available.
If you are unsure how to do this, I would be happy to assist you. If you have a webmaster, ask them to verify that all of your links are functioning and to use a forwarding command if necessary when pages are renamed or removed.

Third Building Block

Customer Follow Up

When we last left my story above…

I had clicked a broken hyperlink and found myself staring at an error message. The shopping cart had a link to a support email address on the page however and I composed an email informing them of my difficulties and requesting assistance. Cue the crickets…

After three days I had not received a single reply from support to even address my issue. So I’ve paid to reserve a seat at a seminar that I have no details for and there is no telephone number I can call to contact a live person about the event (which is now just 4 days away). To make it worse, it’s an out of town event and I can’t even make plans to travel.

Remember, customer follow up doesn’t end when you make the sale! If you have a support email address setup for your website, please remember to check it frequently and follow up with your customers within 24 hours. The goal is that your customers should not feel alone, they should feel attended to at all times when on your website or doing business with you. Technology can assist with this!

Help Your Client Feel Attended to by Using:

Phone Numbers – not all customers will opt to call you, but some will. If you can’t answer a live phone, provide a method for them to leave a message you can return as soon as possible.
Auto-responders – setup an auto-responder for your support email address. Let customers know you have received their email and inform them of your response timeframe. This is also useful for vacation and out of the office messages.
If you receive customer voice mails and emails, it MUST be a priority to connect personally with them within 24 hours. It’s important for existing and potential customers to feel that you care about their issues and concerns and that they can call on you. Obvious exceptions are when you are on vacation, however I know you’ll have an alternate plan for your business communications!