Website Design Tips For Online Marketers

As an internet marketing consultant I’m often called upon to critique online businesses websites to try and improve conversion and profits. Below I’ve listed some of the more important tips on creating a website that really sells. For a more detailed treatment of this subject you may want to check out my book at http://www.yourwebsiteconversion.com.

1. The first law of website design is Keep It Simple-KISS. Make everything as obvious as possible. Speak in your audience’s language, in a way that they expect. One of the simplest websites and most visited is the Google home page. It carries out one function-performs search queries-and you cannot escape that. There are no unnecessary distractions.

2. Don’t use fancy graphics and Flash introductions just for the sake of looking fancy. Think about what you want to accomplish and cut everything that doesn’t lead to this goal. Don’t use the latest technology just to show off. There is no use of having a fancy website if it’s not making you any money, or whatever other function you want it to perform.

3. The key points for your navigation system is that it should be SIMPLE, CONSISTENT and INTUITIVE. Use conventional symbols as much as possible; use the same system on all pages throughout the website and make it very obvious to the visitor. Just simple underlined texts still works!

4. Let your navigation system follow a hierarchical structure, much like a filing system on your computer. For example: Home Page > Fruits > Tropical > Pineapples. In this way a visitor can know where they are in relation to other pages on your website at all times.

5. Use a headline to define the main message of your page. Make the headline stand out physically from the rest of the page much like a newspaper headline, with a lot of surrounding white (empty) space.

6. Use a lot of white space to help break up long text. Reading long trunks of text from a screen can be very tedious on the eyes and lead to visitors clicking away from your website. Keep your paragraphs below five lines. Don’t be a slave to the grammar police.

7. Be careful of using bandwidth-hungry graphics that could slow down the loading of your web pages, especially on dialup services. Make sure that your graphics are as light as possible and the pages load at under 30 seconds on a dialup account. Use http://www.netmechanics.com to test your website loading time.

8. Use subheadings to help in communicating your message. Most online readers scan a website before they actually decide to read the entire page. If your subheadings support your main headline in a logical manner you are more likely to get your full page read.

9. Use a font family that is easy to read online. The Verdana font is one of the best for websites. Don’t use a great variety of fonts on the same page-maximum three. Remember? Be as consistent as possible.

10. Your background should not compete with the message on your website. Bright fluorescent colors can detract from your text message and be a strain on the eyes. You can never go wrong with simple black text against a white background.

11. If your website is an information provider, such as in articles and news items, provide a link for a printable version of your web page. Reading long text from the screen is not as inviting as reading this same information from paper.

12. You may find it necessary to personalize your website by adding your picture and a voice message. This lends credibility to your offer and makes you seem real in the virtual world of the internet.

13. Provide your physical address and contact information on your main pages. This again will boost your credibility with your visitors. You can also add your phone number and fax number if necessary.

14. Use the email service associated with your domain name instead of using a free email service such as Hotmail or Yahoo! These email services can easily be anonymous and no way of proving the identity of the users. Your domain name is more traceable and your email address seems more ‘official’.

15. Use a paid hosting service instead of a free service to host your website. Why appear cheap to your visitors? Most free hosting accounts also have too many restrictions to be used as a business website host anyway.

16. Provide an “About” page. Here you can give more details about yourself and the business and a short mission statement for your website/business.

17. Include a privacy statement and legal disclaimers especially if you sell a money-making product and collect visitor’s information, which you should be doing anyway. You can get a free website privacy statement from http://www.truste.org.

18. Use a secure server to process all payments. With the scare of using credit cards online because of all those database theft stories, it behooves you provide a secure payment page. It will help if you also tell the customer that his or her information is secure and will not be available to anyone else.

If you follow these tips you will see an increase in traffic and profit from your website.

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