| websites by ylw - website rules|
The design of your Web site gives you the opportunity to show visitors why your company is set apart from your competition. Your business is unique, and you should present that individuality on your Web site.
Youve probably invested a lot of time, money, and thought in developing your company's image through your business cards, brochures, and letterhead. Although you can use those themes, logos, and slogans on your Web site, the Web is an interactive medium that demands more from your collateral than traditional advertising.
The best sites use a design that capitalizes on the uniqueness of the Web. Although eye-catching graphics make each page more appealing, avoid too much clutter on your site.
Once you get started with your website you will want to gather content, graphics, and photographs. If you need ideas for your images, your YLW Consulting Services designer will help to give you suggestions and show you where to find stock graphics and photographs that best represent your company.
Imagine entering a grocery store and finding that there are no signs that describe the items that can be found in each aisle. Even though the store might be organized, you would still spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly, looking for what you need. The same would be true for a Web site.
The navigation bar is the site's directory, a key element for making an efficient Web site.
A navigation bar appears on every page, and it is usually located at the top or on the left side. The bar includes navigation buttons, which are hypertext graphics that move you (when you click on them) from the current page to another page on your Web site.
These "directory" buttons should be available at all times so that a visitor can go from place to place on your site easily and quickly. The navigation allows a visitor to go back "home" at any time with little effort.
Navigation titles should be short and clear about the information that you will find if you click on them. The titles should be broad scoped to describe the major sections on your site, and they should help your customers find the important information on your sitesuch as Products and Services, About Us, or Contact Usat any given time and from any given page. Use the Pages and Sections planning guide to determine the pages and sections that you will use on your site, and then decide the navigation titles.
|Headers & Text:|
No matter how flashy a Web site is or how many of the latest gimmicks it has, it is doomed if it has nothing to say.
What content will solve your customers' daily business challenges?
What are the top five actions you want a visitor to take while browsing your Web site?
What do customers need to know about your company to take action?
Does your site invite customers to contact you or make a purchase?
Does your site get responses from the right customers?
Is it easy for your customers to get to the information they need?
Develop a compelling customer experience by following these guidelines:
|8 EASY STEPS TO A SOLID CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE |
1. The most important step is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Provide content that will add value to their bottom line. What do they need to know to feel comfortable about making a purchase or taking action? Call your best customers and find out what services or features they want from you online.
2. You need to KNOW YOUR COMPETITION! Knowing what your competitors are doing can make or break your success on the Web. Make sure that you know how your visitors perceive your competitors.
3. DEFINE YOUR ONLINE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. What does your business want from customers on the Internet? Sales? Referrals? Registration? Information? Before you do anything, outline your goals and define what you expect from your site. Then, determine how you will organize the pages that get customers to take action!
4. CONSIDER YOUR CUSTOMERS' EXPERIENCE when they visit your new site. Can they easily link from page to page and be led to the most interesting information that relates to them? If you have a diverse set of customers with different needs, consider every type of customer who makes a difference to your bottom line. Make sure you include content and ways to lead them to a purchase.
5. OFFER PAGES THAT ARE COMPELLING AND CONCISE. Make your points early. If you don't get your visitors' attention in the first few sentences, you will lose them to your competition. Deliver your content in the order of its importance. Don't fall into the trap of holding back on your message to keep customers "turning the pages." They won't. Summarize, and then link your visitors to text that is rich in content.
6. SAY IT LIKE IT IS. Most people are seeking information on the Web, and they don't want to waste time interpreting cute or complex header and text styles. Make it as easy as possible to interpret what you do and how visitors can get what they need. Keep it simple.
7. PROVIDE CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS to take action, find information, or navigate your site. Instructions should lead your visitors to take action according to your online business goals and objectives.
8. CROSS-SELL AND UP-SELL key assets and resources to your visitors. You have spent time making each page valuable, so help them find information with a link that makes sense. The more interactive your site is, the more value you add to the experience. Link to other pages and sections whenever possible.
|Marketing Your Website|
Now that you have established your business goals and objectives for your Web site and have considered what responses you want from customers or prospects while they are visiting your site, you need to make it happen! Your Home Page should display links to each of these action items.
When you have a marketing plan and you are ready to purchase your site, Talk to a Expert to find out how many pages you'll need to promote your company and manage the responses from your customers.
Here are a few marketing pages you might need to promote your products and services or capture leads from your marketing efforts:
Registration: A Registration page is typically one page, and it requires some customization based on the information you want from visitors. Remember to keep this page short and avoid asking for too many details. Most visitors don't want to provide sensitive information or spend a lot of time filling out the form. You'll get the best results if you focus on the basics.
Promotional Offer: A promotional offer printed on traditional marketing materials that promises information on a Web site is a popular way to generate leads. To lead customers to your site, include the URL for this page on your collateral and provide details about your promotion and giveaways. The Promotional Offer page should repeat the details of the offer and indicate why the visitors should respond now. The Promotional Offer is typically one page, and it requires some customization based on the response that you want from your customer and the steps that you will take for sending them a reward.
Prepare Your Budget: Offering quotes online is a great example of how the Web is automating and enhancing the customer experience. The quote process is an effective way to move a customer toward a sale, but it may not be the right solution for every company. The number of pages for this process can vary.
Become a Member: A membership form could require one or more pages, depending on the type of membership and how much information is required. Typical membership programs could be as simple as signing up to receive a newsletter online or as complex as becoming an affiliate member. Affiliate partners typically have standardized text and forms and can tell you how many pages to expect.
Sign Up for an Event: This form is typically one page. You can include the URL for this page on your printed invitations or flyers. People like to sign up online rather than send information in the mail because they get immediate confirmation. It's easier and less expensive for you to communicate with them before the event if you can do so by e-mail. Depending on your event, you may want to link your customers to a unique page that includes details about the event.
Customers Only: It is a good idea to use this page if you want your customers to feel special. The Customers Only page can be password protected so that you only show your cards to your best customers. Post promotions and incentive programs that are specific to your customers.
Distributors or Partners Only: This page is password protected to maintain confidentiality. Post updates on recent developments, guidelines for relationships, or information on a sales representative incentive program.
Give something to get something from your customers and prospects. Offering something FREE or something valuable in exchange for contact information is the name of the game on the Internet. Decide what to promote then speak with one of our Experts to help you implement an online marketing campaign.