May 31, 2016

Best of the Website Success Blogs (Feb 28, 2009)

GA1
This weeks Best of the Website Success Blogs begins with a warning to make sure your Google Adwords account is linked with your Google Analytics account.  We found good posts on improving site navigation and understanding buyer motivation by analyzing keywords the use to find your site.  We follow with six key tips for organic search success, a 25-point website usability checklist, 10 Twitter Tips and the Ten Commandments of Social Media Marketing.

Pour yourself an Arizona Pomegranate Green Tea (my new fave beverage) and read this stuff!

bg Theory:
Make sure your Google Analytics & AdWords accounts are linked by March 3rd, 09

Ophir Cohen:
Linking Google Adwords and Analytics 101

Rich Page:
10 Ways to Improve Site Navigation That Your Visitors Will Love

invespBlog:
How to Understand Buyer Motivation Without Telepathy: Start With Keywords

Search Engine Guide:
Six Key Tactics for Organic Success
The basics, but always a good start.

Inside Adwords:
A Change to Our Display URL Policy

FutureNow:
Are Your Existing Customers Messing Up Your Analytics?

UserEffect:
25-Point Website Usability Checklist
A pretty good list.  I have one I have adapted over the years.  Should do a blog post on this.

ProBlogger:
How to Grow Your Blog to The Next Level With SEO
Part of a series.

Twitip:
Ten Top Twitter Tips from February

Social Media Blogster:
The 10 Commandments of Social Media Marketing

The Viral Garden:
Top 25 Marketing & Social Media Blogs
Weekly list.  Worth a look from time to time.

Entrepreneur:
65 Indispensable Websites for Business Owners

And finally, for "hits and grins" a neat cartoon on the hubub that
erupted recently when Facebook announced a change in their terms of
service.

Do you have any recommendations?  What blogs posts do you find interesting or value? Share with us!

— Kurt Scholle

A Confused Mind Says No

Confused2
I attended the National Speakers Association Illinois Chapter meeting on Friday.  The keynote speaker, Ford Saeks, is an interesting guy.  A former juvenile delinquent, he started a painting company when he was 15, and eventually developed a product to store bikes in a garage vertically.  He owns the patent on another product that combined the bike trailors used to pull a baby with the jogging backpack.  All of that could be the subject of other blog posts.

One of the themes thruout nearly 3 hours of presentations was, "The confused mind says no."  It was probably my biggest takeaway and it reminded me of the presentation that Tim Ash did on landing pages at SES.

People are searching for solutions online.  One of the most important elements of why customers select you is what problems do you solve that people will pay you to make go away.  But, don't confuse them by distracting them from the page's primary purpose.  Readers of this blog have heard me say on more than one occasion that your online message should be about benefits, not features.  Make those apparent by using headlines, bullet lists and bold or highlighted text.

Two popular themes are helping your customer avoid pain or increase pleasure.  And those benefits can be presented in headlines that begin with "7 Keys to…" or "3 Benefits of…" or "Secrets that will…."

Use a separate web page (or even website) to promote the single benefit (avoid pain / increase pleasure) or product.  Saeks told the room full of speakers that they might need separate websites to support diverse presentation topics and at the very least, their "one sheets" should support one speech or presentation at a time.  The same applies to a menu of products or services for non-speaker websites.

Tim Ash talked about landing pages with minimal off-page links or information that did not pertain to the product or service being offered.  Landing page optimization is also about a lack of confusion.

A confused mind says no!

Saeks recommends the book, "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" by Steve Krug.

Bonus stuff:

Saeks says there are 3 keys to successful marketing:

  • Message (Why)
  • Market (Who)
  • Methods (How)

Free offers to get prospects to opt in still work, but e-zine subscriptions are no longer effective.

Article marketing is an effective technique to build website traffic.

Testimonials are great influencers.

"Text sells, graphics create attention."

Here's to increasing your web site's ROI,

— Kurt Scholle

Annual Website Assessment (Pt 3) Links & Functionality

Loser
One of the quickest ways to lose a visitor (and a conversion) is with broken links and functions.
  When a visitor hits a dead end, your site may as well be flashing "Loser-Loser" in big red letters across the screen.  It's even worse when the broken link is a money link (purchase, donate, register) because you may have subjected your visitor to 'linkus interruptous' just when they had their wallet out.

Most website operators we know fail to test their links and functions on a regular basis, even on an annual basis, so they have no idea that site navigation or e-commerce functions are hindered.  We know of sites where the order function was not even tested when it was added to the site!

It's important to order from yourself on a regular basis, especially if you're using a 3rd party vendor.  They may have changed their process or be experiencing technical difficulties.

Test not only that the product links work, but that the whole process is set up properly.  Go through the whole sales funnel, taking notes or screen shots along the way.  Make sure that the "success page" your visitor hits upon completion of the sale has the proper message.  Make sure that page has links to other pages on your site – don't make it a dead end.

Don't link to other site pages if you're using the success page as a landing page for an upsell.  If they accept your additional offer, there are other pages in the funnel for them to follow.  There can also be a "no thanks" link that takes them to another offer or a real "Thankyou" page with links to your site.

And by the way, the success page is an excellent opportunity for an upsell or a cross sell.  A large number of people will buy from a success page, than if you make the same offer in a followup days, weeks or months.

Present your success page offer as a bonus for new customers.  It can be very effective to use the scarcity tactic (limited time offer).  Offer a related product or service for a low price.  If you don't offer a product/service, consider offering information or membership.  Perhaps a white paper related to the product in exchange for their first name and email address so that you can make followup offers via sequential autoresponders.  Or the autoresponders can deliver tips on using the product, such as "Bi-Weekly Tips for (doing something more profitably or enjoyably)"

Sequential autoresponders are set up in advance, sometimes with weeks or months of information ready to be delivered at pre-set intervals.  Format them so that they have a standard look and feel, but often include an offer or at least a reminder of the value of your website. 

  • "Order today and take an additional 10% off"
  • "The Midwest's Leading Supplier of School Athletic Uniforms"
  • "Free Shipping on Orders of $25 or More"
  • "Serving the area since 1998"

Sign up for your own autoresponders and experience what your customers and prospects do.

The key is to get something beyond the initial sale
: an upsell or autoresponder opt-in.

Test all of the links on every page of your site.  Too many sites have broken links in their site navigation.  It's easy to get fubared links from page content.  Test links to other pages of your site, but test links to offsite pages too.  Broken outbound links are frustrating to users, but the search engines are thought to use outbound links in their ranking algorithms, and a broken link to a partner website can cause friction with that partner.

Test forms on your site
.  Make sure they ask for the correct information and make sure they results are delivered to the appropriate people.

Test your email links.  Make sure they go to current email addresses.  We see email boxes shut down when an employee leaves and there's no way to receive current inquiries.  ALWAYS have a former employee's email address forward on to their successor or manager.  You don't want to miss a message from a customer, prospect or vendor.

Website E-Mail Tip
: Do not use sales@yourwebsite.com or info@yourswebsite.com type email addresses.  Spammers know they are frequently used, so once they find URLs, they will send out bulk emails to as many 'common' email addresses as possible inlcuding common first names like John@ or Mary@. Consider using sales2009@ or info2009@ instead.  It will take the spam robots some time to find them and you may want to change them a couple of times per year.

And make the employee email address a little less common than Mary@.  Helping to avoid spam will increase their productivity and your ROI.

Dedicated to increasing your website ROI,

— Kurt Scholle