ARTICLES BY MIND'S EYE

 

 

TOP 5 WAYS TO DOWNSIZE AND UPGRADE YOUR SITE

 

1) Does your website state, right up front, what you do, what you sell,or whom you wish to serve?

 

Make sure your site is the three C's:

Clear

Concise

Complete

 

Do visitors have to wade through a lot of extra text and slow- downloading graphics to find what they are looking for?  Make every word and picture count.

 

2) Use headlines on your web pages that sell Benefits, not Features.

Emphasize how your product or service will benefit the buyer. Hint: Answer the site visitor's age-old question: What's In It For Me?

 

3) Design your site to lead the visitor to your "Most Wanted Response". Make it clear and easy to learn more about you or buy your product.  How many times have you visited a site that made you work hard to find their contact info or to buy their product?

 

Which leads us to...

 

4) Add your FULL contact information, including a clickable email address on EVERY page of your site.

Visitors can and will enter your site on any page.

Hint: Add your most favored contact method (email? phone? fax?) to the top of each web page.

 

5) Add an article or articles that your target market would find useful. Make the information helpful without an obvious sales pitch. Educate prospects - make their lives easier, and they will be more willing to trust and buy from you. Hint: Mention the article(s) to your prospects when networking, and mention it on your next display ad.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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Don't Just Attract Visitors to Your Site - Attract Your Target Market!

 

The best websites attract their target market like flies to flypaper.

But have you considered the flip side of great web design?

 

How much time do you spend talking to individuals or businesses who are not good candidates for your

product or service? What if your website could help reduce the time you spend on those inquiries?

You'd have more time to spend responding to profitable leads and fulfilling orders!

 

Anytime you can shorten the sales cycle of your business, you are ahead of the game.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

 

-Does my site state, right up front, what I do, what I sell, or whom I wish to serve?

 

-Does it reflect my business style and approach?

 

-Does it speak the language (literally and figuratively) of my target market?

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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WEBSITE CHECKLIST

 

When was the last time you REALLY looked at your website?

Here are some ideas to use for a year-end check-up.

 

1) Do all your links work? Test them all yourself. Website changes and updates during the year often create broken links somewhere else on the site. Seems insignificant, but how impressed are you by a site that has links that go to a wrong page or worse, nowhere?

 

2) Is your company's full contact info on EVERY page of your site? Visitors can and will enter a site from any page. Make it easy for them to contact you. Even better: Add your phone number and clickable email address somewhere at the top part of each page ("above the fold"), so visitors don't have to scroll down to find it.

 

3) Are there meta-tags in your site's HTML code? These descriptive tags are easy to add, and make all the difference with Search Engine rankings. Talk to your web developer (or us!) about adding these essential pieces to your site. Be sure your site is re-submitted to the Search Engines once you have the meta-tags in place.

 

4) Does the text on your pages really communicate what you do and the benefits of doing business with you? Pretend you are talking to your best friend on your site. You'll write a compelling, honest, and factual account of why your product or service is worth considering. Guess what? That's what your target market wants to hear!

 

5) Simpler is better in life and in websites! You have approximately 10 seconds to keep a visitor once they land on your site. Keep them interested and informed VERY quickly, or lose them.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR SITE THROUGH FRESH EYES

 

Ask around these days, and you hear business owners and managers disappointed in their websites.

Return on investment has been nil. No traffic, no response, no sales.

 

"I spent so much money developing my website and nobody is coming to visit it.. What's wrong???"

 

SOUND FAMILIAR? The stories are the same over and over..

 

-My website doesn't look at all like I thought it would.

-My website is up and there is NO traffic.

-My website just doesn't reflect my company's image.

-My site is down more often than it is up.

-I can't ever get changes made to my site when I need them.

 

Do you feel like you are powerless in a technical world that is WAY too complicated to deal with?

 

WAIT. You do have the power. Your website belongs to YOU. It should be a true reflection of your company's image on the Internet, and should seamlessly blend with your overall marketing package, otherwise why bother having a website at all?

 

If you read this far and said, "They are talking about ME" then it is time to sit down and assess your website.

 

There are simple things you can do yourself to invite visitors to your site. Put your web address on all of your printed material. Post new and interesting information on your site. Change your site content often to give visitors a reason to come back.
Keep it fresh and ABOUT THEM, the CUSTOMER.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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YOUR CUSTOMERS SELLING FOR YOU - TESTIMONIALS

 

Use testimonials to build trust and confidence with website visitors. Yes, this is a tried and true method, but too few companies use their own good name and reputation as an asset!

 

Keep It Short and Snappy

Keep the testimonials to one or two sentences and keep it simple. Ask your clients permission to use their words (if they are happy with your product or service, they'll be more than willing).

 

Use Key Industry Words

Ask your customers (or better yet, have a third party ask such as your web developer) just what made their purchase beneficial to them.  Use your customers' specific quotes on a particular benefit.

 

Keep It Real

NEVER make up a testimonial; besides being dishonest, it will always come back to haunt you.

 

Use your client's real name (first and last name best) and a link to your client's Home page to prove your authenticity.

Listing an email address instead of a website link is a good alternative. Make sure the client knows their quote and email address will appear on your website in case they are contacted.

 

Sprinkle Sparingly

Don't overload the site with testimonials - make them count. Use the testimonials on pages that relate to the specific subject on that page. Start today using your own happy customers to gain additional sales!

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD

 

How is the casual web surfer going to perceive your website as distinct from a thousand others in the same business?

Developing a clear Unique Selling Proposition has a lot to do with differentiating your website (and company!) from all the others. What is unique about your business? Why do customers come to you for their business, rather than your competition?

 

What do you do better (or different) from all the rest?

 

Finding your Unique Selling Proposition is one of the first steps toward a truly successful marketing plan, especially online.

 

Distinctive Packaging

Many small business people cut corners on website design costs. The result is a same-old, look-alike website that you couldn't remember an hour after you visited it. Like book covers that compete for consumers' attention, websites need strong visual images.

 

A quality logo and consistent market branding are essential. We offer logo design as a part of our custom market branding packages.

 

Competitive Analysis

Just as important as a logo is a distinctive design for the website. The site ought to leave you with an attractive visual memory. Look at your competitors' websites. What do you like about them? What would you change? If you like a certain style or "look", chances are your customers will too. Does your site's style reflect your unique business, or does it simply list the bare facts about you with a big yawn?

 

A Distinct Voice

Another way to differentiate your website is with a distinctive "voice."  The Internet can be a very flat, cold world. So make sure the style of writing adds personality and individuality to the website text. In a corporate culture this can be darn near impossible. We've all seen the webpage with the DRY message from the CEO. Companies that are smart find spokespersons who put personality into the website text, i.e. a distinctive "voice."

 

A Clear Focus

Part of making your business or product distinctive is narrowing. Many online businesses try to be everything to everybody and fail because they are seen as just being part of the crowd.

 

Smaller companies have an easier job of differentiating themselves. Often the Unique Selling Proposition can be a geographic focus combined with a specialty. For example, a dry cleaner in Portland, Maine, that specializes in cleaning suede better than anyone else in the city. Or a recording company that markets New Orleans jazz.

 

 

HINT:

Find your company's Unique Selling Proposition, and incorporate that into your website

to make it stand out from the crowd.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses

 

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DON'T BE A WEB HOST VICTIM!

 

How well do you know the company that hosts your website? If your host company goes out of business, you may be in deep trouble.

 

Let's cover the basics first. A website is a group of electronic "files" stored on a server computer.

This server is hooked up to the Internet to allow visitors access to web pages 24 hrs a day/7 days a week.

 

Your website and its pages are your property. But if your host goes out of business, shuts down its servers, and the web pages are not retrievable, your website is not just inaccessible, it's gone! And you no longer have access to the email address associated with your site.

 

In other words, you are completely out of business online. No domain, no email address, no web pages.

 

Protecting Yourself:

1) You should always retain a copy of all your web pages and images used. This serves a dual purpose. It not only provides a level of safety in the event of a problem with the web server, it also provides a backup copy of your web pages if your provider goes out of business.

 

2) Make sure your webmaster has registered your domain name with YOU listed as the registrant (owner).

We had a client recently have to change the domain name they were using, because their former web developer registered the domain to themselves rather than to the client and would not release the domain name!

Visit a whois lookup online, type in your domain name, then in the next page click on "whois record". Your name should be the first one listed. The Admin and technical contacts can be your host or web designers, so that they can administer the domain name for you (renewals, etc.).

 

3) Know your web host company. Like anything, you get what you pay for with cheap web hosting. Support will be by phone (IF you can actually reach a live person) or email, and on generally on THEIR schedule.

Be aware of what you are getting.

 

Your best bet is to contact for services with a web host who provides quality service at a reasonable price. Protect yourself from the possibility they might go out of business.

 

 

HINT:

Retain a copy of your website and make sure you are listed as the registrant in your domain name registration.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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BUILDING TARGETED SITE TRAFFIC

 

Building website traffic is a key challenge for websites. In our "Effective Websites" seminars, attendees invariably ask how to increase the number of visitors to their website.

 

Boxcar of visitors?

The only time you may want huge numbers of random site visitors is if you're in the business of selling ads. Even then, banner ads are harder to sell with fewer "click-throughs" (percentage of people who actually click on an ad) than ever.

 

Otherwise, if your site is designed for garnering prospects and sales leads, you are better off working toward fewer, but MORE QUALIFIED visitors to your site. Why spend time and money getting the world to come to your doorstep, if they're not good candidates to buy from you?

 

Targeted Traffic Better!

So, it's not just any old traffic, but RELEVANT traffic that makes all the difference in online marketing success.

How to get those targeted visitors to your site?

 

Here is a suggestion to get started:

With your next direct mail or media ad (or even on the back of your business card), include the specific website address (on YOUR website!) of an article you know your prospects will find useful. Add the brief, useful article to a page on your website before publishing the address. Or ask your web developer to add the article for you.

 

Example

A dry cleaner may run these two lines in their spring ads:

 

"Check out how to best store those wool winter coats at our website www.CornerCleaners.com/storecoats

 

The article should be useful, of course, and can include a discount for wool coat cleaning at Corner Cleaners. Chances are good that visitors will surf around your site, discovering all the wonderful things you do!

 

A side benefit of this example is the ability to test specific ad outlets for their effectiveness and response rate.

 

© Mind's Eye Presentations. All rights reserved.

Mind's Eye Presentations provides customized, effective web strategies for businesses.

 

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