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Web-Site Content Tips

What makes a good web-site? Well, this isn't a course on marketing, but basically good marketing is what is needed, tempered with a few extras that apply only to web-sites. So, ignoring for the time being, the question of search engine optimisation, these are our top tips for successful web-site content:

  1. Attention Grabbing Headlines.

    Any course on copywriting will stress the importance of headlines. They must excite the reader and make them want to read on.

  2. Unique Selling Points.

    To keep your reader's attention make sure that you emphasise that which is unique about your offering. Otherwise, there's no reason for them to buy from you rather than someone else.

  3. Sell Benefits.

    People want to know what's in it for them. They don't care about the features of your product - only about how these features are of benefit to them. So tell them.

  4. Interesting Content.

    People don't bother to stay long on boring sites since there are millions of others to choose from. So a site must above all be interesting. This means having useful free information, not just a list of what you are selling.

  5. Interesting Images.

    Too much text is boring. Liven up your site with interesting pictures, but don't overdo it otherwise it will take too long to download.

  6. Easy Navigation.

    compass There's no point having interesting information and pictures if people can't find them. So the site must be easy to navigate. This means having a clear, logical structure to the site, consistency and a simple and obvious way to get from one page to another.

  7. Contact Details.

    Give your prospective customers as wide a choice as possible when it comes to contacting you. Some may prefer email, others may prefer to telephone you. Give them all the options.

  8. Easy Purchase.

    Once visitors are browsing your site, you want them to buy from you. So make it easy for them and encourage them to do so.

  9. Simplicity and Security.

    How many times have you visited an e-commerce site and got as far as putting things into the "basket" and then not completed the transaction? Why? Because something annoyed or worried you. Maybe they asked for information that you regarded as unnecessary, such as you mother's maiden name. Maybe you became anxious about the company's security or viability. Don't make the same mistake on your own site. Keep things clear, simple and straight-forward and instill confidence in your prospective clients.

  10. Postal Address.

    A postal address (not a P.O Box number) is a must. People want reassurance that if something goes horribly wrong, then they can find you. Give them your company registration number and your VAT number - it all helps to reassure people that you are a bona-fide company. Make sure that you give them a proper regional phone number - not just an 0845 or mobile number, because people want to know that you are based where you say you are.

  11. Correct Grammar and Spelling.

    If the site looks like it was thrown together by someone who couldn't be bothered to get the basic grammar and spelling right, then why should prospective customers think that the rest of the service will be any better? The simple answer is that they won't.

  12. Home Page.

    When prospects arrive on your home page, you've got 2 seconds to make an impression. Fail, and they have clicked on the back-button - lost for ever. Think about it - what do you do when searching for something? You look on one of the search engines, groan when you see that it has found 1,238,524,992 matches and start clicking on likely links. If a page loads slowly or doesn't immediately look interesting you hit the back-button - on to the next site. So, on your site, you must grab their attention and make them take their finger off that button. You may have just what they are looking for, but if you can't pass the two-second attention test, they will move on and buy from someone who can.

  13. Clarity and Readability.

    Dark green backgrounds with yellow text are a definite turn-off as are patterned backgrounds. Use dark text on a light background and a clean non-serif font for maximum legibility. Contrast this occasionally with something unusual for emphasis, but don't overdo it, because if people can't read it easily, they won't bother to try.

  14. No Gimmicks.

    Just because you can have rotating logos, scrolling messages and flashing text, doesn't mean that it's a good idea to do so. In fact it's a sign of an out-of date web-site. Modern sites are clear, uncluttered and usually devoid of such gimmicks. If there's a good reason to put one in, then by all means do so, but: if in doubt, leave it out.
  15. No Music.

    Unless you are selling music, it's best not to have any. Firstly, your choice might not match that of your visitors, which will drive them away very rapidly. Secondly, if they are browsing at work and music starts flowing from their desk, they will hit the back button as fast as they can to avoid embarrassing looks from other staff. If you must have music or other sounds make sure that people have to click on something to get it and that they know beforehand to expect it.

  16. White Space.

    You don't need to fill every square centimeter of the page. White space is free, so use plenty of it. Sites that have links, images, buttons, logos, advertisements, banners, and text covering every available space on the page not only look awful but also confuse the visitor, who "can't see the wood for the trees". So space things out. Make it easy to see what is important and don't distract the visitor with a confusing array of irrelevant clutter.

  17. Bullet Points.

    Browsing is different to reading. When people browse web-sites, they do not start at the beginning and read the whole site or even a whole page like they would a book. Instead, they jump about, reading a bit here and a bit there. So large paragraphs of text that might be suitable for a book are inappropriate for a web-site. Instead, bullet-pointed information is better.

  18. Calls to Action.

    And finally, if you are to get people to buy from you, then you need to encourage them. Tell them to call you or click on the order button.