How to Review a Website


Image by alancleaver_2000 via Flickr

When  you’re putting together your new web site, or even just a new landing page, there are several things you should review on your site before you hit “publish.”

You want your visitors to know exactly what you sell, how you help them, and what they need to do to buy your product (or services).

If they are confused, or can’t read your site – they’ll leave (this means no sales and a high bounce rate – no good).

So, here’s a quick website review checklist

1. Is your website hard to read?

What color is the background?  A dark background with light type may look slick but it’s really hard on the eyes.  Try to keep it to a minimum (if at all). Also check the font size.  Small type can be difficult (especially if your audience is older).

2. How is it formatted?

Are there big blocks of type?  Do  you have subheads (to break up the text)?  How much space (leading, back in the day)  is there between the lines? The rule of thumb is roughly 10% more than the size of the type.  So, roughly 14 pixels between lines for 12 pixel type.  Have you centered a lot of text (this also makes it harder to read).

3. Is your website confusing?

Is it immediately clear what your site is about?  Whether you’re selling something? Or just giving information?  Have you had someone else look at it?

4. Have you asked for the sale?

Assuming you are selling something, have you asked people to buy?  For example, is there a big shiny, call to action button? Did you ask more than once?

5. Are you using a landing page?

Where are you sending people?  Did you create a landing page or are you using your home page to make sales?

6. Have you cross-checked browsers?

The same page can look different depending on which browser your visitor is using.  Internet Explorer in particular is notorious for fouling up code.  Run a check with browsershots (or make sure your developer does) to make sure your site looks right in the major browsers.

Want a more in-depth checklist, and step by step instructions for reviewing your website?  Click here.

The Ridiculously Easy Way I Increased Click Through Rates by 2300%

An incandescent light bulb.

Image via Wikipedia

I talk a lot about getting inside your readers’ heads, and offering solutions to their problems, rather than yours. Sometimes, though I need to read my own advice.  I was looking at one of my Squidoo lenses (which were sort of one page mini-sites) and saw that while it got  traffic, the click through rates were terrible.  I was trying to figure out why that was and how I could increase them.

The page was about Thomas the Tank Engine coloring pages (in honor of my nephew, who loves Thomas).  I had lots of links to coloring pages for all the different characters, but none of them were converting. We got paid based on visits, clicks, sales, and other interactions with the pages, so clicks were important, even if they didn’t lead directly to selling something.

Too much friction

As I looked at it, I realized that I had all the links in a big block.  There were about 20 of them, one right after the other.  Sure, the page had exactly what my visitors wanted (pictures of each train character), but that big block of text was awfully intimidating.  You’d have to carefully read through all those links to find the engine you were looking for.  It was too hard.  So, nobody clicked.

Eureka! Easy access will increase click through rates!

So, I reorganized.  I divided the links into categories, by character (Thomas, James, Henry, etc.)  I put a big headline on top of each one so they were easy to spot.  Now all my visitors had to do was scroll down to find the right train.  Clicks shot up from 1% to 24% over two days. An increase of 2300% for a few minutes work.  Go look at your own pages. Would a little redecorating make a big difference?  Try it and find out.

What Your Clients Really Want


Magic wand

Magic wand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s your clients’ secret desire? What do they really want you to do for them?

If you could wave a magic wand and give them something, what would it be? Do you know?  Are you giving it to them?

They may say upfront that they want “a web site,” but what they really want is something that works, that they don’t have to fuss with, and that they can afford.  A designed from scratch standard web site for $300 is impractical, but a wordpress site with a pre-built theme might not be.  The template is fixed price, custom coding is extra.

Finding out what they want can make a big difference in how you present  yourself and how you approach prospects.

Do they want to learn how to get published?

Would they like to spend less time writing web copy and more time creating new recipes?

To compete against the “big guys” and win?

A set it and forget marketing system?

Share yours here. Or, write a post on your own blog about what your clients really, really want and how you help them get it. If you need help getting started, try this:

“I was reading a post on Fix Your Broken Marketing and Jodi challenged us to figure out our clients’ secret desires (for work stuff – hey get your minds out of the gutter!).  It was a little scary, but I thought I’d try it.  Deep breath… here I go”

(inspired by Naomi Dunford)


How to Use the Internet to Defy Time and Space

mugThis post was going to be a bit of a rant.  Yesterday, I got a small package.  I didn’t look at it too closely and thought it was Canon’s broken customer service returning my camera. I couldn’t understand why they’d go to the trouble, not to mention spend $7.50 in postage, to send it back to me.  No wonder it cost nearly as much to repair as to buy a new one! They’re crazy!

Touch people through the internet

In the middle of the night, I realized the box was much too heavy to be a point-and-shoot camera.  So, since I couldn’t sleep, I opened it. Inside was this mug (on the right), a lovely note, and two teabags.  It was a gift from my wonderful friend Jule, who I’ve never met.  I’d seen the mugs on her blog yesterday and asked for one — little did I know that I already had one! She mailed it two days before!

I read the note, drank my tea from the mug this morning, and felt really happy and touched that she’d reached out to me like that.

Connecting your offline and online marketing

Of course, Jule wasn’t trying to sell me anything, but connecting online and offline marketing is a great strategy.  Sending mugs to everyone you know online may not be practical, but you can combine an online and offline marketing campaign.

For example, send a postcard marketing campaign to prospective or current clients and then follow up with email.  Or send them to a landing page with a special offer.

Create a social media promotion for a new product or event, and then offer a special promotion to attendees who share your promotion or hashtag.

Share your thoughts

What do you do to connect with your blog readers or clients or others you may know online but never meet face-to-face? Or do you?  Do you think this is important?

5 Ways to Build Credibility Online

fans at game

Image thanks to steelcityhobbies

Do people think you’re great? Do they tell their friends? Or wear your colors (like the fans in the photo)?

People are naturally skeptical, but you can build your credibility online with something called “social proof.”

Here’s how it works. Say you belong to an online group. Bob emails you to say his friend Jill just joined. You go look at her profile, and see she’s also a friend of Betsy’s (another friend of yours). You think, well any friend of Bob and Betsy must be good people. You already like her (because your friends recommended her).

The same thing works for companies and products. If someone asks me for a good ebook designer, I strongly recommend Kathie Rokita. If that person trusts me (and I hope they do), they go to Kathie prepared to think she’s great (which she is).

How can you get social proof for yourself?

Make referrals

If someone asks you for a referral, make a recommendation. It works three ways. The person who asked is happy with you because you helped her. The person getting the referral is happy because you sent him a potential client. And, you’re happy because you helped someone.

Get testimonials

Ask your clients for testimonials about the work you did for them. Solicit their opinions of your service (good and bad). Tell them it doesn’t have to be anything formal, just make a few notes. Asking for both the good and the bad will help you, and also help your clients (as you’ll know if anything is bothering them).

Cite statistics

McDonald’s used to have a sign counting up the millions and millions of burgers sold. The idea was that all those numbers proved that their burgers were good (see, we’ve sold 60 million of them).

Get interviewed

Reply to appropriate queries on HARO (help a reporter out) and get your name in the news. Being interviewed shows you’re an expert. Put out a press release when you come up with a new product (not about you, but about how the product solves a problem – there’s a difference). This can also generate more press and interviews.

Be social

Commenting on blogs, activity in forums (for your ideal customer) and answering questions all show your expertise. After a while, people will start to recognize you, your name, and your avatar, as they see you around the web. They’ll feel they know you.

Share your thoughts

What have you done to build your own credibility?  Especially online?  Share your tips.