Home » Business » Home-Based Business

An Attractive Web Site Rarely Equates To Higher Profits

Aug 17, 2007
Designing an effective Internet home business web site is not as simple as having a cosmetically pretty and delightful site to visit. While it is essential to have an attractive site, as much thought must be given to functionality as to appearance.

Many web designers seem to concentrate more on appearance than functionality, and while a gorgeous site is helpful, visitors who become aggravated by the inability of a site to function well, will leave almost instantly, never to come back!

Just as critical in designing an e-commerce-style web site, is a somewhat basic knowledge of web site design with some elementary design skills included. While a thorough knowledge of design and functionality is not mandatory, designing an Internet home business site does have some requirements. Otherwise, you'll always find yourself going back persistently and changing the appearance and functionality in a hopeless effort to align with your site visitor's needs.

Internet home business sites need to focus on some key areas of functionality in order to guarantee maximum sales:

1. Load time, page size, and navigability. Slow loading pages, overly large or small pages, and thorny navigation will only irritate visitors. Visitors should never have to wait for a page to load; should never have to scroll back and forth in order to read a page; nor should they have to search relentlessly for the information they want in order to purchase. Clean, straightforward lines, quick loading, well designed pages make the most sales.

There are resources on the Internet that will actually ping your web site from different locations globally and return the average load time for your site, rather than simply returning a theoretical value based on the size of your web page.

2. The use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS efficiently eliminates the need for entering repetitive tags like FONT, trimming your page size appreciably. Such tags can consume up to 5-7% of your page size. Imagine how much bandwidth you'll save if your web site has more than 100 pages!

3. Less use of graphics. While graphics are pleasant and fascinating, they don't necessarily create more sales. The opposite may be true if too many graphics are used. A page that is overloaded with graphics loads more slowly and the graphics themselves may take the visitors' minds off the main purpose of the site, i.e. sales. If graphics are used at all, they should be optimized for web placement, and reduced to the smallest size possible for viewing. Most graphics can readily be reduced by roughly twenty percent without affecting the quality of the graphics.

4. Use of sitemaps. Sitemaps not only improve rankings and placement within the Search Engines, they effectively give visitors a guide by which to view your site, and eliminate confusion on larger sites, such as Internet home business sites. A site map is exactly what its name implies, a road map for your visitors to follow while they are on your site. It's also a road map for the Search Engines, so a site map serves two extremely important purposes on an Internet home business site.

5. Breaking the site up into smaller tables as opposed to encapsulating the entire body of a site in one giant table. This technique allows the page to load in sequence (generally from top to bottom) rather than make your visitor stare at a blank screen until all the elements of the page are fully loaded. Doing this will fill the visitors screen with the top-most content of your page, giving them something to look at and read while the remainder of the page loads behind the scenes. This is an often ignored characteristic.

6. Content that is keyword rich and well-written will assist in top placement within the search engines, and keep visitors on your site long enough to realize they really want to make a purchase. Dreadfully written copy will drive visitors away, while the lack of keywords adversely impacts placement and ranking. The copy on any site is the FIRST IMPRESSION prospective customers have of you and your products or services, so paying strict attention to the content usually leads to additional sales.

7. Keyword rich title tags will boost traffic overall, and more traffic naturally assumes more sales. I say 'assumes' because you still have to have a good product or service that the prospect wants and needs. Title tags help with placement and ranking. Appropriate keywords should also be used for linking internal pages, as this also helps with rankings. Since Internet home business sites are, for the most part, larger than personal pages or other types of sites, the internal linking also leads to more effective preliminary indexing by the search engines. Attention should also be given to the 'alt' tags that surround all pictures of products, as non-optimized 'alt' tags can lead to poor ranking and placement.

8. A security feature that ensures visitors that their personal information is 'safe and secure' within the confines of your web site and also reassures them that their personal information will NEVER be shared nor sold. This is a major concern of online visitors, as the web is such an anonymous type of medium, so any assurances regarding safety and security will promote sales.

9. Internet home business databases and purchasing procedures must be user friendly. Nothing is more exasperating to potential buyers than purchasing procedures that are difficult to use, or that keep going down throughout the process of a purchase. A database and purchase procedure should be simple to use, yet reliable enough to prevent lost sales, or lost monies from sales.

10. Your purchase process must include a 'Thank You' page that is presented immediately after the transaction completes. This ensures repeat customers since being courteous and polite is always in style and leaves an overall good impression on visitors!

All things considered, an Internet home business web site is extensively different than a personal Home page, or the pages of a not-for-profit organization. The focus of the design and navigation, as well as all other aspects of the site, need to be on the primary purpose of the site, and that of course, is the SALES!
About the Author
Don Resh is CEO of WebForce, Inc. A more detailed bio is available at:

WebForceSolutions
BizBuildSoftware
TurboMaxSoftware
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 125
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories