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You Only Get 5 Seconds. Starting Now!

Sep 5, 2008
Where have I landed?

What do I do, get or buy from here?

These 2 questions needs to be answered for your website visitors within the first 3-5 seconds of them landing on your page.

If you're able to effectively answer these questions and your visitor doesn't leave, then you have no more than 5 more seconds to answer some more questions:

Why should I do something?

These are the 3 key questions that your landing page needs to answer. And they must be answered quickly if you want your online business to be a success.

You may never have thought about this, but when most people end up on your site, they are really hoping their search is over. You will be the one that has the solution to their problem, or can satisfy their need for information, a product, or a service. They're hoping this because they really don't want to spend any more time than necessary to find what they're looking for.

Very few people wake up and say "Today, I'm going to waste 4 hours searching and comparing features to find the best online parenting class." More likely, they're saying, "Oh no, I have that court date coming up, and I haven't found a parenting class yet. I need to get going on that. I hope I can find one fast."

And which site usually gets their business? Naturally, it will be a site on the first page of the search engine results, but that's for another article. Besides that, it will be the one that has successfully answered our three question quickly and thoroughly for the reader.

Where have I landed? - Clearly, this question (should) be answered by the title of the site and the URL. But other items on the page can help your visitors come up with an answer to this question as well. Is this a reputable company? Does the site look professionally designed, or like your nephew put it together in computer class? Your sites' appearance says a lot about your company.

More than anything else, except possibly for copy, this is the biggest failure I see online businesses making.

If you are using the Wordpress blog platform, you have no excuse to have an unprofessional looking site. There is a huge selection of quality premium Wordpress themes that are available today. With just a few hours and a few dollars (usually no more than $79), you can build yourself a sharp, professional site. If this small investment of your time and money isn't worth it to you, your site will show it. And many people hesitate to do business with a company that can't be bothered with a quality site.

Even for simple "squeeze" or sales pages, there's a right and a wrong way to do it. If done wrong, I'll guarantee you it has cost you sales.

Granted, design is subjective, but you should be following at least some basic guidelines and standards in order to create a credible, professional appearance.

What do I do, get or buy from here?

This may be a little harder to answer. You need to have a solid understanding of what your visitors are looking for, and convey that in a clear statement of your business' most important benefit. An effective example would be a well-crafted tag line for your company.

Too often I see company's make the mistake of coming up with some clever slogan, which mean nothing to their average visitor. They've lost out on the opportunity to really capture the readers attention and instead have created confusion. And confusion doesn't sell, it makes people run. That's no good.

The headline or tag line of your website should clearly state what a user can expect to do, get or buy from your site. Say it plainly and make it very easy to understand. Test your headline by showing it to different people and asking for their initial reaction. Get them to tell you in less than 5 seconds what your site is asking them to do.

Why should I do something?

Possibly the hardest question to answer for your readers, it requires that you set yourself apart from the crowd. How are you different from your competitors? Can I really trust you with my information? How is your free report going to help me? Basically, they're listening to WII-FM, What's In It For Me? How will being a part of your site, at whatever level, going to solve my problems, save me time, save me money, make life easier, make me happy, etc...?

What's the rush? Can't it wait until tomorrow? What will I miss by not acting now? Do I get anything for acting quickly?

There can be lots more variations, but I think you get the picture. Honestly, you probably won't know the correct answer unless you try testing to see what your readers are connecting with. You can use surveys or polls, and split test your landing page with a few different versions of your copy.

Give visitors what they're looking for, make it easy, and make it urgent and your conversions will go through the roof.
About the Author
Barry is an online business consultant and project manager with 13 years experience in web development and Internet marketing.
Please visit his blog, 1Cat.biz, for more tips on how to build a successful online busness.
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