Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Are You Blinded By Love For Your Website?

One of the main reasons websites don't work as effectively as they might is because owners, and their internal designers/copywriters, look at the site through rose coloured glasses.

This is not to say that they believe they are infallible, and have created the perfect online sales tool. It's usually because they are too close to the business to make an objective call on what customers really need.

For example, throwing in as much relevant information as possible is not the same as presenting and organising content effectively.

Sometimes content is difficult to navigate, or the copy is written in industry jargon rather than everyday language. If there is too much information on each page, it makes it very difficult for visitors to absorb and act as want them to.

The content might all make sense to you and the people in your company, but it might not be clear at all to people outside your business. If not, it means you need to spend a bit more time stating the obvious and making important information easier to grasp.

See if your copy can be seperated into clear categories. You could use sub-heads to help guide customers through each step. There might be areas where you need to spell out how something works, or link to another page for further details.

You might also be including information that visitors don't need. This all comes down to your research and knowledge of the market. A simple way to get some answers is to ask a few people outside the company (no not your mum) to try a few things on the site and get their feedback.

Another option is to look at your competitors sites to see what they have included, and view their FAQ's. These usually give you a good idea of the things people are asking. of course, your business is unique, so don't base it all on what the guy next door is doing or you will suffer. If you have any existing site, analyse your customer service emails and phonecalls to see what people are asking your staff about. Is there something you could include or spell out more clearly on the site?

The time it takes to get this right is well worth the effort. Not only will your conversion rates and sales numbers increase but you'll spend less time answering questions from frustrated customers.

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