|The road to a successful home business is full of blind curves,|
potholes and hazards. Of these many pitfalls, creating your own
web site is one of the most dangerous. Setting up a good web
site is a complicated and intricate process, and if you don't pay
attention to detail you can end up with a mess.
The web site is the first impression a customer has of your
business, so it had better be good. Now of course you want your
site to be attractive and professional looking, but that's just
the start. Quite often a fantastic looking web site can sink
itself with bad copy. The clarity of your information is
crucial. It is imperative that your web site follows a logical
structure and has clear and complete product information, a
clearly stated offer, and easy to follow ordering instructions,
all written with impeccable spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Using a professional web designer is great if you can afford it,
and it's not even too expensive these days. In the last few
years, competition among web designers has become fierce, and
hence driven prices down. You can get a pretty good job done for
very little money if you just comparison shop a bit. You might
even find a web design student who needs portfolio material and
is willing to set up your site for free. Just remember, a web
designer is just that, a designer. They set up all the links,
graphics and fonts, but the copy is up to you. Most designers
just plug in what you give them without even a cursory once-over.
The clarity and correctness of your writing is your own
One of the main flaws I find in poorly written web sites is the
confusion created when I can't find what the actual offer is.
The home page maybe has all sorts of slick sales copy and even a
testimonial or two, but where is the offer? A good web site
should introduce the product or service and clearly state the
offer right at the beginning. You can follow up with a second
paragraph of sales copy describing the benefits of your product,
but make sure that your offer is stated first.
Another web site sinker is confusing links. Links are necessary
because people get frustrated with having to scroll down through
pages and pages of information. A good web site should be
divided into separate sections connected by links. To avoid
confusion, keep each section of your web site shorter than 300
words, the shorter the better, and have an easy to read column of
links to the left side of each page and also at the bottom of
each page. It is crucial that each link makes sense. Use
logical titles like "product information," and "ordering
information," and make sure the content fits the title. Don't
have ordering information on the products page, and vice versa.
It is also crucial that your ordering information is clear.
Wouldn't it be a tragedy if someone got all the way through your
web site, but then didn't buy your product because they were
confused by your ordering page? Believe me, this happens all the
time. Make sure that everything is easy to understand. Your
quantity and price sections, mailing information section and
credit card information section should all be simple and logical.
It's also a good idea to have an order recap function so people
are sure their order was understood before they send off their
credit card number. Finish off with an order confirmation, and
people will be much more at ease with their purchase.
And finally we come to spelling, grammar and punctuation. I
could write pages and pages on this subject, but then you'd
probably stop reading. Grammar is a tricky subject. No one
likes to think that they use bad grammar, but even the most
educated people can slip up. Pay very close attention when
writing your web copy. You can't rely on spell check and grammar
check to do it for you.
When you've finished writing your site, set your copy aside for
an hour or two, then read it again. You'll be surprised at the
errors you missed the first time. After you've proofread your
document, have someone else look it over, preferably someone with
a good eye for such things. If you don't have anyone you can go
to, contact a professional editor, or if you can't afford an
editor, ask an English teacher. You might find one willing to
read your work for a few bucks, and you might even make a friend
in the process.
A well written web site is crucial to making sales. If people
can't understand your site, they won't buy your product. It's as
simple as that. So put in a little extra effort, and watch your
returns multiply. There's money to be made out there if you just
know how to do it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will
enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his
helpful strategies, including his latest article "A Great Press
Release Can Really Get Your Business Noticed," at
http://AlvinApple.com Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or
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