In part 2 of my latest interview series with TalkFloor's Dave Foster, we continue the discussion about evaluating retailer websites from a consumer's perspective.
This segment is 10:26 minutes long and can be accessed by clicking on this link to TalkFloor's Floor Radio for Part 2.
A website home page is equivalent to the welcome experience when a visitor enters your physical store. In this case, they arrive at your site based on a keyword they've entered into a search engine. Here is what to keep in mind for the home page:
- Welcome visitors
- Explain succintly what you are about
- Be ready to answer their questions and direct them deeper into your site for more information
- Tell them where to go next
Evaluating Websites Mistakes:
Don't do too much on your homepage. If you present too much - i.e., a jumble of stuff - visitors will bounce off and quickly leave your site. Better to be very focused, with each web page focused on one specific keyword phrase, and description. Make sure each page is unique from every perspective.
Beware of noisiness! Don't use capital letters [that is the equivalent of shouting] and make sure, if you have a video or jingle, NOT to have it automatically launch!
Don't assume that fancy is better. For example, Flash based websites may be beautiful, but search engines cannot read the content contained in the file. In other words, that's a lost opportunity to get found online and connect with potential customers! Better to focus on the basics, on the website content and the words that communicate what a business is about, and how to help visitors along the purchase cycle.
Don't focus only on selling. Many website visitors arrive at the top of the sales funnel and aren't ready to buy immediately. Be ready with content that answers their questions, offers them ideas and encourages them to trust you and your expertise so they eventually become customers.
Don't forget to integrate into your online content all of the knowledge and insights gained from interacting with customers in real life [IRL]. There's nothing quite like interacting with customers over a customer service issue, or a design challenge to gain an insight that can benefit other customers.
Words of Advice for Evaluating Websites
- Know your goals for your website. Figure out what you want to achieve.
- Focus on one key word or phrase per each page of your website
- Plan ahead. Be sure to use tools such as Google or Outlook Calendar to stay on track.
What do you find most important in evaluating the success of your website? What advice would you offer?