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In the retail business, there’s an unwritten rule that you should remodel your store about every seven years.
Your web site is your online storefront, no matter what business you’re in.
There’s a rule of thumb in web design that you should update your site roughly every two years. Here’s the good news:
Whereas you might spend tens of thousands of dollars to remodel your bricks-and-mortar store, it costs relatively little to give your virtual storefront a makeover.
You don’t need to know how to swing a virtual hammer. However, you do need to understand some basics about remodeling your online store.
If you were remodeling your physical facility, you might hire an architect, a construction manager and/or a general contractor.
Just like some architects also serve as the construction manager, some web designers understand web marketing (e.g. search engine optimization). If yours doesn’t, find one who does or hire a web marketing expert as well.
If no one in your firm is a great copywriter, hire a pro who knows how to write for the web. The same goes for graphic design.
You may know that some of your content really converts visitors into sales. You may have inbound links. You may be ranked high on certain keywords.
You want to preserve all of these types of things when you remodel your site. This is where your web marketing pro can really earn his or her pay!
There’s a lot of psychology in the design of bricks-and-mortar retail stores. Similarly, your web site should be designed for your visitors. After all, they’re your current and future customers!
For example, we humans read left to right and tend to pause for a split second at the end of a line. So the upper right portion of your site is really important. It’s where you want your most important call to action (see “Exit Door” below).
You also want to think about what’s “above the fold” (a term borrowed from the newspaper industry). Put your most important content at the top of your site so users don’t have to scroll down to see it.
In the real world, most people exit through the same door they came in. It’s true online as well – they click onto your site, they click away.
You don’t want them to exit that way. So you have to show them a different exit.
The exit you choose depends on your goal for your web site.
If you’re like most businesses, you don’t close deals online. You’re looking for leads. If that’s the case, your visitors should be encouraged to contact you every step of the way.
Don’t save it for your “Contact” page. Put it on every page – in the upper right hand corner, at the end of every piece of content, anywhere and everywhere your visitors might find it.
You may want to provide an alternative exit as well.
For example, what could you offer a visitor to entice him or her to give you their e-mail address? This is called the “ethical bribe”. It needs to be something they value.
However, it’s worth it because you won’t have to wait for them to come back and visit you again. You can send them follow-up messages (also of value to them).
If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about your web site, give it a look today. It’s likely a makeover will help you convert more “browsers” into customers. It leads to BIGG success!
What advice would you give for making over a website?