The 22 Attributes Of A Successful Web SiteTeacher: David Dimas
I make a living examining top ranked sites on Search Engines to report back to my ten thousand subscribers on "What really works' on the Internet. If you’ve been on the Internet any stretch of time, you’ve already come to the realization of two things:
1. You are never going to stop learning while doing business on the Internet.
2. When building a business on today’s information super highway, you will need to be able to build a business model that can constantly be modified as you build it.
There are many dot.com companies that have learned these two lessons the hard way. They thought the answer was to throw large sums of shareholders money at every new problem that presented itself. They built a model that worked in the beginning, but didn’t anticipate changing their business model so quickly after their initial success. If there is one constant rule on the Internet, it is "Expect change."
A recent study done by ActivMedia, showed that experience plays a significant role in the profitability of B2B (business to business) Web sites. According to the report, "Online Success Strategies in B2B Markets", only 46 percent of B2B businesses that have been online for three or more years are profitable. This compares to only 32 percent across all B2B sites regardless of the number of years online. This may explain the failure of many dot.com businesses. They didn’t learn to adapt their business model to the constant changing way of life on the Internet.
Here are my "22 Attributes of a Successful Web Site" in today’s Internet marketplace. Surprisingly, many top sites do not include Flash presentations and clever java scripts to keep my short attention span from clicking my mouse on to the next site. With these sites, content is king, and "User friendly" sites rule.
With $8,500 being the average initial investment that a small business will make in a Web site, and $11,500 being the average it will spend over the next 12 months on their site. You need to be smart in how you build your Web site. (CyberDialogue, June 2000, Survey of nonresidential businesses with fewer than 100 employees).
Take this little this test to see how your Web site scores in comparison with top ranked Web sites. Give yourself ONE point for each item that you are currently employing on your site. Total your score at the bottom to see how did.
The 22 Attributes of a Successful Web Site.
1. They have easy to load pages that are Search Engine Friendly. - If a page doesn't load in 10 seconds, you lose 1/3 of your visitors. No one wants to sit in front of a computer screen waiting for your page or flash presentation to load. Also, be sure to check your sites "Browser Compatibility". Have you ever downloaded a different browser or even upgraded to a new version of your current browser just to view how your Web site looks? All browsers are not created equal, and all browser do not look the same.
2. They are rich in Keyword density. - Keywords are how Search Engines index your site, and how searchers will find your site. Successful sites have spent the time necessary to choose the best Keywords that fit their site’s description.
3. They have an E-zine (newsletter). - They keep in touch with their customers, informing them about new products and information. There are now more than 430 million active e-mail accounts in the USA.
4. They have an Affiliate program. - This allows their Web site visitors to earn some cash or referral fees for recommending their product or service to others. By 2002, 25 percent of the expected $37.5 billion in Internet retail sales, not including autos, will have originated on affiliate sites" - Nicole Vanderbilt, Jupiter Communications.
5. They have an E-mail capture form. - You only have one chance to capture a visitor’s e-mail when they visit your site. If they come to your site, they were looking for something. By placing an e-mail capture form on your site you can communicate with people who give you their e-mail address at a later date. Place your form in a prominent place for anyone to see. Make it easy for them to enter their e-mail.
6. They have Testimonials of satisfied customers. - People want to read what others have experienced about your product or service.
7. They post Contact Information. - The contact information is displayed clearly. No one wants to hunt for your link or phone number to try and contact you. Make it easy for them to find.
9. They use Link Popularity. - Ninety-five percent of the most popular Search Engines now use link popularity in their relevancy algorithms.
10. They form Strategic Partnerships - One good strategic partnership is worth a week of prospecting, or banner ads, etc.
11. They have a way of Tracking the sale - Where did the sale or lead come from? They isolate where they are getting traffic and concentrate their efforts.
12. They have a Clear Invitation to Buy. - It may sound strange, but people want to be asked to purchase. Some studies put the number as"Seven times" a buyer must see your product before he will make a purchase.
13. They have a Merchant Account. - You’ve got to be able collect the money from your transaction. Choose a shopping cart that will fit your needs today and will meet the needs of a growing company.
14. The have an FAQ page. - They have posted on their site a page with their most frequently asked questions. Put yourself in the place of someone visiting your site and ask yourself what you would want to know about your product or service before you spent your hard earned money.
15 They are positioned in their target marketplace. - It does no good to be listed in all the wrong places. Have you heard the story of the man who put his ladder against a tall building and climbed the ladder to the top only to realize that he put his ladder against the wrong building.
16. They are Rich in Content.- What did they come to your site in the first place for? They were searching for information, did you provide what they wanted?
17. They include a section called "About Us." - Who are you and why should I do business with you?
18. They make it easy to navigate through their site. - Frustrated visitors who can't quickly find the information they need on your site will look elsewhere. Give them clear navigational clues and structure your Web site so that it's easy to use and understand. People like to be told where they are going. Use link names that provide users with a preview of where each link will take them, before they have clicked on it.
19. They have a Product Guarantee. - People are concerned about buying online. They want some sort of guarantee. Show then that you back your product or service with a money back guarantee.
20. They Network with other sites in their industry. - On the Internet strategic partnerships are the best way to promote your site. Contact other companies that are similar to yours and offer them an incentive to cross promote your site.
21. They have a clear Marketing plan. - Have you ever heard the old maxim, "A problem well defined is a problem half solved?" You need to have a goal to help you know where you’re going and where you’ve been. If you don’t have a worthy goal, then your goal should be to identify what your objective on the Internet is.
22. The present good written copy. Poor spelling and poor grammar can really hurt your credibility. Consider using a copywriter service if your writing skills are poor. You only one chance to make a good first impression.
How did you score?
20-22 - Almost a perfect score. - If you hit one of these numbers and you are well on your way to being a success on the Internet.
16-19 - You’re almost there. - Consider adding the attributes that you are missing to improve your position in your companies marketplace.
Under 15. - You may need to go back to Internet 101 and re-learn the basics. You need to take a serious look at your Internet Business Plan. Consider contacting someone in your industry who is successful and may be willing to help you with a better game plan.
I’m in agreement with Andy Gore, (the chairman of Intel Corporation) when he said, "I have been quoted saying, in the future, ALL companies will be Internet companies. I still believe that. More, than ever." In today’s e-economy taking the time to build a strong business model and position your site in your marketplace is the best strategy that you can employ.
About the teacher: