If your site opens with a HUGE flower, a lovely hill of daisies, a massive building; you'd better be offering flowers, hills of daisies or big buildings because it's this impression; the Store Window, on which people ponder entry.
Any retail store will confirm the front window display is what sets the tone for the rest of the clients visit; it tells customers before they even see the rest of the store - what’s on sale, what’s new and why you should go in.
Now, before we move on, take a short moment to check out your website visitor stats. At Coolcom, those are right in your cPanel.
Is your home page getting 99.0% of all traffic and not much going onward to other pages of your website after that? If so, it’s time to rethink your presentation; your display window.
The most common reason for loss of good traffic at the home page, is that the “store window” isn’t telling anyone what’s new, what’s on sale or what’s going on in that site. People have little patience when the next site is but a Google click away.
The main offender? Template slotting.
There is an all too common use of giant huge massive pictures that have little to tell the visitor, followed by three smaller pictures below it, squares that get filled in because they’re in the template.
Templates can be a fabulous head start but also pose the danger of setting you up for some classic ways to give up traffic that came for a reason; often thanks to hard earned marketing dollars too.
Top Three unwanted results of slotting your message?
- The visitor grows tired of waiting to load the page (templates are artistic but often not optimized)
- The visitor doesn’t see what they came for (it's pretty but detached from the visitors expectation)
- The visitor has to scroll endlessly, often to find nothing they came for (too many metaphor or unrelated graphics)
This is a tough one to avoid because most Online Site Builders are chalk full of this exact kind of template. But this is also a super vital point to dig at with your site, it will make the difference between traffic and no traffic. This is no time to be in a hurry.
Sure a few will find it a good opener; an actress will want her face seen larger than life, a director will want their latest film teaser filling the space. But a lawn care centre, a realtor, a cosmetics shop and a shoe store; these are far better off telling the landed visitor what’s new, what rocks and what’s on sale… well before making them scroll down never-ending visuals that often even have little to do with the site.
Bend the template to your needs – don’t let the template bend YOU to fit into it’s slots.
How can you avoid that even if html is not your forté? Easy.
Most Content Management tools, be they Weebly and Site Pad OR WordPress and Joomla, offer all kinds of templates. Think carefully about the one you choose, think about your customer and what you want to happen when they come to your site.
Pick one that lets you easily speak to THAT and speak to it quickly.
Remove elements that get in the way of this message; never fill in elements because they are there. If you can’t get that message out then move to another template.. don’t bend to it because you are tired of trying. This is your business, be diligent.
Header slides are hugely popular and can be VERY helpful. But there are rules to follow here too.
- Make sure it takes up less than half the top real-estate of your home page, if you can’t adjust that, pick a different template.
- That header should tell the visitor something important. A sale, The menu, New products, New policies. Just looking good is not enough in todays competitive online business market.
Your home page is your shot. Don’t miss the opportunity to say who you are and what you offer in trade for a lovely picture or clever metaphor.
The Pied Piper was famous for his ability to lead children, en masse, by giving them something notable to follow.
If the Pied Piper was around today he'd be "that guy" - the Social Media wiz sought after by every retail and service based corporation eager to harness the power of Social Media platforms.
The Pied Piper knew something we all want to know.
Facebook is said (and for good reason) to be the online answer to word of mouth, but without cause to listen most words fall on deaf ears. This skill of leading through enticement, assembling via offer; it has been all but lost on Social Media and yet it’s the fundamental aspect to achieving any kind of measurable success.
Do you recognize these phrases?
“Follow us on Facebook”
“Follow us on Twitter”
“Like us on Facebook”
You see these messages 20 or more times per day. Every webpage and most signs or billboards now have this message, or the icon provide by Facebook and Twitter.
But do you ever do anything about it?
When the Pew Research Center recently surveyed thousands of Americans about their social media lives, they discovered that 44% of Facebook users “like” content posted by their friends, not pages by commercial entities looking for a nod.
As a result of so many of us are just not following Canadian Tire, Butler Buildings, Staples Office Supply, Royal Bank and Fabulous Flooring Warehouse. Why would we; why should we?
Few ads ever give us a reason to click that LIKE or FOLLOW button, and according to the research that’s just a no brainer in making commercial headway on a social platform.
“Follow us on Facebook for a chance to win weekly prizes”
“Follow us on Twitter for daily coupons and discounts”
“Like us on Facebook for daily tips on DIY Home Renovations”
Eureka! These add a purpose to the action; reasons for doing the deed. The more a visitor stands to gain from a click.. the better chances are they click.
This is the very first step, the city key, the holy grail to success when adding Social Media to your site. Having the button there means very little when there is no clear reason to click it.
What could your reason possibly be?
Photographers: Like us to join in on our next nature photo competition
Hardware Supply: Like us for daily tips on using your drills, saws and other equipment
Art Supplies: Follow us for design tips from our resident Paint, Sketch and Clay media experts
Taxi Company: Like our Page for a coupon on your next Cab Card order
There is absolutely NO business that can’t offer a good reason for potential clients to click that like or follow button, allowing you to stay top of mind by consumers choice.
Once you have a following, even your first 20 people, the next step is to remain good on your word. Be there, be informative, offer deals, trades, discounts, tricks and tips.. STAY in touch with those who said they wanted you to. It’s the kind of marketing money really can’t buy.
A client asked me to research some hotel reservation software for his motel site. It’s a nicely run and attractive motel with good business. His current provider was… to be polite… moving in the wrong direction regarding their business relationship.
So, I started out where I normally go… with a few Google searches.
Now sometimes I’ll use the word “review” in my search and other times just the product itself. It’s the returns I’m getting lately however that have me wasting a lot more time than I should have to. The heavy offenders… TOP 10 sites. They pose as a wonderful aggregation of comparative analysis promising to save me tons of time by getting to the nitty gritty of who does what “the best.”
What soon becomes evident is a far more bitter reality. Just about all are little more than affiliate link lists whoring themselves out to the top bidders. Canned reviews… little if any research… and childish superlatives (the best, the largest, the cheapest) that hold zero value.
Top 10 Best Web Hosts, Top 10 Best Domain Registrars… and in my latest research… 2017’s Reviews of the Most Popular Reservations Software.
This list showed about 300 offerings… seriously… 300. God forbid they should miss a commission opportunity… and of course every single link was coded to make certain they didn’t.
Now in due fairness, yes you could choose or eliminate the features you needed or didn’t require… but with a star rating system of questionable value and little in the way of even taking a stand or making a recommendation… how was I to save any time using this site?
Being in the hosting and domain business, I’ve often looked at some of the “Best” or “Top 10” sites for that category that are positioned in Google’s “top o’ page” paid positions just to see what they have to offer. Honestly dear reader… I’ve yet to find some riveting under the covers information that might actually provide you with a clue on what to look for. Rather, you’ll discover marvellously disguised shill lists all pushing more worthless comparisons, with the fav affiliate link somehow miraculously appearing at the top of the list.
These guys are “green”… these guys are “fastest”…. and these guys are just oh so wonderful to talk with.
So, you’re asking me them… OK, Kenn…. how DO we use the search engines to find some answers.
Well my partner JoCool came up with a brilliant suggestion… and it’s right there in front of us. Well, actually, it’s on the next page.
You see, the entire search industry is focused right now on one thing… the first page of search engine results. The highest ad fees are paid to get on the first page… and every possible trick in the book is used to get even “organic” (non-paid) listings on the first page. SEO experts loudly trumpet the viewing “stats” of how many more hits you’ll get if you appear on the first page. It’s such a prevalent practice, that of course the heavy hitters with the most to gain go to the greatest lengths to get their shill links on Page One.
And with that in mind… comes a suggestion. Try Page two, three and even four.
OK, I haven’t researched this fully yet… but give it a try. Get past the paid ads and wordy superlatives of page one… and start looking for some real substance on page two and deeper.
Remember the old AVIS ad campaign? AVIS was number two in the rental car industry… so their marketing company came up with “When you’re number 2, you try harder.”
So just maybe you’ll find some answers on Page two and three of your searches… companies and people who try harder, are a little more sincere and really want to earn your business.
The news is out; Google is pushing for an SSL rich internet and, like it or not, consumers wishing to stay on top of their game will be needing to activate it in short order. As long as Google is the Search Engine of choice, what ranks one site over another will remain of very high importance, and was made abundantly clear the push is toward SSL only.
COOLCOM has taken the bold step of passing SSL along as an inclusion in all Website Hosting packages. That's right, it's free for any hosted account here at COOLCOM. That includes all domains in your hosted plan too, not just the main domain (compare that with the rest)!
So what about having paid for SSL in the past? It's important to keep in mind there has always been a cost to COOLCOM for supplying accounts with SSL. Recently that cost reached a price point where we believe the security of your site(s) is best off passed along and included rather than selling it as an option.