You need your Web site to attract prospects, generate leads and promote your brand. That means you must constantly tune your Web site to make sure it’s hitting all the right notes with customers and prospects. Here’s a quick checklist of five things you should have on your Web site, and five to avoid.

What to Include on your Web Site

  1. Detailed Product Information — Your customers and prospects want to see an up-to-date and comprehensive product catalog that is well organized, filled with product details and technical specifications, and allows for product comparisons. The vast majority of your audience comes to your Web site to discover if and how your products can meet their needs. Make it easy for them to find the answers to their questions by providing detailed product information.
  2. Offers and Landing Pages — Your Web site visitors crave information that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Therefore, your job is to offer white papers, technical articles, application notes, and other valuable content. Sprinkle offers on relevant pages throughout your Web site and send prospects to specific landing pages that describe the offer in more detail and capture prospect information so you can create a lead for your sales team.
  3. Basic Search Engine Optimization — Almost every site can benefit from basic SEO techniques to help drive more qualified traffic from search engines for specific keyword searches. Make use of page titles, description meta tags, keywords in page copy, site maps and simple HTML pages to make your Web pages more search engine friendly. For more advice on SEO, download the white paper: “Search Engine Optimization for the Industrial Marketer.”
  4. Consistent Page Design — Keep your visitors on track and avoid confusion by adhering to a consistent page design. Navigation menus should appear in the same place on every page, usually across the top or down the side, or both if your site has multiple levels of hierarchy. A popular and user-friendly design is to use a wider column for the main content and a narrower column for secondary or related content. Make sure your headings, font size and typeface are consistent too.
  5. Contact Features — Because one of the primary goals of your Web site is to capture lead information, you must make it easy for prospects to contact you. A good idea is to have a phone number and e-mail address on every page, plus a link in the navigation menu to a Contact Us page. Landing pages should include forms as well as phone numbers and e-mail addresses to give users multiple options for contacting you.

What to Avoid on your Web Site

  1. Flash Intro Pages — Most companies have realized that a Flash intro page is at odds with the goals of your Web site: attracting prospects, generating leads and promoting your brand. Visitors find them annoying – even if you have a “skip intro” button – and you risk having them abandon your site. Search engines ignore them, so intro pages don’t help your SEO efforts. When visitors land on your home page, they want to find a clear path to useful content. Give it to them straight.
  2. JavaScript Navigation — Search engines have trouble following navigation programmed in JavaScript. It’s better to have straight HTML navigation links. If you do have JavaScript navigation and can’t devote the time and resources to rebuilding it, repeat your navigation as HTML links in the footer or on the side so search engines can find and index your pages more easily.
  3. Lengthy Registration Forms — It’s important to have forms on your landing pages to capture prospect contact information, but long forms with many required fields will lead to high drop off rates and fewer leads. Ask only for the minimal amount of information on a form that will enable you to contact a prospect again and begin a sales dialog. Often it’s enough to capture name, company, e-mail and phone number. You can add to the prospect’s record as you begin to communicate back and forth.
  4. Out of Date Content — Companies that include old content or have not freshened up their content can damage their reputation and raise doubts among their customers and prospects. Make sure product pages are current. If you post press releases, be sure to have some up-to-date news. Your most recent e-newsletter shouldn’t be a year old. You need to keep producing content and news to give the impression that your company is vibrant and growing and to help with your search engine rankings.
  5. Bad Writing — Confusing, dense and error-prone writing can completely turn off customers and prospects. As a company that provides technical information and products, you must convey technical detail, but that doesn’t mean the writing has to be filled with incomprehensible jargon. The style of writing on your Web site should be straightforward and conversational. If possible, use professional writers or editors to write or review copy to make sure it flows well, is understandable, and is free of grammar and usage mistakes.

6 comments

  1. Is someone from our company moonlighting with you guys? This is exactly the sort of thing we tell our clients. Your list is a great resource for any company looking to improve its website.

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  2. I found two lessons in the paper, the message and the presentation. It was succint, well laid out, easy to read, and short enough to entice the reader.
    It was an excellent example of the message.

    Like

  3. Thanks for confirming much of what I tell my clients about Flash intro pages, fresh content, and the need for good writing. It’s also important for clients to realize it’s about what the site visitor wants to see, not what the client wants to put up on the site.

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  4. Another great post by the Maven! Side note: You can put a NoFollow metatag on sections of your page that DON’T contribute to your keywords (such as Contact Pages) to make your page seem more directed in Google-algebra. You can actually boost your score by telling Google where it can and can’t look.

    Like

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