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10 Tips For A Successful Website

Secrets of the most popular websites on the web!

What are the secrets behind the most successful websites on the net? Why do some websites succeed while most fail? Today, many internet based business owners are asking themselves these questions. The answers are often more obvious than one might think.

Here are 10 tips used by most successful websites:

  1. Build a fast website! People are in a hurry, and nowhere is it more true than on the internet. It seems that no matter how quickly the technology improves, nothing is ever quite fast enough. In fact, studies show that the faster technology advances, the faster people expect things to be.

    So what does this mean for a successful website design? It simply means that you have only 30 seconds or less to capture your visitor's attention! If they can't at least begin to read about your offerings in that amount of time, they go elsewhere.

    To minimize your website's load time, keep graphics to a minimum and optimize them whenever possible. Use flashy technologies such as JavaScript, Streaming Audio/Video, and Flash animation sparingly and only when it's absolutely essential to your website's presentation. 
  2. Target Your website's market. Know who your potential visitors (customers) are and be sure that your website caters to their needs. It is crucial that your website reflect the values of its potential visitors.

    Does your market consist mostly of business professionals? If it does, your website must be clean and look professional.

    Are your products aimed primarily at young adults and teenagers? Then your website should be a bit more informal and relaxed.

    The key is knowing your market and building your website to match their preferences. 
  3. Focus your website. Make sure your website is focused on one goal: selling your products or services. A website offering several unrelated products isn't necessarily unfocused, but is usually will be. If your website does indeed offer many different types of products, dedicate a separate, unique page for each product. Never try to sell them all from one web page.

    Up-selling and cross selling is vital to your website's success, but don't do it so much that the customer feels caught in a bait and switch routine. It's fine to mention your other products but do so very subtly. 
  4. Your credibility is crucial. You can have the most attractive, professionally designed website on the internet, but it won't sell if your customers don't believe in you. The anonymity of the internet naturally breeds a certain level of mistrust. In order for your website to be a success, you must build confidence and trust in your customers. 

    A clear privacy statement is a very effective way to establish credibility. Every commercial website must have a privacy statement posted on line. Place a link to your privacy statement on every page of your site and from any location where you're asking your visitors to provide personal information.

    Provide correct and current contact information on your website. Your contact information should include your email address and mailing address at a minimum, and a telephone and fax number when applicable. If you're unwilling to provide this information to your customers, why should they trust you with their hard-earned money? 
  5. Offer a rock-solid, ironclad, no questions asked money back guarantee on your website. A guarantee is really a credibility issue and it's important enough to warrant a page of its own.

    After all, what better way is there to instill trust in your customers than to eliminate any risk for them? If the customer sees that you're confident enough in your products and services to assume all of the risk yourself, they'll immediately be inclined to trust you. 
  6. Make it easy to order and pay. Offer your customers a variety of payment methods. If you don't already accept credit cards, start to do so right away. You can either set up your own merchant account or use one of the many credit card clearing houses.

    You should also accept electronic checks on your website. And don't forget to provide a mailing address for customers who prefer to pay by mail.

    Make sure the payment process is clear and easy to use. Eliminate as many steps as you can. Never ask for more information than is absolutely necessary to complete the transaction. Nothing makes a customer click the back button faster than feeling that you are invading their privacy. 
  7. Use a simple website navigation method. Make your site easy and intuitive to navigate. While it may look cool to make your index page all black and hide the navigation links, will that generate any business? Not very likely. If your customers can't navigate your site in order to find what they want to buy, they'll simply click away. Limit the available choices and direct your customer's attention to the sales process. 
  8. Make sure your website is consistent in look, feel, and design. Nothing is more disturbing to a website's visitors than feeling as if they have just clicked away to another website. Keep the navigation, colors, and themes consistent throughout the entire website. 
  9. Design your website for easy search engine indexing. 85% of all internet users find what they're looking for through the top search engines.

    Make sure that each page on your website is designed to maximize your search engine placement. Be sure to focus on your keywords and keyphrases without sacrificing your sales message. 

    Make effective use of meta tags for your pages' keywords, description and title. It helps tremendously to use your keywords when naming your web pages and in your linking structure.

    For step-by-step instructions to getting top search engine rankings, use our free Webmaster SEO Toolkit.
  10. Content is king. Good website content sells. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Does your content deliver the message that you wish to get across to your visitors?
    • Is your content compelling?
    • Does it lead your visitors by the hand through the sales process?

      Have others review and critique your website content to ensure that it is delivers the intended message. And always double-check your grammar and spelling. 
Paying attention to the ten steps above probably won't make your website as successful as Amazon or Ebay overnight. But if they're implemented correctly and integrated into your overall website design and marketing campaign, you'll see a massive improvement in the site's targeted traffic and sales. 

Tony L. Callahan is an internet promotions consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and the president of his own internet marketing company.

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