The Traditional Web Site & What's Wrong With It

by Dave Curtis on 02/11/2009 · 1 comment

in Small Business SEO


The traditional web site is something pretty – designed with pleasant looking graphics and several categories of pages (About Us, Contact, Products etc.). The categories are on so many sites that they have become universally accepted as what a site should be.

Simply having pages, a menu bar and graphics are not going to make things work for you. Authors Peter Kent (Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing for Dummies) and David Meerman Scott (The New Rules of Marketing and PR) each point out that a website needs to be designed like a piece of software because when a visitor comes to your site you want them to fill out a form, pick up the phone and call, fill out an estimate form etc., and have visitors act just the way they would with a piece of software in order to accomplish a specific and desired task defined by you.

If you don’t have the focus of getting your visitors perform some task and funneling them towards an action such as buying then your site is not going to work.

The way to get a site built so that it does what is expected (sell items, get phone calls, sign up for newsletters, etc.) is by using web analytics and continually testing to see what gets the highest percentage of desired responses. It also means designing multiple versions of enewsletters to be sent out to a minimum of 30 to 50 recipients in your list at a time to test each versions’ subject line, body content, offer and benefits (by checking to see what percentage have landed on each landing page, and what percentage of those who have landed have performed desired tasks).

Plain vanilla Search Engine Optimization will get your site found, but if the site is not built with a call to action and funneling them to click where necessary, then the site is not going to work, and the software is broken.

Pages have to be written clearly and concisely without clutter. A good guide book on this topic is Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think” a common sense approach to web usability. KISS is the rule – clutter equals confusion equals low click through rates.

Next comes testing. Test the site using small (paid) groups of participants. After creating a site, call in several people to sit down and look at the site without telling them what the site is supposed to be about or what you want them to do. See if they understand right away what your site is about. Then tell them to go ahead and “use” the site. See whether they are confused or not, and whether they click on the buttons you expect them to click. If they make a mistake and immediately go back, that’s ok, but if they get lost and have no idea where they are or what they are expected to be doing, then you know you have a real problem that has got to be worked on.

Afterward, interview each of the participants and ask them about their impressions to gain further insights into what it was they were experiencing. Several people should be used in each test, and compensation should be about $15 per person.

Forget about the “Traditional Web Site”. When you go for optimization remember to also get the site tuned up for increasing sales by streamlining the design for purpose.

1 john February 12, 2009 at 6:33 am

Thank you for the nice piece of information! From this post anyone can understand the role of SEO in getting more traffic.

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