How To Design A Web Page That Sells: Part 2
By Charles Lewis
Your visitors should not need a GPS tracking system to find what they seek on your site. Nor should they have to wade through a sea of flashing banners, misleading pop-up windows, or advertisements for unrelated items.
To sell a product online, you need to put yourself in your visitor's shoes. In essence, you must know what they are thinking. And, if you are knowledgeable about what you sell, this should not be a difficult task.
Since you have probably read chapter three of my marketing course, "Copywriting For Curlies, Moes, and CEOs", you know how to grab a person's attention like none other -- and keep it until the very end. If you haven't checked it out yet, go to:
once you have finished reading this article.
Now, in my opinion, there are only four types of commercial web pages: the one-page sales letter, the Internet shopping mall, the affiliate-only web page, and (you'll notice, I always save the best for last), an information-rich site with a focus on one or more products.
In the next five minutes, you'll be learning how to design a navigational structure for each one of the above-mentioned layouts except the affiliate-only site, which I will cover as part of the information rich page.
Let's start with the one-page sales letter.
## THE INTERNET EQUIVALENT OF GAMBLING
If you have a one-page sales letter as a web site, you are gambling with your precious advertising dollars. Your visitor will come as the result of an ad you placed, or a search engine ranking you achieved. Their purchase decision will depend solely on the strength of your sales letter.
NOTE: For copywriting tips and news, check out these sites:
With regards to the navigational structure of a one-page sales letter, I have only one piece of advice. That is, if you want to get listed in the search engines, separate your site into a minimum of six sections. Most search engines will not index your site unless there are at least six separate pages.
Three of these six pages should include the index page (sales letter), contact information (as much as possible), and an "About Us" page. These seemingly non-important elements of your site will help your visitor feel safer buying from you.
How you piece together the rest is entirely up to you.
## THE INTERNET SHOPPING MALL
When you host an Internet shopping mall, and have so many products that you must separate them into categories and sub-categories -- good navigational structure is essential. Your goal is to lead your visitor to the product with as few clicks as possible, and this will never happen without an easy-to-navigate web site.
On your index page, you should group your products into broad, general categories. If you sell televisions, you could start off with sections titled "HDTVs", "Projection TVs", "Flat Screen TVs", "Regular Old TVs", etc, etc. And, as you lead your visitor further into the site, break them down into sub-categories. For example, "Regular Old TVs" could be broken down by name of manufacturer, screen size, and price.
Now, at the point of sale (POS), you must BLAST your visitor with an unbeatable guarantee, and, if possible, a load of free bonuses as well. Make your visitor feel safe shopping with you. Let him or her know that if they need to return an item, it will be a pain-free process. Heck, offer a "Double Your Money Back" guarantee if you can.
Another method you can use to increase your sales is to catalog unalike but nonetheless related products in the same category. For instance, you could suggest to your visitor that he or she buy some plant food with the purchase of a fern. Or, you could sell a set of headphones with the purchase of a CD or a Walkman.
And finally, be sure to have a picture of each item. There are many people that will not buy a product if they cannot see what it looks like in a shopping mall type setting.
## HOW TO BOOST YOUR SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS, AND ## DRIVE HORDES OF REPEAT TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE
An information-rich web site is the best way for you to go when selling online with a limited budget. Not only will it greatly increase the likelihood of achieving a high search engine ranking - it will attract and KEEP your visitors. A repeat visitor is not often seen in the traffic logs of a one-page sales letter. And, although an Internet shopping mall may receive a medium-sized amount of repeat traffic, it does not even vaguely compare to the amount you will see when you host an information-rich web site.
Take for example, http://www.WebProZone.com/. This is my web site. The WebProZone is stuffed to the brim with useful information, free tools you can use to promote your site, and other valuable resources. The products that I focus on are my newsletter, "The Creative Marketer", and my web design services.
Every new article that I write is posted on the main page, and all the past issues of "The Creative Marketer" are posted in the newsletter archive section at http://www.WebProZone.com/archive.html. Every article that I write is modified for maximum search engine effectiveness before being posted on the site. And, you will also notice that when you click on the articles, they pop up as a text-only window. This increases my success with the search engines by not forcing the robots to read through a bunch of code before getting to the content (and boy do search engines LOVE content).
The visitors come back because of two main reasons. Motive number one, is because the content changes on a weekly basis. Number two, is because the tools I offer on my web site can and should be used over and over again.
If you focus your content around one or more products, the information-rich web site will sell more effectively than any other. Here are a few more examples of this type of web site:
Now, onto our next topic: the affiliate-only web site.
I notice that a lot of people online today are not selling their own products. They go out, join a bunch of affiliate programs for products they oftentimes haven't even thoroughly tested, and set up a one-page site to sell them all.
This just makes me want to cry.
You will have a more difficult time driving traffic to this type of site than you would trying to bathe three cats at the same time. First of all, you won't be able to target your advertising as well as you could with a one-page sales letter, or an information-rich web site. Secondly, the traffic you *do* receive will be made up of solely one-time visitors.
Now don't go flipping out on me if this is the type of site you have. There is a solution to your teeny tiny profit margins, and it lies in providing a source of useful information for your visitors.
In this example, you'll be looking at the web site, http://www.AddTo.com/. Jimsun Lui, webmaster of AddTo.com, has put together an amazing source of information. You'll find articles that are constantly being updated, product reviews, and the famous "E-Commerce Directory", where he has broken down all the affiliate programs he is a part of into highly-specific sections. It's truly an amazing setup he has there, and if you are planning on running an affiliate-only site, I highly suggest that you learn all you can from AddTo.com.
All in all, no matter what type of web site you have, you should make the navigation as simple as possible. I say, if an eight year old can't navigate your site, you need to make it simpler. Always provide a link that will lead the visitor back to your home page, and always... ALWAYS be consistent in the way that you lay out the navigational menu bar.
Charles Lewis is editor of "The Cre@tive Marketer", a weekly newsletter dedicated to delivering proven online marketing techniques. You can sign up and receive a free copy of his $39 Internet marketing strategy guide by clicking on the following URL: http://www.webprozone.com/creative.html