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This post is part of a series of posts based on the fine lecture given by Dr. Roni Horowitz of www.internet-marketing.co.il at the Israeli CEO forum on May 31, 2007 in Herzlia, Israel.
I’ve talked about conversion rates in the previous installment and how it is vitally important to realize that getting people to visit your site is only part of the issue. Getting them to do something when on your site, whether it involves purchasing your shiny product, opting in for a newsletter or adding your RSS feed to their news aggregator, that is the real thing you need to be worried about. Having a clear unambiguous site is a first step in that direction.
Mistake 2 – So what do we have here?
When a potential customer comes to your site, the first thing she tries to understand is what it is you are trying to sell her. Even if she came to your site because her best friend recommended it to her as the ultimate place for blueberry pie recipes, she will be usually very confused unless it says somewhere in a prominent position on your site that you specialize in blueberry pie recipes.
As a case in point, take a look at www.plimus.com. If you haven’t heard of the company before, you will be hard pressed to understand what is it that they do. The “Simply Better E-Commerce” tag line seems to indicate what business they are in, but the rest of the site doesn’t give you any more clues. The first paragraph of text on the site is also quite opaque:
A risk-free, flexible turnkey solution with the power to increase revenue and create new markets for your software.
Yeah, okay, that wasn’t written for me, because that isn’t even English as far as I’m concerned.
Plimus is actually a successful payment processing company. They provide the means for businesses to collect payments for services and products and have some unique offerings like the ability to adjust their purchase to the style and graphics of your site. But their site doesn’t say any of this and you wouldn’t stay there to find out even if you were actually looking for a payment processor for the amazing task list management software you’ve just finished polishing up.
So, you want your conversion rates to be higher? The first thing you need to do is clearly explain what you are and what you do, and do that without confusing the audience.
Another, more subtle example of missing the point is www.applicure.com. The site is rather nice looking, has a clean design and a nice stock photo, but what do they do? You have to read the entire first paragraph of small print to find out:
Protect websites and intranet applications against hacking and web application attacks. dotDefender is a software-based web application firewall providing dedicated application security.
Nothing in the slick graphics, the logo or the tag line gives you any hint. Free your IT for business. What is that supposed to mean? And the nice lady stretching over half the site’s real estate, what does she have to do with anything?
Applicure do tell you what they are about, but it’s still not obvious enough. They could do better.
I went trough quite a few of the sites that I frequent to find one that’s actually clear about its purpose. www.tadalist.com seems to be a prime example. The first thing you see is the “Make lists and get stuff done” tagline. That’s it. You know what the site is about. You know whether what they have is something you might need. And if you do, you’ll stick around to read the fine print and find out why 37signals thought there’s a place for yet another task management service on the web.
Whatever else you decide to put on your web site, don’t confuse your visitors. Make your purpose clear. That will, at the very least, guarantee that they stay around long enough to understand why you are much better than your competition and possibly be convinced to move some $$ from their pocket to yours.