12 Web Site Design Mistakes
In a session at last week's DM Days New York Conference & Expo, Craig Huey, president of the Creative Direct Marketing Group, outlined 12 costly mistakes to avoid when designing your e-commerce Web site. Here's a look at Huey's list:
1. Homepage suicide. Implement a “five-second rule” on your homepage, Huey said, meaning consumers must be able to find what they're looking for within five seconds of visiting your homepage.
“If they have to search to find it, you've lost the sale,” he said. Homepages should include right-hand sidebars, taglines/slogans, strong headlines, no navigation, offer/data collection and a powerful direct response sales presentation.
2. Navigation nightmares. “Don't give prospects a choice in navigation unless you can justify it,” Huey said.
3. Click, click — good-bye. Keep consumers moving swiftly through your site, Huey said, not making them stop to click along the way.
4. Dysfunctional copy. Huey provided nine essential online direct response copy rules, the most important direct marketing function:
* avoid myopic marketing — talk from the consumer's perspective, not the company's;
* publicize your unique selling proposition by including the following some place on the site: “Nowhere else will you find X that does Y for you”;
* have a theme with one clear promise;
* follow up that one big promise with secondary benefits;
* be conversational;
* be inclusive — the power of “you”;
* begin with your strongest selling point — “the law of the first paragraph”;
* specifics sell, generalities kill response; and
* sell benefits, not features: “You'll save X per year by using our product.”
Address marketing evils — recession, fear, rising costs, legal changes — within your copy, Huey said. And don't create a necessary barrier for copy length. “Say as much as necessary,” he said, disputing the notion that online copy must always be short. When finished, ask yourself the following seven questions regarding your direct response copy: