The Secret to a Successful Web Site
It should have such incredible perceived value that your visitors want to bookmark it
By Denny Hatch
When I travel, I like to bring my laptop so I can check e-mail and read English-language newspapers online. To do that, of course, I need the right phone jack for the country I'm visiting.
Recently I went to Spain. Before I left, I visited the Web site for the Magellan's catalog, clicked on "Info Center," scrolled down the country guides list to Spain and found that Spanish telephones are accessible with the RJ-11 adapter used in the United States. Terrific! No order needed from Magellan's for that trip.
Later, I checked the site again before I made trips to the U.K. and Switzerland. This time, I found that each country required distinctive telephone adapters. So I ordered the items from Magellan's. Time spent on this search and ordering process? Maybe seven minutes.
What triggered this column was receipt of the TravelSmith catalog. I played "What if?" If I were going to Spain, would TravelSmith help me like Magellan's did? I went to the TravelSmith site and clicked on "Free Travel Resources." I was linked to State Department Travel Information where I found a ton of data about Spain, its history, people, economy, U.S. embassy personnel directory and more.
I didn't find any phone adapter or electrical connections information, but plenty else, including downloadable passport renewal forms (which I needed, and were not available on Magellan's site).
Conclusion of this exercise:
I bookmarked both TravelSmith and Magellan's. Before embarking on any foreign trip, I plan to log onto both for information, ideas and — very likely — stuff to buy.
And that's the secret to devising a successful Web site: It should have such incredible perceived value that your visitors want to bookmark it. People will feel good about your company if you give them something of value.
A Web site enables you as a cataloger to include all kinds of material you couldn't incorporate into your print book for various reasons, including items too low in inventory to include in the print version, sale items and
information with nothing to sell against it. (Magellan's 3,915-word treatise on Spain in print undoubtedly would equal a zero ROI for the company).
With the Magellan's and Travel-Smith business models in my mind, I surfed the Web in search of sites for other catalogers. Following is what I found.
Good Ideas & Execution