Does Your Web Site Need a Makeover?
Does your Web site generate the number of hits you had hoped for? Is it drawing the audience you are targeting? If not, it could be due for a "makeover."
According to Gautam Godhwani, cofounder of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AtWeb Inc., the average business site can benefit from an evaluation, or tune-up, about every three months or 3,000 hits, whichever comes first.
As head mechanic for AtWeb's design unit, Web Site Garage, Godhwani practices what he preaches. Web Site Garage regularly overhauls its own site with an eye toward increasing speed and offering new services.
Here are some ideas for improving the content, quality and accessibility of your site-and giving customers a reason to keep coming back.
Become an Information Resource
In addition to providing details on your company or product, consider positioning your site as a resource for information in one area of your industry. Customers return again and again to sites that add value through useful information, news or software. The key is to be sure your content is credible, high quality and regularly updated.
Offer Free Samples or Services
Offer freebies or special deals. Godhwani encourages repeat business by providing a variety of free services, such as a "tune-up" that scans sites for common design problems and makes fixes. Godhwani has found that many visitors who come in for the tune-up will decide to purchase other services.
Provide a Regularly Updated Feature
Provide a daily, weekly or monthly update, such as a tip of the day, weekly news clip or monthly newsletter. Adding new material lets your clients know that when they return to the site next week or next month, they will see something new.
Be a Linking Resource
By linking to other Web sites, you can add entertainment value as well as content to your site. Fred Adler, a San Francisco-based distributor of cosmetics and accessories, has attracted a flood of teenage visitors to his site, Firacosmetics.com, by linking it to other teen-oriented sites.
The strategy enables Fira to associate its cosmetics with movies, television and music reviews, online magazines and general news for kids. The links create a clubby sense of belonging that teenagers respond to.
Adding chat rooms, discussion forums, e-mail alerts about new products, or games or contests encourages active participation in your site. Fira's site, for example, recently introduced a chat room that enables kids to move from room to room and talk via avatars, icons that the kids create to represent themselves. The concept works well with teens and furthers Adler's goal of positioning the site as an entertainment hub. In addition to stimulating sales, going interactive provides you with immediate feedback.
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