Friday, August 28, 2009


Web Site Pages: Wasted Opportunities

Even the simplest web sites have a number of pages in common. Every web site has a home page, an About Us page, a products page, a Contact Us page and so on. Now, most of us expect to see a sales copy on a web site homepage and complete product descriptions on the products page. However, virtually every page of your web site can and should sell your products, your company, your trustworthiness and your great terms of service. Sound like a lot of hype?

It doesn’t have to be if you structure the text of each page to deliver the information visitors expect to find, along with a little sizzle –something that sells visitors on you, your products or services.

The Home Page

The home page has to be a grabber. No news, there. Otherwise, you can anticipate more bounces than you should. A bounce is simply a visitor who accesses your site but never gets past the home page. They bounce off in another direction. Why? Because the home page is boring, confusing, unattractive or maybe just “been there done that.” Visitors expect some sales copy on the homepage. In fact they expect a lot of it. It’s your first opportunity to present your wares. It’s also your first opportunity to get a bounce, i.e. lose a potential buyer.

That’s why home page text must be tight, specific and totally engaging. In many cases, this text should identify a problem the visitor is experiencing and list the solutions that your products or services deliver. People want answers. They want solutions. List those answers and solutions on the homepage above the fold and you’ll quickly see your site’s bounce rate shrink.

If you’re selling a product, be sure to include a clear, sharp image of at least one of your best selling products in use if possible. Pictures attract attention so use them on the home page. But what about the other pages of your site? How do you use them to sell?

The Products Page

Of course people expect to see sales copy on the products page. This is where the bulk of your sales copy will appear. For each product or service you sell, be sure to provide sales text clearly identified and associated with a picture of that product.

In each case make sure you describe the user benefits of the product or service to the site visitor. People want more than a list of features. They want solutions. They want to know what’s in it for them. How will this product or service make their lives easier or better? How will it solve a specific problem?

Be sure to include a complete description of the product, including technical specifications, sizes, and anything else the buyer might need to know in order to make a purchase. This text description does a couple of things. First, it makes the sale so be sure to highlight all of the product’s benefits. Second, a complete product description will cut down on customer returns and customer care telephone calls because buyers will know what to expect when they place an order.

Don’t be afraid to put a little sizzle in each picture’s copy. After all, you’re selling something! However, remember that search engine spiders can’t read text that appears within an image, so be sure you don’t include critical information within the product picture itself.

The About Us Page

If you do a little web surfing, you’ll quickly discover that the About Us page on many web sites is simply a lost opportunity. You might get the company’s philosophy or mission statement, a brief history of the company, and maybe contact information. Important message coming up: if the visitor takes the time to click on the About Us tab, use that action to sell the company to the visitor who is already genuinely interested.

“ At the XYZ company, we put our clients first. We know that without exceptional service, clients won’t come back. In fact, most of our clients have been with us for years because they recognize the quality of service we provide. Many customers have become friends, and we hope you’ll become part of the XYZ family.”

Now that’s an About Us page. In a short body of text, you’ve highlighted the importance of client satisfaction, the quality of the services you deliver and the friendliness of your company. Who cares when the company was founded, or who founded it? Who cares what the company’s stated mission is? The IRS might be interested, but visitors are there to make a purchase, not conduct a tax audit. So don’t miss the opportunity to sell yourself, your business and your terms of service on the About Us page.

The Contact Us Page

This is one of the most crucial pages of any web site, though few site owners recognize its true value. It’s the place where your customers can interact with you, hopefully in a positive way. Once again, if a site visitor has taken the initiative to click on the Contact Us link, you have another opportunity to sell.

“ We want to hear from you – good, bad or indifferent. We want you to tell us how we can improve our services to you. If you’ve encountered a problem with one of our products, or with our website, don’t tell others –tell us!

Are there new products you’d like to see available on our web site? Is there a way we can make your on-site experience a better one? Drop us a line. We read every e-mail and respond to every one of our friends who has taken the time to contact us.”

Interactivity Sells

The web has become much more interactive and site visitors expect to have the option to interact with your site. Don’t believe it? Visit to see how the professionals have created a fully-interactive web site. Buyers are encouraged to write product reviews for posting on-line. In fact, some Amazon reviewers have developed their own followings. With a click of the mouse, visitors can see all reviews written by an Amazon customer.

Another way to add interactivity to your site is to welcome visitors by name and to recommend products based on the visitor’s past buying history. Now that’s interactive!

Maximize What You’ve Got

You’re paying a web host to maintain your presence on the World Wide Web. It’s simply part of the cost of doing business on-line. It’s also one of the best reasons to take advantage of every page on your web site to do a little selling. It doesn’t have to scream at the visitor. It doesn’t have to be hype –just a friendly one-to-one with the visitor.

Subtlety counts. There’s enough overstatement on the web as it is so play it straight with site visitors. But don’t miss a single opportunity to sell.

We all know the importance of the home page and landing pages within a site. Visitors are used to sales copy on these pages. However, way too many site owners fail to recognize the sales value of the “back” pages of their sites.

Use the About Us page, the Contact Us page, the Terms of Service page, the Checkout and every other zone within your site to monetize every pixel you’re paying for.

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