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OK, so you’ve got the business model, a potential market, back office infrastructure and an empty webspace. In addition, a heap of relevant content, you’ve got access to people who’ve mastered the “science of SEO” (its dynamics; the principles of domain, site and page structure; understand the relationships between the directories and SE’s that count; appreciate the correlation between target market and user demographics; have figured out where to pay and where “short arms-long pockets” work better) and above all know that the 80/20 rule has to be applied to converting traffic into qualified visitors into paying clients.
So what are the few things about content that really count? A small handful of distinct variables that once mastered will make the big difference?
Semantics and the words we use: What people use to find information. Related of course to relevant keywords, but also the way that SE’s/editors interpret code/language with titles and descriptions. Leading off into pure SEO...
First impressions: Speed. Graphic/text impact vs. graphic/textual intrusions/noise. Graphic impact where an image could mean a thousand words on the one hand and use of headers and paragraphs. Does the melon jump out at you...
Usability: The way that people “scan” the page (nobody “reads” a webpage), it’s speed (tables/graphic containers), it’s immediate relevance, the invitation to go beyond the first page. Where and how you place the navigation graphics/text – the simplicity of finding more...
The message: What is the message on the page? Does it satisfy the initial need? Does it lead the visitor to the “money page”? Does it tickle his/her curiosity to make contact? Is a sense of trust/authority established?
The real quest is the “money page": What are the few things that really count?
I think your guesses are pretty good and all combine to give strength to the site and thereby, its success.
By "money page" do you mean the price of your product/service?
If you do, I'd be reluctant to show specifics, unless it is a "stock item."
If by "money page" you mean the page that pulls the business, well, that would really depend upon your audience. You'd need to be sure they were "ready-to-buy" into the product/service. Lead them through the process to make it so compelling that they have to either explore further, to know more, or better still, to be conviced your organisaton is the one for them.
The incentive to "stop-me-and-buy-one" must be high enough to make it the "money page." For me, the "money page" varies depending upon the surfer's needs, although, the enquiry form/page has to be the page that is easiest to find. All pages point to this page to pull in the enquiry.
Once you've got the enquiry, then it's up to you to convert.