Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't make prospects work too hard to find your best stuff

Web site review: Will they keep clicking? Dense copy, teeny fonts, may curtail visit

(In every issue of the Internet Marketing Report print edition, we review a Web site. This is from our April 11 issue.)

Nearly all business to business Web sites like Eng-Software.com target prospects in the 25 to 60 years age group. That’s the age range of most business buyers, yet many make the same mistakes as this site.

While this site has lots of great material, reading it is difficult. That’s because it was designed for young people with sharp eyes and the ability to navigate a page in a flash.

New research finds that between 25 and 60 years of age, the time taken to complete a task on a Web site increases by 0.8% a year.That means testing sites out on the average business prospect becomes even more important, says Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen.

How could Eng-Software.com improve its site?

It could:

• Increase the size of the font: This site’s font is too small at 8 points. Most experts say 10 to 12 points will help prospects read more.
• Get to the point: The home page buries good material about how it solves buyers’ problems. Tip: Cut the first paragraph. It’s usually throat-clearing.
• Beef up the call to action: Avoid making prospects think too much about what they should do on each page. The only clear calls to action on the home page are the company’s e-newsletter and the How to Buy links, but neither stand out. This site gives buyers the ability to create their own profile, but it doesn’t do enough to highlight this feature.


Don't trust buyers to spell your name

This site’s home page is technically strong in many areas. Eng-Software.com has done all the right things to make its trademark Pipe Flo appear on the top of search engine results. It’s taken advantage of the page’s META keyword and description tags and title. Search for Pipe Flo on Google or Yahoo! and the company ranks extremely well.

Misspellings lose prospects. But what happens when a prospect doesn’t know the brand name is spelled differently and searches for pipe flow (adding the ‘w’) or pipe flos? The results are miserable.

Other companies, like PipeFlow.Co.uk, appear high in the results and there’s no sign of Eng-Software.com’s trademarked product.

That’s why it pays to optimize for common misspellings using free online tools like SEO book's tool. Eng-Software could also do more to make keywords for other products stand out by crafting unique page titles that would elevate its results in other product pages.


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