Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Web site review shows how a nice clean page pays off

In every issue of the Internet Marketing Report, our print publication, we review a Web site. Here's an abridged version of the latest.

A single-minded focus on driving prospects to request a quote is what makes BusinessInsuranceNow stand out from the crowd.

This site doesn’t waste time or space on different and confusing calls to action.

There’s no mistaking what it wants prospects to do, request a quote! Go on, just do it now, here, right here, now, today, immediately, it seems to whisper.

It drives prospects with:

  • A clear call to action, “Start here. Get a Free Quote.” The page is designed so your eyes come to rest on the copy above the fold, just where the request for quote (RFP) box starts.
  • An easy way to start. Sites often ask prospects to get married before they’ve even started dating. This site starts with a low-key request: “Enter your zip code to get started.” Nothing confidential or threatening about that. This small step segments prospects and gets them started before asking for confidential business info that could make them hesitate.
  • A resume button. It’s not unusual for a prospect to abandon a quote request midway through. They may have had cold feet, got distracted or needed more info. This site places a “resume” button in a prominent spot when a prospect returns to the page.
  • Trust-building logos. This site adds security seals or the logo of a well-known partner in places where prospects are likely to get cold feet, like the jump from one page of the RFP to the next page.

I have to tell you, we found it hard to find much wrong with this site.

But we were a bit surprised to see that it was risking prospects because of a minor problem with a relatively easy fix.

The trouble?

It doesn’t use any kind of error message to tell prospects they’ve hit a dud link.

For example, type in a page that doesn’t exist on the site like, Businessinsurancenow.com/fakepage.

Instead of showing a message saying the page doesn’t exist, the site dumps the prospect on the page with the site map.

The site map is a useful tool. But it should be accompanied by an explanation telling the prospect that the page they wanted wasn’t found. Without these messages, search engines may index bad links.

That means prospects risk landing on a bad page on your site, and won’t even know what went wrong.

It’s also a pity such a well-designed site doesn’t include an internal search engine as well.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power on September 10, 2008.


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