Archive for the 'Website' Category

Published by Patrick on 01 May 2008

3 Questions Your Website Must Answer in 5 Seconds

If you want your website to generate any sort of results, there are 3 questions a visitor must be able to answer within the first 5 seconds.  If they can’t, their interest will stall and they’ll probably leave your site.

1. Why am I here?

Visitors must have a clear idea of what you do as soon as they chance upon your site.  No delays.  No explanations necessary.  They need to take one look at your homepage and understand what you do.  In the case of blogs (where a visitor may first stumble upon your site on a page OTHER than the homepage), make sure your page header explains who you are and what you do.

This may seem like simple advice but you might be surprised how few companies have this initial step nailed down.  Not only are their sites unclear as to their purpose, but the executives within some of these companies can’t easily explain what they do either!  Major problem.  Successful businesses have many things in common but one of them is that they KNOW what they do and what they sell.  If you don’t have that figured out yet, stop everything and deal with that problem first.

2. Where do I look?

Your homepage is NOT a content page.  It’s a portal.  It’s only purpose is to explain what you do and direct visitors to something that will be of value to them.  Most homepages have 15 or 20 different options; links everywhere!  Don’t do it.  Your visitors won’t be able to navigate your site.  In fact, research has shown that internet browsers only look at simple 1 or 2-word buttons.  The longer explanations fail completely.  Check out this fascinating post on eye tracking to learn more about that.

Your homepage should have only a small handful of options.  The visitor should be given a basic choice right away, allowing them to navigate to something of direct value to them.  Think about a site with two large buttons reading “I am a man” and “I am a woman” on the homepage.  Yes, this is an extreme example but you get the point.  Immediately, the visitor can make a simple choice and navigate to an area of the site specifically designed for them.

3. What do I do?

This goes hand-in-hand with question #2.  Not only must people know where to look but they must also know what to do.  Always tell your website visitors what to do next.  Every single page on your website should link back to something else.  No page should be left hanging in the wind, all by itself.  Always give your visitors a few options of where to click next.

Bottom line; when people come across your website, they are in the submissive position.  They will receive whatever your website presents.  They have no control over what your website will present; only YOU do.  That’s a huge opportunity.  You can present a small timid online presence or you can present a huge overwhelming presence – your choice.  So project some confidence and give your visitors the direction they need to get the most out of your website.  Tell them what to do.  Make it easy and tell them where to go.  They will respond, in many cases, by doing exactly as you say!

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Published by Patrick on 29 Mar 2008

Website Starting to Look Presentable

Wow.  What a huge effort!  This post – yes, the one you’re reading – was the original “hello world” post included with the basic WordPress installation and you see (by the date listed above) that I did that on March 29th.  That was exactly one week ago.  Since then, I have put up a total of 211 pages of content on this website.  Admittedly, a number of them still need to be built out but the basic structure is there and I hope you browse around and take a look around.

You see, I originally built my Tactical Execution website back in August 2007.  I used Joomla to build it.  It was the first time I had ever used an open source platform.  At the time, I thought it was awesome!  What a resource.  Completely free.  I was amazed.  And so I went about building my website and adding all the individual content items I wanted to be available.

Eventually, my website accumulated a ton of content but Joomla had some annoying problems that made the site clumsy and very SEO unfriendly.  Simple things, like the URLs being formated as /content/view/54/116 instead of /resources/useful-links/marketing-links.  Frustrating.  Such a simple thing but I had no way of changing it.  Well, maybe there IS a way, but I never learned how to do it.

I have also come to realize that the blog structure is much more powerful in today’s social internet and WordPress was the competing open source platform to Joomla and Drupal.  So here I am.  I installed the platform last Saturday and began copying all my content to the new website.  There is still a ton of work to do but I’m happy with my progress so far.

I probably won’t blog again for about a week.  I have a long list of other to-do items I need to get through before a settle back into a blogging routine.  But rest assured, that time will come.  Writing is one of the things I like most.  Content generation.  That’s what I like.  So in time, this blog will grow in size and I hope you subscribe to the feed.

Let me just lay out the basic structure.  If the content is fairly independent (in other words, it doesn’t relate to other content I found on the internet), I will post it as a static page in the appropriate section of the site.  If the content relates to other internet resources, I will blog about it and participate in the ongoing discussion that defines today’s blogosphere.

Of course, if we can do anything for you in a business sense, send me a note on the Contact tab.  I spend all too much time in front of my computer so I’ll probably reply in short order.  Otherwise, check out the Store to see if any of those resources can help you move your business forward.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time … Patrick.

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