Web Design Goodies Critique #10

By Joe Burns

2. Concern: I am teaching commercial copywriting this semester and the one thing I try to get across to my students is that customers want to know the price before they get in the car and come to the store. Often students want to hide a price thinking it will scare off the consumer. That's not so. In fact is actually focuses your audience and allows those who want to buy to make a more informed decision. It actually helps sales. That said:

Suggestion: Don't hide your prices. You're new. Push the fact that you have great deals. Push the price. Show me your one or two or three best deals right off. The way you site is set up right now, you have my eye bouncing to either the banner ad or the images down at the bottom of the screen. That's not good. Push yourself and your deals. Get that price out there and sell yourself.

3. Concern: I attempted to buy an account and for some reason I was taken off site to enter a credit card. Woah! According to your own fact sheets, you offer a MySQL shopping cart. You're not filling me with confidence when you don't even use your own programming to accept credit cards.

Suggestion: Again, every aspect of your site is part of the business card effect. Show me you can create a credit card system for me by setting one up for yourself. Seeing that I went off site to process a credit transaction would make me leave straight away.

4. Concern: You have three images down at the bottom of the page, every page, that request that the visitor to vote for you. That's a bad idea. I don't know you. You're new and you're asking me to help build your traffic. I see these kinds of things on new Web pages all the time. They are there to help build traffic. I guess they help, but they take away from the purpose of the site. I have never asked anyone to vote Goodies for anything yet I am on every list you can think of.

Suggestion: Lose the images. Provide a solid product and the customers will do all of that for you. You need to change your focus to the design of the page and finding better methods of driving traffic to your home page. Try working with the search engines, bannering trade with other sites, or buying some advertising. Just don't expect the audience to build traffic for you.

5. Concern: You only have two links on your links page. That's not much in the way of links. Again, this is your business card and you seem to have not taken the time to help the user a great deal. Most people know that an afternoon of searching can yield hundreds of links.

Suggestion: Your links page need to either be bulked up greatly or dropped altogether.

Overall: You really do have good deals and you have the correct attitude. If people want a decent hosting service, they need to pay for it. You won't get a decent car for free; neither will you get a decent Web hosting service for free. Push that.

Now the fun begins. Create that page that when people arrive, their jaw drops open. They see that you are a real pro and they want to be associated with you. They can see through your own design that you know what you are doing and that you can take care of them.

Build it and they will come? Impress them and they will buy.

Good luck. Starting a business is never anything you can do half-hearted. I hate to quote The Karate Kid but one line does right true. Either do yes or do no. There is no in between.

That's that.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Always Remember: When it comes to designing your Web site, the most important person is not you, but rather your user.

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