Web sites have come a long way since the days of white sites- pages loaded with boring text and links, lacking images, clear headers and sub-headers all of which made them difficult to navigate.
Many businesses have gone from one extreme to the next in that their home pages are too cluttered with images, widgets, flashing images, ads, etc. which have resulted once in again in poor usability and high abandonment rates.
Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Principles can be applied anywhere in people’s personal and professional lives- and web sites are no exception. It is important to evaluate your company’s web site pages’ traffic on a regular basis- quarterly at the very least, to ensure that visitors aren’t bailing due to poor usability or other common challenges.
If Dale Carnegie had lived until the Internet era, I surmise he would have applied some of his principles towards web sites as follows:
#8 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests– While you may provide umpteen products and services, make sure that those which comprise 80% of your business are easy to find. Do not list every single one on the home page as the visitor will have to scroll, scroll and scroll some more. Lengthy lists can be eliminated by categorizing subjects according to your visitors’ most common interests depending on your type of business.
By evaluating your web traffic, e.g. which pages are getting the most hits and your keyword data, you can ascertain the ideal ways to enable users to find products and services. Some examples are Shop by brand and Shop by size, or if you are a service provider or bricks and mortar business that offers online shopping with delivery or in-store pick-up, Shop by location or Place an order.
#17 Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view– Your homepage should be simple and designed for multiple user types including the ever-increasing mobile population which require high utility vs. long periods of browsing. Consider the amount of time it takes your site’s pages to load on various platforms as visitors will quickly exit if they have to wait more than a few seconds to view a page.
#21 Throw down a challenge- If your web strategy includes an opt-in in order to build a database of customers and prospects to whom you will send special offers, information and anything of value in the future, be sure to make it visible and above the page fold. The ‘challenge’ implied is the call to action, e.g. ‘Sign-up! Be the first to hear about exclusive offers,’ or ‘Register now for free blah, blah, blah.”
#22 Begin with praise and honest appreciation- If you have provided an opt-in, make sure an automated confirmation email is sent immediately with a kind welcome message thanking the registrant for signing up. Then mention the type of information and offers the person will receive. If you can provide a frequency option such as weekly or monthly, even better. Be sure to provide a link to opt-out to comply with Internet laws/CAN-SPAM rules.
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