ec Newsletter #15
Gudday from a rainy Gisborne (at last) and I hope you have a great break planned.
(Oops famous last words - the showers have stopped and we're heading for a top of 29' C now...!)
Welcome to the new people on the mailing list and I hope you get some great ideas for your web projects from these newsletters.
The past Newsletters can be found here, our contact details are below as is the unsubscribe information at the bottom.
This is the last newsletter for the year - we'll be back in late January - and we've added some bonus content to get you thinking over the break - a list of ways to get income from a web site - let me know your feedback.
Our new servers are up and running and old machines now retired - thanks for your patience to those few that had small problems. Everything should be all fine now so if you do still find a small glitch please email us and let us know.
The statistics server will also be back online over the next week or so - we are recording the visitor history now and will also load the historical stats for the past year onto the new server.
Information Architecture - Home Page
One of the more difficult aspects to being able to maintain and grow your online information using a content management system is to work out how information should be laid out on the pages of the web site.
In this the third of a series of articles I'll look at some of the common functions of a web site and discuss how they could - or should be laid out.
A home page is your public face on the web - while it may not be always the first page of your web site that visitors see - it is a very important page to give visitors trust that they are in the right place.
With so many web sites available the first page people see needs to make all of the right quality reinforcing statements about you and your products and services - and it needs to encourage visitors to delve deeper into the web site to find the information they seek.
Having a confusing home page or having too little information on the home page can result in a single page load and then the visitor "bounces" straight out again.
With the "digitally native" web user (anyone under 20 years of age) a web site becomes transparent - they simply see a web page either as a pointer to more information - or as an actual source of information.
No visitor will see your home page in isolation from the rest of the web experience they have had so resist the urge to try something new.
The key to having a great home page is that all the different types of visitors can quickly and easily move to the different sections of the web site under the home page - to their area of interest.
We've touched on the various "interactive styles" before - this is allowing the visitor to use their preferred interactive style to move through the web site - either by using the navigation buttons, a site map, a search box or by following contextual links within the text.
Think of a good home page as an inverted funnel - a single page that guides visitors into other sections of the web site.
If you have different products or services targeted to different groups of consumers then the home page is where the two (or more) types should be branched off to see the different information.
As an example - We're currently discussing a project where one target market is inbound tourists while another target market is local restaurant goers - one target market needs a completely separate information flow than the other.
Ensure that the main navigation options are not only clear and easy to read but they are also "above the fold" so they can be viewed by the visitor without having to scroll down the page.
Standards have been evolving on the web since the early days and the studies done by Wichita University show that web users are now expecting to see a search box at top right, main navigation at left or center top and secondary navigation at left or top right.
Avoid the use of in-house jargon for navigation text on buttons or links - try and use language that your visitors use - not how you would like to be known.
The home page can also have navigation options on it that perhaps are not on every other page - this could be the terms and conditions of the site or privacy statements although it would be best to also have these pages linked on the site map page too.
A note on frequency of updating too - if people are used to arriving at your home page often and when they visit next it looks like you haven't updated or changed anything - this becomes a quality statement.
So consider having a "latest news" section on the front page that you add content to often. You can use the latest news area to direct visitors to the sections of the web site that have been updated - not just for real news.
The E-C Toolset allows you to test and measure the effectiveness of your home page. You can add images to use as buttons as well as ensuring that the home page always has the latest information on it.
Contact us if you'd like to chat about any products that you would like to promote online...
- www.Google.com/adwords Let Google manage the ads on your web site
- Section sponsorship (e.g. A company sponsors a section or page about for $XXXX per annum - measured through the traffic on their web site)
- Small ads - need some kind of database system to work best - like www.craigslist.com just for your local area items for sale
- Larger ads - allow banner ads - $$$ dependant on traffic - the more traffic the more $$$$ you can charge (needs to be able to let potential advertisers know your traffic stats)
[Note - ask us about installing Google Analytics...]
- Wholesale / Retail Selling - you buy / manufacture products and sell them for a mark up
- Commission selling - sell other peoples products and you get a cut of the retail price
- Sell links (rather than physical products / services) kind of like Yellow Pages for web sites within your industry sector
- Affiliate deals - sell online products and you clip the ticket (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/)
- Create Ebooks, Webinars, subscriber areas and other knowledge products
- Use to get jobs via www.elance.com for other communities
- Create a "turn-key" product portal to sell to other communities
- Create the ultimate portal web site for your industry to get 000's of visitors per month and sell it once for lots of $$$$$$$
Thanks for being our customer and thanks for reading...
Bonus "Bonus Offer"
We need new clients for the rest of this year...! Who do you know that needs a new web site that really works...?
If you refer a new client to us until the end of December we'll give you (and them) six months of free web hosting when we launch their new web site
- just ensure that they let us know you referred them...
If you like these newsletters then please do forward it onto a friend...
Have you seen the E-C Help section lately...?
It is available at www.ectoolset.com/help/
We've also archived these newsletters at www.ectoolset.com/news/
That's it for now - please do let us know what you think of the newsletter - and of the e-c toolset and thanks for your business...!
Cheers and thanks again