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“What Does FEMATM Have to Do with Your Company’s Website?”
One of the most common questions I get is “how can I get more traffic to our website?” Most companies by now are aware of how many dollars are shifting daily to Internet advertising and that 80% of America’s consumers and businesses look for even local services on the Web.
But asking how to get more traffic to your website is like asking “where do I put the gasoline” before asking “which car should I buy?”
The Web can be a great, cost-effective way to find customers and to help customers find you. But before you move too fast into the world of on-line advertising (aka pay-per-click or PPC) or “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) both of which are designed to get buyers to your website, first ask yourself, “if they come, what will they do there?”
In the past, if you advertised using traditional means, and got the buyer to pick up the phone and call, you were a big step of the way to getting the business. That is not true in the age of the Internet. The process of dialing a phone, involved a psychological commitment to the effort. The buyer had already made a “selection.”
There is no psychological commitment in a click.
In the “insta-click” mentality of the Internet, with so much junk to wade through, searchers general begin with the conscious or subconscious notion that their click will likely yield a bad result. Next time you watch someone shopping the web, watch where they place their mouse after clicking a search result. Very often they move the mouse to top left, hovering over the ‘Back Button” - ready to go back to the million of other search results.
The point is, it is a waste of ad money if you get searchers to your site, but they don’t stay long enough to consider you and your proposition, to say nothing of taking the action you want them to take.
Almost every business should be seeking to expand on the Web, that is clear. But it is not enough just to create any old website and toss it up on the Internet. If you are going to invest in getting customers to your website, invest in keeping them there.
We follow four simple principles in our web design – what we call the FEMATM principles [the coincidental acronym has nothing to do with the Federal agency]:
You never get a second chance to make a first impression
First Impression: Before people think they react. The website must make a solid first impression. Unique custom designs should be employed which effectively represent the organization. Color, shape, animation, all designed to engage, so as to keep the visitor from clicking the ‘back button” and hold them long enough to formulate an emotion. How long is this? One to five seconds on average.
Get to the WIFM ("what's in it for me") fast!
Though the Internet is still in its infancy, it is already well understood that the key to success is at least hinting at what your value will be - FAST. Too often, websites begin with the assumption that the visitor knows what the business of the company is. In a brick and mortar world that assumption might be safe. On the Web, if a user doesn't get it in seconds from your home page, he's a click away from the search results that brought him there. Thus, the purpose and the vision of the website has to be clear from the start.
“Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary”
Emotion: Depending on the business objectives of the website, color, look, feel, motion, all must be used to garner the proper emotion appropriate to the site’s goals - design to hold the visitor long enough so he begins to “get the message”. How long is this? A few more seconds.
"It's not our fault our generation has short attention spans, Dad. We watch an appalling amount of TV."
Message: Message only comes if first impression and emotion have done their job. Content must be designed for maximum usability, ease-of-navigation with language and images ideally designed around each target audience.
Content must be high quality and served up in easy-to-digest, approachable content chunks, designed to be attractive and inviting (not long and intimidating).The insta-click mentality does not necessarily mean that to be successful content needs to be restricted to sound bites. But it does mean that even more thought and attention must be given to each word and phrase as well as page placement, etc.
The fact is, in our world of information overload, people do have shorter attention spans. We are more successful if we recognize that and work with it. Design that keeps visitors happy and engaged, makes websites more effective. As most US businesses migrate to broadband, the use of novel interactive elements can be employed to present the message and further engage the audience. However, all such elements must be appropriate to the site’s business objectives.
“I never worry about action, but only about inaction”
Action: The desired action(s) should be obvious and easy to take from almost any point on the website. Action can come in many forms. For most clients this includes making contact - a phone call, an email, live chat, etc. For others, action may include an e-commerce purchase from the website or a donation to a non-profit cause. But another big use of the Internet is to easily empower friends to help friends! So referring (i.e. emailing a page) to a friend can also be a very important action for the website. The whole equation only comes together when the desired action is taken.
FEMATM principles are not only for e-commerce websites. All businesses and organizations should consider the fact that their websites are the first place buyers, sellers, investors, career candidates and virtually everyone else go to get information. In the old economy, great thought and money went into making the “front office” make the right first impression (remember Arthur Andersen’s famous mahogany doors?). In the new economy, this all must now be directed to the company’s new “front office” – their corporate website.
Based in Westchester, NY, Axxiem’s business consultants team with its designers, content writers, SEO specialists, and project managers to produce radically different websites for its commercial clients. Websites with solid business objectives, designed to attract the right audience and achieve real, bottomline results.
In addition to its New York-based staff, Axxiem has a design, programming and build team in New Delhi, India, able to provide everything from basic HTML coding to custom database development and custom application development.
Susan M.H. Lewenz
Article Source: http://articles-4-free.com
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Hastings On Hudson, NY, 10706
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