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From a Call to Action to Website Conversions

Here is another awesome question that was asked at the live Business Web Basics class. An idea of what you will be learning from the home course.

Ann discusses how to use your website content and keywords to attract visitors and traffic. Learn how to use your website design and call to action to get conversions. Sign up at Business Web Basics or sign up in the form on the right to get a free checklist to help you map out YOUR WINNING web strategy!

Can you Reduce your Websites Load Time?

Yes you can and it is simple… you reduce load time through image, audio, and video optimization!

Shot from live Business Web Basics class
Shot from live Business Web Basics class

I live in the United States and even though more and more Internet users switch to broadband every year, a large portion of the web’s population is still running on a good old dialup connection. So… we can NOT count them out of the equation when designing your website, and a very major consideration we have to make for dialup users is the loading time of your website. Although I have a lickity split Internet connection I have still had clients whose website’s load time is slow even for myself.

The text on your website will be loaded in a very short time even on a dialup connection. I want to be clear that I mean actual “text” not a graphic that looks like text! The main cause of slow-loading sites is usually large images, audio files, or videos on your website, and it is very important to strike a delicate balance between using just enough of these features to attract your users and not to bog down the overall loading time of your site.

I truly suggest you simply go to great lengths and optimize every image, audio, and video file on your site to make sure it loads in the least time possible. How is this done? Hoe is it simple? Well…, every webmaster has access to software that handles these issues. So… if you have a full time webmaster and they do not have the software to fix these issues – buy them the software, why buy it – so if the webmaster leaves and the next one comes in they have it as they continue to ad to your site. Now, if you outsource for your webmaster, they should already have this kind of software. If for any reason they do not – I would question their abilities!

There are many FREE programs online that resize images. Search for Image Resizer better yet search for FREE Image Resizer. I suggest you start the search with PC or Mac depending on the type of computer you use. I like JPEG or PNG over GIF files, they all work BUT I have seen images compromised with GIF.

As far as audio files… this is a compression and bit rate factor. If you do not know about audio – have your Webmaster do this for you! I usually use 16 kps. I find the quality is just fine over the Internet.

Video files usually involve conversion to a format such as flash. I caution you on long flash files!!! Once the conversion is made the compression rates need to be set. Again unless this is something you are familiar with – let your Webmaster handle.

Once an image file, an audio file, or a video file is on your site. Be sure when you hover over the file you visually “see the name” this is a form of “labeling” your file AND “optimizing”, in the html code it is called ALT tags.

How can you keep unique visitors coming back?

The cookies keep Santa coming back year after year

A lot of successful websites depend on returning visitors to account for a major part of their traffic. The site creates credibility and the “fear” issue of is this site “good” just melts away. Returning visitors are easier to convert into paying customers because the more often they return to a site, the more trust they have in that site. So here are some ideas to keep your visitors coming back.

1) Start a blog

A blog is like keeping an online journal. It is a place where you can freely write about your company, your employees, your products, and many other types of information that you think your customers would appreciate reading about. The most important piece of a blog is to keep it updated with latest news about your topics. Human beings are curious creatures and they will keep their eyes glued to the monitor if you post fresh news frequently. Posting (simple term for writing) regularly on a blog will build up your credibility as you are proving to your readers that there is a real life person behind the website curtain.

2) Carry out polls or surveys

Polls and surveys are offer additional forms of interaction with users in a website. It is a simple and easy option to get information to your users or to get information from your users. Surveys and polls provide a quick way for visitors to voice their opinions and to get involved in your website. The results from polls or surveys can be published in an article. Publishing the results accomplishes two things, it gives you the website owner fresh content, and it encourages the visitor to come back and see the results! Remember to use polls or surveys that are relevant to the target market of your website.

3) Update your site frequently with fresh content

Update your site frequently with fresh content so that every time your visitors come back, they will have something new to read on your site. New and fresh information is the most widely known and most effective method of attracting returning visitors. Do not get confused and think this means to “update your content” this means to “add NEW content” to your website! Do not blame your webmaster (unless your webmaster also writes your content) if you do not have regular content added to your site. Don’t be lazy – write content – or hire a content writer. A simple trick is this, write content for 365 pages, then ask your webmaster to post one each day. Now that would be GREAT for your site! Visitors do not want to browse a site that looks the same year after year, day after day, so keep your site updated with fresh info!

4) Host a forum or have a chatroom

When you host a forum or have a chatroom, you are providing your visitors a place to voice their opinions and interact with their peers — all of them are visitors of your site. As conversations build up, a sense of community usually follows and visitors want to come back to your site regularly. The reason I say forum or chat room is not meant to be separate, you can have both. So people prefer to engage in posting questions or problems and reading results. A forum keeps threads of conversations (basically a digital record) so many people can get involved. A chatroom is usually just for the present. You log in and speak with who is there. Friends meet and they then schedule times to chat. Great ways of interaction on a website.

5) Hold puzzles, quizzes and games

Just imagine how many office workers procrastinate at work every day, and you will be able to gauge how many people will keep visiting your site if you provide a very interesting or addicting way of entertainment. You can also hold competitions to award the high score winner to keep people trying continuously to earn the prize. Be careful for sweepstakes, there are legal issues that vary state to state. Anything that holds someone’s attention will keep them coming back!

6) Offer bookmarks

Offering bookmarks is a great way to encourage a visitor to not only visit your website again but to “save it” by book marking the page. Most browsers allow a visitor to bookmark a page by adding it to their favorites category. Having this option on every page can actually have a visitor bookmark more than one page. A bookmark can be to an internal web page not just the home page. Bookmarks are good and customers use them!