Archive for January, 2009

Barriers and Facilitators to a Successful Site

Monday, January 26th, 2009

In our last post, we showed a funnel to represent the transformation of potential visitors into potential clients.  Here are some things that can hurt or help you gain potential clients.

Barriers to a Successful Site

(Things that Constrict the Funnel)

Facilitators to a Successful Site

(Things that Widen the Funnel)

Why?

No Call to Action

A Defined and Visible Call To Action

Without a Call to Action, people will visit but they will not do anything.

To much Sales Talk

  • A Striking Headline Backed up with excellent Informational Content
  • Articles/White Papers
  • Blogs
  • Surveys

Most people immediately bounce from a site when they see too much sales talk.  They usually come to a site looking for information.  Create a headline that grabs their attention and speaks to them and follow it up with substantive content.

No Visibility

  • Link Campaigns
  • Pay per click advertising
  • E-Mail Marketing
  • Blogs
  • High Listing in Search Engines
  • Business Cards/ Stationary/ Envelopes/ Proposals/ Word of Mouth

If people do not know about your site, they cannot find it.  Many of the techniques used to create visibility can also be used to generate a sense that you are sharing information and that therefore, your website is valuable.

Poor Site Organization

Site Clearly organized according to Your Client’s Needs.

Don’t make people look around to find something simple, there are plenty of other fish in your pond.


Things that enhance your customer relationships such as :

  • Dealer Login
  • Current Properties for Sale
  • Options to view and select customizations on a house or job
  • Ability to report complaints
  • Ability to make specific business requests

You are efficiently conducting business 24/7


Our next post this week will cover whether content or visibility is more important.

How to Define a Site that Works

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Of course a site’s links have to work and the forms have to submit properly. But what really defines whether a site works is whether people visiting your site take the actions that you want them to take.

Picture of a funnel to demonstrate how potential clients become clients As shown in the image to the right,

  1. There are a lot of people in the marketplace.
  2. A few of those people will visit your site and give you a chance to begin a conversation with them.
  3. A number of those will go somewhere else within 10 seconds of reaching site.  (These are your “bounces.”)
  4. Some of the remaing people  will actually take some sort of action that you want: call you for more information, request a proposal, buy a product etc.

Our goal at “A Site That Works” is to maximize the funnel.

In our post next week we will tell you some of the things that shrink or expand the funnel.

The faith of Those Rebuilding in New Orleans

Friday, January 16th, 2009

This year was again a different experience.  I decided to go back because I really enjoy the spiritual part of this journey.  It is really good for us mainline protestants to grapple with the question “Where Did You See God Today.”  Consequently, I decided to devote most of my time to helping the mission center build a better website.  You can see the results of this work at “www.wheredidyouseegodtoday.com.”  We did not spend a lot of time on the design.  The main focus was to create a structure that would allow participants could share their stories and create a better idea of what happens, than we could creating fixed promotional pages.  Of course the mission center wanted to make sure that they could easily ensure that posts were appropriate to the subject at hand and that they did not contain profanity. You know, all those things you open yourself up to when you let the public make comments.

Nevertheless, I got to see some of the city.

The first year we went to the lower 9th, I saw the bright red roof of an older pizza hut.  I thought, surely they must be open.  It looks clean.  When we drove by, I was sad to see that one of my favorite chains, was indeed minus location.  This year that same Pizza Hut sits there, unused, and apparently uncared for.  A few blocks away I could see termite damage from the street in selected buildings.

Pocked throughout the neighborhoods stretching alongside the interstate from near Slidell to the West Bank bridge are homes that that look like they could fall over at any time.  They can probably stand there for 30 years, but they are still uncared for.  Even on the West Bank, where the levees did not break from Katrina, there are building sitting blackened eyes instead of windows.

In comparison, the at least one Vietnamese Community was well on its way to being re-established during our first visit, 3 years ago.  They had a specific rebuilding plan and moved back in stages.  Each stage brought back only the people that were necessary for the task of that stage.  Each stage laid a foundation on which the following stages could build.  (1. Clean out enough of a place for a small group to live.  2. make that space more habitable, so that a few more can come back.  3) When a few more comeback, they can start re-building in the cleaned spaces while the original crew moves on to clean another space.

Where is the leadership for the Community of New Orleans to make this sort of re-birth possible?  Obviously, the French Quarter is back.  Harrah’s Casino is back.  The piles of debris have been cleaned.  The street signs are back in the Lower 9th.  The government says the levees are repaired.  How much more of the city could be fully functional, if the city had been proactive enough to layout specific rebuilding plans starting with the main arteries and then branching out to the communities?  The process would be much like the way an electric company gets power pack after on after inclimate weather.

Maybe, then, instead of feeling like we are rebuilding homes for the elderly so that they can come home to die in dignity, we could sense more completely that a community was truly being reborn. Maybe the job would be much closer to done.

The faith of many of the people rebuilding in New Orleans is much greater than my faith.  When you are in its precense, it is heartening to see what these individuals have accomplished with God’s help.  Just don’t step back and look at what could have been or look to hard at what still needs to be done.  You just have to do it.

New Orleans

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Allison (my wife) and I have made three trips to New Orleans.  Each time for New Years to help rebuild the city.  In all honesty, it is like recycling.  The small part we do really does not matter until you add it up with the “insignficant” efforts of the other thousands of volunteers.

The first year was shocking.  During our tour of the city, we would see armed Humvees patrolling the streets.  It was one thing to hear about the searches on TV, it was another to see piles of rubble and each house visible marked.  The devastation and the horrible bureaucratic nightmares affected rich and poor equally.

The second year was surprising in its own way.  The Lower 9th Ward was mostly a field, where there should have been rows of houses.  Brad Pitt had not yet arrived.  You could see recovery happening and traffic jams coming back but the people that were rebuilding their own homes were often pouring in their life savings just to rebuild.  It seemed that if New Orleans flooded again they would truly lose it all.  Nevertheless, the property speculators were moving in.  It was heart breaking to see the banners hanging in a gymnasium, touting the the former private school’s statewide athletic success and to know that less than 50 people of the church sponsoring the school had returned.  They were selling the property because 50 people could not possibly service the same debt as a the pre-Katrina congregtion of at least 1000.

More about this year in the next post.

Life Has Been Busy

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Actually, life is still busy.  I am now getting a chance to recover a bit.

Celebrating Christmas with two families and wrapping up most of that in a week was stressful, but fun.  Then Allison (my wife) and I took a week to rehab houses in New Orleans.  The following week I got sick. I think it was just from the exhaustion of wrapping up the business year, Christmas, and a week in New Orleans sleeping in bunkhouse with my over 40 of my closest friends.

So, what happened in New Orleans?  Check out tomorrow’s blog.

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