by Marcia Yudkin
"Huh?" "Ouch!" "Oops!" These may be the sounds of visitors to your web site, turned off by mistakes in your wording, design and navigation. Confused or dismayed prospective customers click away elsewhere. Those who get the wrong idea - or no idea - about your offerings also leave, never to come back.
It's difficult to spot gaffes, blather and omissions at your own site because you lack objectivity. In addition, you may be erroneously following highly flawed industry models, believing that if leading companies do it that way, they know what they're doing. Not so!
Find out which mistakes to look for at your site and why. Fix these and your site moves much, much closer to fulfilling its marketing goals. If you're like most of the participants in my recent series of teleclinics, the most common web site blunders and left-out ingredients are news to you. Take this little quiz to discover how much you know.
1. If you sell professional services and hope to attract traffic to your site, you should build it around this principle:
a. Advertising in pay-per-click search engines pays off best.
b. Offer referral fees to persuade colleagues to send you qualified leads.
c. Your potential clients search primarily for information, not necessarily for a service provider.
d. Simply build it and invite all your current clients to visit.
2. When you're selling products or services that people may want to think about before purchasing, what element should appear on every page of your web site?
a. Search box.
b. Your strongest testimonial.
c. Newsletter signup box.
d. "Recommend this site to a friend."
3. The two most powerful words in critiquing your own web site are:
a. "Fewer words!" Less is more for persuasion.
b. "Forget prices." Never, never make prices easy to find.
c. "So what?" Always make clear why what you're saying matters to the visitor.
d. "Play nice." Make sure you come across as charming and gracious to get results from your site.
4. Every site selling products MUST include:
a. The date the company first launched the web site.
b. The weight of any products that will need to be shipped.
c. Complete contact information for the company behind the site.
d. Color photos of users with the products.
5. What's the "grandmother test" and how does it relate to web sites?
a. Every site needs a quiz like this, to better engage grandmothers.
b. Since senior citizens are the fastest growing group of web users, make sure they like your site.
c. You should ask someone who's never seen your site before to try placing an order to make sure the process is user-friendly enough.
d. Test the branding power of your site by showing your home page to a grandmother and asking her an hour later what she remembers.
You can find the answers to the quiz at www.yudkin.com/websitequiz.htm.
Marcia Yudkin is the author of Web Site Marketing Makeover and 10 other books. A four-time Webby Awards judge, she critiques web sites and performs web site makeovers for clients. Learn more about her detailed critique sessions on five different kinds of web sites at www.yudkin.com/websitequiz.htm .