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WEB/DIGITAL Your Website Sucks!

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MJ DeMarco

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For all you current and aspiring web entrepreneurs ...

When developing (or redeveloping) your website, a good UI (User Interface or sometimes Graphical User Interface [GUI]) will improve your success, or hamper it.

Most of the websites I visit struggle with UI and your own experiences in using websites will confirm this.

If you find yourself moving fluently thru a website experience, take a few moments and reflect on WHY it was easy. Examine the process, the graphics, the forms, the placement of elements, the size of text items and buttons -- why was using "website A" easy? This is how you can study good UI from your own experience and incorporate it into your own projects.

What is Good/Bad UI?
  • A good UI lets users know within a few seconds what your site does and its available actions.
  • A bad UI forces users to spend time trying to decipher your page ... often resulting in "What do I do next?"
  • A good UI offers text as supplemental confirmation of actions.
  • A bad UI makes readers read thru piles of text which most users never do.
  • A good UI clearly outlines available benefits to users.
  • A bad UI forces users to *guess* if this website can help them.
  • A good UI offers a clear path to getting user's needs solved.
  • A bad UI forces users to pick amongst a slew of non-related action items.
  • A good UI uses conventional web elements.
  • A bad UI uses unconventional web elements (un-underlined web links)
  • A good UI gives users consistent feedback during actionable items.
  • A bad UI doesn't tell users progress and keeps them guessing.
  • A good UI is developed and designed around the site's mission.
  • A bad UI showcases a graphic designer's talents ... all too often, designers add website elements simply because the element *looks cool* or *adds bling* -- tricky flash, scrolling java applets -- anything that distracts from the core mission of the site's purpose should be left out of the design.
Developing a website is only 1/2 of the battle ... having a UI that converts users into actionable items that creates revenue is the other 1/2. If you receive 10,000 users per month, the difference between a 1% conversion and 8% conversion is 800% ... profit of $1K/mo or $8K.

So when in development mode and spec'ing out a UI, ask yourself this question ... will this element improve usability for my user? Or distract from it?

Some references:
http://www.UseIt.com (Website for Good Design Usability)

Top 10 Application Design Mistakes
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/application-mistakes.html

Guidelines for Links
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html
 

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mtnman

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Great tips.....weird, you happened to mention this at EXACTLY the right time! speed+
 
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MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco

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What is your experience with landing page design? The main goal of these sites is to get the user to click a certain link or fill out a form. Does that still follow the less=more philosophy with site design? Or, should you try to build an entire site devoted to getting the user to click a link?
I've built 100's of landing pages targeted toward specific keywords. The idea of having a user *land* at a landing page is to deliver to them what their keywords asked for.

Sites that have landing pages which deliver the keyword will most likely get my business (and others who search for the same thing). As for "less = More", this is too general. If "More" improves conversion then more is better. If "Less" improves conversion than less is better.

I'd rather have a site with off-the-charts conversion versus a site that wins a design award and below average conversion.

Landing pages should put its focus on the keywords it is targeting -- hence why they are called landing page. If I type in "digital voice recorder" I expect to be delivered to pages that specifically offer "digital voice recorders" -- ones that do, convert -- ones that don't, or require dozens of other clicks to convert, result in user exits.

Think about the essence of a landing page in terms of flying across the country. You book an airline ticket to fly you to Omaha Nebraska and instead, they fly you to Manhattan Kansas and upon landing. the airline tells you "don't worry, we've prepared a rental car for you so you can drive to Omaha - its only XXX miles away".

Its disappointing and results in unmet expectations -- more work. A landing page is no different -- give users a clear path to their destination and that all starts with the keywords a particular page is targeting. Don't tell a user you're taking them somewhere and then fail to fly them to their destination once they take you up on it.

Marketing Sherpa puts out a limited # of "Landing Page Handbooks" -- expensive but highly recommended.

http://www.sherpastore.com/RevisedLandingPageHB.html?1069
 

LightHouse

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Funny landing pages just came up Pt 2 of marketing experiments landing page optimization clinic is today and free

heres the email i just got

" Topic: Optimizing Your Landing Pages - Part 2

Reserve your spot for the clinic here

***************************************************

Last chance to join our no-charge teleconference call
TODAY, February 20, 2008 at 4:00PM EST

Please join us at 4:00 PM EST TODAY, when the
MarketingExperiments team will conduct live optimization on
Landing Pages sent in by our subscribers.

>> >> MAKE SURE YOU DON'T MISS THIS CALL . . .

Reserve your spot for the clinic here

(If you are not yet a subscriber, you will automatically be subscribed
to the MarketingExperiments Journal when you signup for the clinic.)

We will then send you dial-in information and other instructions for
the call.

(Note: If you have already received instructions on how to participate
in this conference, your seat is reserved and you do not need to
register again.)


>> >> Remember, we don't charge a penny for this one-hour
teleconference call.

If you have colleagues, suppliers, or clients who would like to
participate, simply send them to the same page:

Reserve your spot for the clinic here

Finally, if you have any questions, please email us at
editor@marketingexperiments.com

Thank you for your trust,

Flint McGlaughlin"

They dont sign you up for a bunch of junk, Pt 1 was good hopefully part 2 will be better. they usually have over 1k people call in and go through actual sites.
 

Luke12321

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Good information. I am doing some market research on a lead generation site currently. They are no "pay for leads" sites for the industry....which kind of scares me! I am going to send out letters this upcoming week and have someone on the phone calling and see what the response is to the idea! If they see value in the idea, I am going full throttle ahead with site design. Again, good information that I will read over several times in the near future! Speed +++
 

Luke12321

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Not to sound rude but I just by glancing at your site....I do not know the purpose of it. Your site should offer value to someone, if I don't see the value in about 10 seconds.....I will continue my search. You must capture my attention, show me value, and make it easy for me to get what I want...QUICKLY and EASILY. Your domain name...sucks. IMO, overall....your website sucks, yes. :smxF:
 

LightHouse

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I was going to mention the same, i'm not sure at all what you do... so i closed the page.
 

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carlhuber

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Not to sound rude
Heh, not rude at all! It's like pulling teeth to get an honest opinion of site design from people I know. It's hard for me to be objective about it - I'm glad for the criticism!

It certainly sounds like the front page is rather lacking in terms of clarity of focus.

And, yeah, the domain name has been a frustration for a while but I don't think I'm going to be putting in a successful bid for "www.warehouse.com" any time soon.
:smx4:
 

Jonleehacker

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And, yeah, the domain name has been a frustration for a while but I don't think I'm going to be putting in a successful bid for "www.warehouse.com" any time soon.
WarehouseComic.com is available. That would be a big improvement.
 

Luke12321

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What I do to think of domains is when I am bored at work I write possibles domain's in and then when I get home I plug them in and see what is the best available. You must get a .com domain name. After you do that, get a better layout for your site. Have a clear message and easy navigation for your visitors. When you get that done, come back and ask some people for more suggestions (or hopefully your vistors will give suggestions). Good luck!
 

carlhuber

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WarehouseComic.com is available. That would be a big improvement.

This is not a bad idea. I had researched comicwarehouse.com back in the day but I think I never checked warehousecomic. At the very least I'll register it - what's the harm? Rep++!!
 

carlhuber

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I wanted to throw a mini update out there. In the last week or two I've been fairly busy and have had some good things cranking on my site in terms of development. A lot of it's still behind the scenes but I wanted to give credit where it's due and while some of the ideas have been rolling around in my head it's certainly this and other threads here that have helped kick my butt into gear.:fastlane:

+ I've actually gotten a sponsor for my website! A great guy from a product-selling website saw an old article I had done on how to create basically the same product they sell as a craft project, and he was asking for permission to reprint my article on his website. I used the opportunity to upsell into a sponsorship that'll hopefully benefit us both! I don't want to mention any specifics but I hope it doesn't take away from my AdSense revenue. It's the banner at the bottom right here.

+ Another company (pair of companies, really) saw an older article I had done on donating products and they were interested to see if I was going to be doing the project again. I used this opportunity to upsell into having them donate products as prizes for a contest that I can use to reward my readers!

+ I've picked up warehousecomic.com and am 95% sure I'll be splitting the site into two categories (the current site will remain for the articles and forum, and warehousecomic will grow for the webcomic); the specialization will help the sites focus better in response to your guys' comments about not knowing what the heck the sites were about.

+ Because of the previous item, I've begun an overhaul of the graphics and layout that I've been putting off for a loooong time. Of course, because I have a fairly huge site and I do it all by hand with an eye towards scalability it'll take a while. But I'm working on it.

+ I also picked up webcomicblog.com but I have no idea if I'll ever have the time to actually develop it as a site. Hummm.

:cheers:

So I just wanted to throw out a :thankyousign: out there to pretty much the whole board for all of the inspiration and mojo.
 
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