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5 Components Your Business Web Site Needs

5 Components Your Business Web Site Needs

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    Last week I talked about why a strong web site is crucial to your business. Today I’m going to talk about five components your web site needs and why you need them. Bear in mind, however, that these five aren’t the only components you need. At the end of the article, I’ll mention a couple of other things you may want to include. Now, you can’t just slap these components on a web site and have something great. You’ll still need some solid graphic design, good usability and ease of navigation, plus you definitely want to make sure your design, copy, and code are developed using principles of search engine optimization. With those cautionary notes aside, let’s dive in to the five components you need for a successful web site.

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    1. Opt-In Box

    If you’re not capturing your visitor’s details with an opt-in box, you’re missing one of the greatest marketing tools available online today. An opt-in box is a place where people enter their name and e-mail address (or just their e-mail address, but I’ve found it’s useful to have more information), and then they subscribe to your e-mail newsletter or e-zine (pronounced “EE-zeen”). You can start building a relationship with your subscribers with regular, useful contact (defining “regular, useful contact” is a separate article in and of itself).

    2. Who you are

    Generally speaking, if you’re selling either a product or a service, you’ll want your customers or clients to trust you. Part of building trust is sharing a bit about you and how your company got started.

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    3. What you do

    Obviously, if you want to sell your products or services, you’ll need to talk about them. This is where good marketing copywriting comes in handy. If you’re not good at writing marketing copy that converts visitors into buyers, hire someone who knows how to do it well. Investing in good copywriting can make all the difference.

    4. Sticky content

    Sticky content refers to any content on your web site that attracts people and keeps them there, kind of like flypaper. Consider your blog, articles, audio and videos, and other resources, to be the flypaper that keeps visitors “stuck” to your site. The longer they stay at your site, the more likely they are to convert into buyers. There is, however, a point where your content will hit critical mass and can be too sticky. If you give too much away, your potential buyers won’t need to buy. They’ll settle for the freebies and never convert into sales.

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    5. Contact Information

    Potential clients and customers will want to know how to contact you for several reasons. If they can contact you, they can buy from you with the assurance that if they experience any troubles with the product, they’ll be able to ask questions or process returns easily. Also, they can ask you questions before they buy. There’s a long list of other reasons customers and clients may want to contact you, and they’ll feel safer buying if they can contact you easily. So provide at least phone and e-mail, and if you can, provide a physical address as well. If you work from home, don’t post your home address. Instead, get a P.O. box or a box at the UPS Store and post that instead.

    If you’re selling products or services online, in addition to these five components, you’ll do well to invest in a shopping cart system and a payment processing system. Forcing potential buyers to contact you to get purchasing information ensures that those buyers will go elsewhere most of the time. We live in a high-demand, instant gratification world. If someone is shopping in the middle of the night or on a Sunday and they want what you have to offer but they can’t get it when they want it, they’ll buy it from someone else who can deliver instantaneously. Don’t give your potential buyers a reason not to buy from you.

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    So how do you implement all this stuff? How do you get a web site with these components, plus good design, good usability, and strong SEO? Next week, I’ll talk about how to hire a web firm to design your site. I’ll tell you how to educate yourself so you know enough to ask the right questions and know when you’re getting the right answers, how to balance value and price, and what red flags to watch out for.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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