The Rain website system is pretty cool, isn't it? It's awesome to be able to quickly and easily put up whatever pages you might need. But is just putting them up and publishing them enough to get people interested in seeing what you have to offer? Are your web pages driving your web sales, or are they just sitting there?
The sad answer is that it is not usually enough to stop after you've published the page.
The best thing you can do with your web pages is use every single one to drive sales. Got an About page? Put a Featured Products module on it, so anybody viewing it will also see some products, and update the products you feature weekly. Got a page for your Policies and/or Privacy Statement? (You need each of these, if you don't have them!) Add a sidebar to the yawn-worthy content on these pages and show visitors your newest products.
Effective Web Page Essentials
Let's take a look at some essential steps to making sure your pages are driving sales:
- Plain Text? Blah, Blah, Blah - Do you find a page full of text exciting? The content might be interesting, but visually, most of your visitors won't engage with just text on the page. Make sure your content has images, and wherever possible, add images that link to your products. As a general rule of thumb, you don't want ANY page of your site to be just a block of text. Follow the other guidelines below to liven up your pages!
- Fire Up Your Visitor's Brain with Great Images - A large part of your brain is stimulated by visual input, so adding images to your pages will fire up more of the neurons of anyone viewing them. In the points below, we'll go over modules that are dedicated to putting linked images to products and categories on the page, but directly within your content you should be doing the same thing manually by adding images, linking them to the appropriate part of your online store, and using attractive language to encourage visitors to click. Click here to learn more about adding images manually to your content. (This link and the next one will open in a new tab for you) Click here to learn more about how to link to products and categories in your online store.
- Give Them What They Want - The truth is, your visitors are mostly internet-savvy, and even newbies want to find free stuff about what they love. Give them free goodies! Got a tutorial you could write up with valuable techniques? Build a page with images and a video and post it! Got a download of a PDF, audio, or video file? Give it away. The search engines will love you, and so will your visitors. This is one of those things that can really set you above the competition. Look for ways you can provide freebies the visitors in your market will love, and give those things away for free. Also make sure the page has products featured somewhere visible (more on that below).
- Have Something Always in View - Attention spans are short for online visitors, and once you have their attention, keeping it is key. Make sure that your images are visible as you scroll down the page, and that at least one is always in view. This page is a good example!
- I didn't plan to buy that, but I'm so glad I did! - Inspire Impulse Buys - How many impulse buys do you think your web pages inspire right now? Probably not as many as you would like, right? Everyone has room for improvement here, and one of the easiest things to do is to put a Featured Products module below the page content, or somewhere in the middle. A good example is the Before and After sample pages below. Every single page on your site should show your visitor some of your products. If they don't see them, they won't buy them.
- Update Frequently - Imagine that you are a search engine, and your challenge is to make sure that people want to use YOU to find what they need online. Do you want to show them a website where only the Home page and a couple of product pages are being updated weekly, or do you want to show them a site where TONS of pages are being updated weekly or more? Fresher sites get more clicks, and the search engines work hard to give people what they want. Make sure you are updating written content, images, and links as often as possible.
- ...But Don't EVER Change the URL - Think it's a good idea to rename your product Categories or Titles every once in a while? Or maybe re-create a web page so the name is a little more appealing? Don't think that! In the Rain system, whenever you rename something like an event, class, product, or category, you're changing the URL. If it's something you just made, that's not a big deal, but if it's a major Category in your online store that's been in place for a while, you just changed the URLs for ALL of those products. Why is that bad? To the search engines, a new URL is a brand spanking new web page, with zero search relevancy. Don't make the search engines start over from scratch trying to find you. Find names you like for things and stick with them!
- Motion Captures the Eye - Online content is rich with video, and if you're not embedding videos on your site, you're missing a big boost to your search relevancy. It takes two minutes or less to embed the code for a YouTube video in the Long Description of a product, or in a Content module, or wherever you see the Content Editor. You can find videos on most things! Even if the manufacturer doesn't have one, often, there are 'fan' videos, projects, or just discussions about whatever you need. Go to YouTube and search by a product name, or a brand name, or a product-line name. Two minutes can elevate your page to the top of the pile! Click here to learn how to embed a video on a page.
- Feature Your Categories and Products - The Featured modules are super-easy to add to the pages of your site. Featured Products allows you to search for specific products and the system does all the image and link work for you! Add them in groups of four. Drop them in between paragraphs on long pages. Add one to the bottom of every page you can! The Featured Categories module is even easier: it shows you the list of all of your product Categories and you just click on the ones you want. Just added a new product line to your online store? Put it and a few others in a Featured Categories module! Click here to learn more about using Featured Products and Featured Categories.
- Liven Up Your Language - Hit people where they live, use words that get through! Don't just write the words, make them come alive. Your words should paint appealing pictures in the minds of your visitors. Maybe you're not a writer, so what? You're a talker, aren't you? Get a friend to write down some cool things you say and put them on the page. Your reader will appreciate your own voice in your copy, and the experience of reading what you write will be more authentic than stilted, formal language ever could be.
Below are examples of a page layout that is meh (the Before pic) and a layout that has had some good effort put into it that will keep a visitor engaged and hopefully inspire a click that will lead to a sale (the After pic). Please note that the After page showcases products as well as classes. Whatever you do, you should always be selling.