Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Seattle 2.0, and imported to GeekWire as part of our acquisition of Seattle 2.0 and its archival content. For more background, see this post.
By Ian Lurie
Whether you’re selling the hottest web service or alfalfa, your web site can support your brand. And it doesn’t take a huge investment:
1. Accessibility: What does your site say about your accessibility? A confusing, complex site with flowery language and lots of marketspeak says “go away, loser”. A simple, plain-spoken site where the visitor can find what they need says “C’mon in.”
Good: Google.com. Search, and just the search.
Terrible: MSN.com. I go there and feel like I’m being attacked. Plus it loads painfully slowly.
2. Taste: Simplicity is the key. A blingarific site stuffed with unnecessary animation is a turnoff. A look and feel that’s appropriate to your business, on the other hand, will draw in your visitors.
Good: LandsEnd.com. Simple. Reasonably attractive.
Terrible: ThomsonBikeTours.com. I’m a huge cycling fan. But I can’t actually find any info, thanks to the highspeed slideshow, the five different colors of fonts, etc.. Slow down, guys. Give me the info I want.
3. Contact: How easy do you make it for folks to get in touch? Put your phone number on every page. You WANT them to call, right?
Good: ThomsonBikeTours.com. I complain above, but they have their phone number on every page. Perfecto.
Terrible: Microsoft. I DARE you to find a way to reach a real person, without first taking out your wallet.
4. Honesty: No hyperbole. Tell the truth. Getting someone to buy or call under false pretenses will only irritate them, and you.
I won’t do any good or terrible here. I don’t want to get sued.
5. Stability: Put simply, your site’s gotta work. If you’re starting a new company, and folks are already wondering whether you’re a flash in the pan, it won’t encourage them to see a huge error message when they visit you online.
Good: BasecampHq.com. The few times their site isn’t working, they have a page up telling you why. Their site gets pummeled by hundreds of thousands of users, but keeps on ticking.
Terrible: Yahoo Marketing Solutions (formerly Overture). I love the new system. Now, could it work more than 50% of the time? How can I trust you to deliver your ads when I can’t even use the management console?
Ian Lurie is the author of Conversation Marketing. You can read more about internet marketing strategies at his blog