Monthly Archives: August 2008

Make life easy for your web visitors

This last week I’ve been doing quite a bit of research online trying to buy a number of products and services and I realised once again how difficult some people make it for customers to buy from them.

Don’t make your clients jump hurdles

One of the main things I’m looking for when I want to buy a product is the delivery cost and I guess many of you are the same. Is it going to be cheaper for me to trek round the city looking for it or will it be cheaper if I buy online? This should be an easy to find piece of information and yet many times it is not. I’ll give you an example. I was looking on the search engines for a product and found it. The link took me direct to the product page. Nowhere was delivery mentioned. I added the product to the cart. Still no mention of delivery! I looked for a link on the site saying shipping or delivery – nothing! In the end I went to the contact page, got a phone number and called. No one available to take my call! I left a message and then kept looking elsewhere. Eventually I found somewhere where the delivery costs were up front and I bought the product. When the first company rang back I explained the problem to the sales person/owner. He was very affronted – “It’s on the home page!” he sneered. But I didn’t enter his site on the home page and none of the other pages had a link to this information.

Information should be easily available

Another “delivery information hurdle” is where you have to add the product to the cart, then register and login and then it will be calcuated. I learned long ago to give these sites a miss. Who wants to provide all their details only to find out the delivery costs are too dear?

Easy find, easy stay, easy buy!

That’s the motto web sellers should adopt. Ask yourself what information people want and need in order to buy from you and then give it to them up front. Make it easy and they stay on your site. Keep it easy and they’ll buy from you and not your competitor.

Twitter and Twellow – be careful!

Many people know what Twitter is, but for those who don’t, it is a microblogging tool. It allows messages – called Tweets –  of 140 characters to be SMSed, posted on a website or attached to instant messaging software.

Is there a Tweet worth reading?

If there is then I haven’t found it yet! Mostly it’s trivial, ego-bloating stuff. Does anyone really care what’s in your sandwich? There are some blogs devoted to showing how this technology can be used for marketing but I’m still sceptical.

What’s Twellow?

Twellow is a sort of search engine of Tweeters! You can search by category or by name. I searched for a professional category and I was amazed at what I found. I wonder if some of these people realise what effect there banal tweets can have on their professional lives. Of the ones listed I would only have approached two. The rest used foul language, or trivial and ininteresting tweets which made them appear a bit vacuous.

Use Twellow with caution

With Twellow and Twitter the borders between professional and private life have become even more blurry. So be aware, that if you’re listed on Twellow then people looking for your services may check up on you there and if they see foul language and the like then they, or your employer, may take a dim view of your professionalism.

A cool tool?

A cool tool it may be but what sort of tool? Perhaps a double-edged sword! Be careful or your Tweets may come back to bite you…

Don’t be “dagvertiser”

I was flipping through the colour magazine of a weekend newspaper and I was amazed at the number of ads using tortured words and misspellings. Here are three reason why I think advertisers just shouldn’t do it.

  1. I really think it’s counterproductive. They’re all so lame and amateurish. I mean Salebration! PLEASE! If there’s one thing worse than a bad spoken pun it’s a tortured written one. If you have to stoop to such depths what you’re saying is there isn’t much that the product or service has that’s worth writing about. I can’t even remember what this ad was for.
  2. Literacy among the whole population – not just young people – seems to be less than ideal. Partly this is a result of lacklustre education, partly because for some people English is a second language they’ve had to learn late in life and partly it’s because the written word – in papers, on billboards and websites – is tortured and misspelt. Why do we write LITE and TONITE? What was wrong with light and tonight? Written words in public spaces tend to have a de facto authority and people accept what they see as being correct usage. What a pity it isn’t!
  3. Professionalism. If you want people to take you and your products or services seriously then silly language gimmicks won’t do it. You can still be clever, amusing, eye-catching and thought provoking and use the language properly.
In the spirit of if you can’t beat them…

I’ve coined a new word to describe these horrible ads, which I think describes them perfectly and uses their own tortured logic – DAGVERTISING. (If you don’t know what a dag is check here)