"5 Key Strategies to Creating Websites that Sell"Your business website is essentially your storefront, business card and most significant marketing piece all rolled into one.  How it affects your visitors and customers is then essential to your success.  Provide a memorable experience and customers are sure to return time and time again.  Let’s take a look at five keys to creating a website that sells.

Key #1  Make your website interactive. 

As the internet continues to grow and evolve it’s becoming more important to create a community around your business. To accomplish this you want to engage your visitors and customers.  This can be accomplished a number of ways.  You can:

* Provide a forum

* Post surveys or polls

* Enable visitors and customers to review or rank items.  For example a “How valuable was this article?” question and a scale of 1 to 5 stars or a ranking from 1-10.

* Offer a blog and inspire comments and feedback

* Host contests and sweepstakes

* Publish video and audio content as well as written content.  This gives users another way to access you and your personality.

Key #2  Make sure your website provides value.

People go online for a number of reasons.  They go online to research a potential purchase, to seek solutions for a problem they’re having and to be entertained.  If your website provides all three; products, information, and entertainment then you’re in tip top shape.  The good news is your content can provide both the information and the entertainment and when written well, can also inspire purchases.  Here are a few ideas to provide value for your customers and prospects:

* How to articles, videos, and audio

* Tips articles, videos, and audio

* Case studies

* Workbooks and reports

* Interviews with experts

* Product reviews

Key #3  Make sure your website is easy to navigate. 

It takes a visitor about 20 seconds to make a decision about whether they’re going to stay on your website or click away. If your site is laid out nicely, with products and services, information, prices, FAQs, and content easy to find then people are more likely to hang out – the longer they stay on your site the more likely they are to make a purchase or to return again.

To make your site easy to navigate consider:

* Keeping your site simple.

* Keep your pages uniform with the same options and appearance.

* If you have a lot of content, great!  Use drop down menus and organize your content by topic for easier access.

* Offer a search function where users can search for products, services, or content topics quickly and easily.

* Provide a way for users to easily go back to previous pages.  A back key is an option however if every page has the same options and drop down menus, including the ability to quickly return to the home page, a visitor will always be able to find what they need.

* Test your website’s appearance on different browsers to make sure every visitor has a good experience.

Key #4  Make your website easy on the eyes. 

Ever visit a website and the text was so small or the colors so incompatible that you couldn’t read a word?  Readability is critical to a selling website.  Make sure:

* Your colors are easy on the eyes,

* Your graphics aren’t distracting

* And keep formatting like underlining, bold and italics to a minimum.

* Spacing between sentences and paragraphs is adequate

* Font size is large enough for people to read and font is easy to read

Key #5  Give them a soft sell.

People expect to be sold to and they’re looking for it – they’re wary.  Instead of hitting website visitors with a hard sell, provide information, solve their problems and show them the benefits of your products or services.  They’ll be much more receptive and appreciative.

Creating a website that sells requires a structured approach and a desire to create the best experience possible for your visitors.  Once you’ve created your website, consider testing it and asking associates, friends and family for their opinion.