How focused home page design will increase conversions

I recently sat through a webinar by Marketing Experiments. They are a web marketing company that puts on free webinars all the time showing the results of testing different elements on a website and how it increase conversion.

The webinar I attended was on getting singular focus on your home page. Chances are that on your home page you are trying to cater to every single person that comes to your website. Unfortunately this is a backwards way of thinking.

The right strategy is to figure out exactly what your primary goal is for your visitors and make that as prominent and easy to find as possible.

For example, one of the websites I run is Lawn Care Directory. It is national (US based) directory of lawn care and landscaping companies. I really wanted to cater to people that were searching for a lawn professional and so I changed the design of my home page to cater to that group of people immediately when they came to the site.

Here is the OLD design:

Here is the NEW design:

Here is the crazy egg report on how the new design is doing. This is a heatmap that shows where on the page people are clicking:

As you can see the result of giving the visitors to the site one main option eliminates confusion for the visitor and drives them to do the thing I want them to do. So it is a Win Win.

The secondary goals that I have on the home page are still available and represented but I give the most weight and real estate to the thing that is my number 1 goal.

DO NOT Let Logoworks Design Your Logo

With all of the websites that I start and run logo design is something I am always in need of. There are few occasions that I think a professional logo design is very important to the success of the internet business so I will pay good money for it.

For a recent project I decided to get a logo designed by Logoworks, the logo design company owned by HP. I had used them in the past for another website and they did an OK job but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the logo, I just accepted it as good enough. I know that I can be very picky and particular when it comes to logo design so I thought maybe I was the problem the last time, and not them.

So we gave Logoworks all of the information for our new venture and wanted to get a good logo so I bought their $600 package. I figured if I spent more they would put their better designers on the project.

Well they came back with their first round of 10 concepts. I didn’t like any of them. I thought they were amateurish at best. There was one that was better than the other 9 and they ask you to choose the one you like the best so I picked that one even though it was no where near where I wanted the logo to be.

They then took the one I chose and asked me what I like about it. I basically told them the one thing I liked about it but that I wanted something new and more Web 2.0 looking. They came back with a new round of revisions that were very similar but worse than the one that I had chosen.

After spending $600 I was getting no where. So I called down to Logoworks and spoke to my “project manager” (also known as call center rep) and told him I was not at all satisfied with the progress of the logo and wanted to go in a different direction. He then told me I would have to spend more money for any new art the “graphic designers” would have to draw. In other words I was stuck with the artwork that I had chosen on the first round of revisions.

I asked him about their 100% satisfaction guarantee and he told me it only applied on the first round of concepts. Once I picked one as my “favorite” I voided the guarantee. By this time I was pretty upset. So I demanded to speak to his manager. The manager was even less help than the first guy was.

I realized then that I had made a $600 mistake. Instead of just giving up and letting Logoworks win I decided to take advantage of the unlimited revisions rule they have. In other words, they keep sending me revised concepts, I keep choosing one and then sending it back to them and telling them to change it. I have gone through about 8 rounds of revisions. All of the concepts they send me are no good, but I keep picking one and telling them we’re getting closer.

I actually went to a guy that does graphic design for a living and had him do the logo. He did one concept for me and I liked it so much that I used it. He actually put thought into the logo and there was a purpose and meaning behind it. Lesson learned: Don’t use a logo mill to do your logo design. Get a specialist who will actually care about your particular project.

My Best Internet Business Idea

People often want to know where to start when it comes to starting a business online. I mean the options are truly unlimited. If you have read about the Prosperly Way then you know that I like to create internet businesses that run themselves. I try to automate as much as I can so that it takes as little time to run as possible. If I help you start an internet business that takes you 60 hours a week to run then I really haven’t helped you.

So the best internet business model that I recommend first and foremost is to start an affiliate website.

Start An Affiliate Website

This is the internet business model that I have had the most success with. This is where I pick a very specific niche and then I create a website around the products in this niche. (I hire a writer, I don’t write the content myself) I then have links to buy the products we have talked about in the site which are affiliate links so we get paid a percentage for every sale we send them.

For example, if I owned a DVD website I would create a ton of content for individual DVD’s. I then would have affiliate links from Amazon or another DVD store telling people to go buy the movie. Anytime someone buys one of the DVD’s from Amazon, I would get paid a percentage.

If you find the right industry you can quickly make an impact in search engine rankings and start making money very quickly. A good example of this is from one of the websites I started back in 2007. I knew the industry wasn’t very SEO savvy but there was a lot of money being thrown around in the industry.

I hired a copywriter to add at least one page a day to the site and after 6 months the site was making $15,000 a month in affiliate sales. Now keep in mind that I was also doing a lot of link building for the site getting good quality one way links and the site was optimized properly for the search engines.

By that point we were ranking on page one of Google for almost every product included on the site and we also were dominating the search engines for the more general terms in the industry. I had companies in that industry contacting me and offering me a ton of money to help them achieve the same kind of results.

I was pleasantly surprised with these results in such a short amount of time. Even after having optimized hundreds of websites over the years I didn’t expect to see such dramatic results so quickly.

This internet model is good because as you write, or hire someone to write for the website, you are constantly adding fresh new content to your website. This content needs to be high quality good content. Visitors see right through junk. This will also help you achieve higher search engine rankings and thus more traffic to your website because of the quality original content being added.

So choose an industry you like and start an affiliate website. Try to find an industry that isn’t over saturated with affiliate sites out there already.

Word of advice: When you sign up for affiliate programs there are going to be some products you can make more money on than others. This will motivate you to recommend these higher paying products over other products you write about. This is a normal and effective practice.

What you need to avoid is being overly critical of other products on your site just to make the one you want to push look better. There is no need to do this. It just makes you look bad. If you offer good quality in depth content people will trust your recommendations. Be fair and don’t bash other peoples products unless they really are bash worthy. Most people are trying to put out a good quality product and some just do a better job than others.

This business model is great because you never have any customer service or products to ship. You just play the middle man and take a cut. When you’re talking about the best internet business ideas, for me this one tops the list.

Here is another good Prosperly internet business idea

What you’ll have to learn to succeed online

There are many things you need to know to be more successful online. There is one thing that I would suggest you have to know in order to have a chance at being real successful. You need to learn basic web design. I’m not saying you need to know how to design great websites and win awards, I simply mean you need to know the fundamentals of web design. This includes, learning basic html, css, and how dynamic sites work etc.

You can find all kind of website in a box programs, or run your site using blog software but in every case there will come a time when you are going to have to make changes to the code. If you want to be in the internet industry, don’t you think you should learn as much about website design as you can? This will allow you to run split tests more effectively and just make simple changes to your site so you don’t always have to rely on someone else.

The reason I write about this is because with many of the people that come to me to help them get started, this is the thing they try to avoid. Learning html and css may not sound glamorous but making a lot of money online does. I submit that you can’t have one without the other. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a good amount of money online without this knowledge, it means that I don’t believe you can maximize your earning potential without it.

Here are some great resources on both html and css:

HTML Made Really Easy – This is the site I used to learn html back in the early days.

HTML An Interactive Tutorial For Beginners – This is a reall good tutorial as well but it is very difficult to navigate around the 799 ads on every page.

CSS Tutorial – A good tutorial on CSS.

So there is no excuse now not to learn the basics of this stuff. If you want to make serious money online, you need to take this seriously.