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Valerie
28th October 2004, 01:22 PM
Karon,

I'd like to ask your advice...

I have felt pretty good about my site because when I first went live online, I was using PPC to get visitors/traffic. When I had the traffic, I had sales... indicating that my site copy was good enough (I did it all myself) to bring in sales.

I stopped the PPC - for a variety of reasons - and have been optimizing my site for more "organic" placement in the SE's. Over the last 3 months, traffic has increased and sales have been steady... from my SEO efforts not PPC. But I made no copy changes.

NOW for some strange reason - in this last month - I've had more traffic than ever before... and FEWER sales. And I'm starting to think, perhaps, I should look at my copy more closely to see if I should make some changes? :confused:

If you have any words of wisdom, I'd be most appreciative.

Thanks, in advance!

Valerie

copywriter
28th October 2004, 04:48 PM
I'm not usually one to guess, Valarie. When there seems to be a question about why customers are behaving a certain way, I think it's wise to ask them :)

One of my favorite online tools is called SurveyMonkey.com. With this web-based software you can set up a survey that your customers can take. Ask them anything you want. Just put a link to the survey on your home page so visitors can find it and response.

I usually put something like, "Got 3 minutes? Win $50!" or whatever prize you want to give away. (It works better if you let participants enter a drawing to win a prize.)

Survey Monkey is really easy to use and it's all web-based so there's nothing to download or install. They even calculate the reponses and create reports for you if you want.

If you need less than 100 respondants, it's completely free. (They just shut your survey down once you've sent the 100th person to the survey.) If you want more people to be able to answer, it'll cost you $20.

Going straight to the horse's mouth is about the only way to find out why visitor behavior has changed when none of your on page elements have.

Karon

TechEvangelist
28th October 2004, 09:33 PM
Here are a few things to think about.

If traffic is increasing, but sales are declining, perhaps you should look at your competitors and your pricing.

Did a new competitor enter the market?

Have the prices for your products declined?

Do you have the latest and greatest product offerings?

Is there a particular product that's dominating the demand, but you don't carry it?

It looks like your've got a lot of product info on your home page, but I'd move more pricing info and images above the fold so that visitors immediatley see it. Do something that gets their attention right away. People like the words "discount" and "free shipping" and they dislike scrolling.

Also, your page is wider than 760 pixels, which forces the majority of users to scroll right to read the text. Most users are still utilizing 800 x 600 screen resolution. A few home page layout changes might help quite a bit. No offence intended, but with the amount of content you've got on the home page, it appears that you are trying to appeal more to the search engines than to your visitors. Check out the top e-commerce sites. The winning home page formula for e-commerce sites is small product images and brief snippets of well-written text.

One more thing, the page weight (total size for all objects in bytes) for your home page is 127k, which takes approximately 26 seconds to load and render on a good 56k dial-up connection. Most people's patience level is about 10 seconds. The latest Nielsen Netratings survey indicates that 49% of home users in the US are still on dialups. It looks to me like you are trying to appeal to home users.

Hope this gives you some ideas. I think a little tweaking will go a long way.

Craig :standingw

Valerie
28th October 2004, 11:11 PM
Good info and feedback...
Thanks!!
Valerie

Valerie
28th October 2004, 11:20 PM
Craig,

Am not sure why my home page is so wide... what can I change to make it more narrow? All the other pages load regular width so I'm not sure what I did to make it so wide... :confused:

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Thanks again!! :standingw
Valerie

divshow
29th October 2004, 12:14 AM
One of my favorite online tools is called SurveyMonkey.com. With this web-based software you can set up a survey that your customers can take. Ask them anything you want. Just put a link to the survey on your home page so visitors can find it and response.

I agree with Karon. On her advice, I used the SurveyMonkey to help me target products for my new site. It worked like a charm. My customers even said it was fun to take the survey and help me create the new store.

It was so easy to set up also!!! :thumbsup:

TechEvangelist
29th October 2004, 12:55 AM
Hi Valerie

I just gave it a quick glance, but the first thing I'd check is your images under the nav bar. The test.gif (people exercising) and Logo-small.gif (logo) are side-by-side, which is probably pushing your page width out. If you temporarily add a border="1" attribute to your img tags you can see the dimensions of the images.

Also, I noticed that the test.gif image is a GIF file. Photographic images will typically display much better and compress better as a JPEG file. A GIF is limited to 256 colors, which makes photos look dark and contrasty. Images using line drawings and solid colors, such as logos and cartoons, make better GIF files. The test.gif file is 29k, which is a good portion of the page weight. You can probably compress that image into a smaller size as a JPEG. Start with a new scan or the original image for best results. Once you save an image as a GIF, you've lost the millions of colors you started with and only have 256 to work with.

Hope this helps. :thumbsup:

Valerie
29th October 2004, 01:54 AM
Craig,

You've been a great help... I will fix the pics when I have more time, but in the meantime, I just eliminated the small logo and the page size seems better. Thanks for figuring that out! I've asked others about that issue of the home page being pushed out and no one was able to help me! :abovehead

I am also considering all the other items you mentioned in the previous post and may revamp the home page... I don't know WHEN, but it's something to seriously consider... may have to do it in the wee hours... :eek:

Thanks again for your great help... hope you don't mind all the questions!

Kind regards,
Valerie

jeanm
29th October 2004, 08:52 AM
Very, very interesting. I'm learning a lot here and that is an understatement. Thanks from me too guys. :abovehead
Jean

madcat_
24th November 2004, 11:25 AM
Hey...

Do you still have a copy of the old page? the one where you used PPC? If not I suggest you archive all future changes to your site. Since I haven't seen them I really don't put much weight on what I am going to say myself.

I seen this issue before though... It happened to me once when I was new in online marketing. Like you I used PPC to begin with while I optimize my site,
Then when I am happy with the traffic I am getting with the natural listings I removed the PPC (Google is so **** expensive)

The same thing happened. Traffic in the site, reduced sales. and I was actually thinking of doing a survey (don't know about survey monkey thanks for that though will look at it in a bit) then suddenly looking at the new site.

I noticed it. The need to fit keywords, changes in layout for the index spiders and all other cosmetic changes for SEO drastically reduced the cosmetic proffesionalism of the site.

All the hours of hard work resulted in a very cheesy site that "looks" like a 13 year old HTML school project. (without the scripts).

Thinking of a solution on how to balance it, I went on to do other things (I get answers normally when I do something else) then I got to Sony's site. www.sony.com

It's almost entirely Flash, the index page has almost no relevant keywords, It's script heavy (making it hard to load and buggy for some browsers) but the ranking is high. So it hit me. LINKS! That way the site remains fully simple and proffessional while maintaining SEO generated natural listing traffic.

:)

copywriter
24th November 2004, 12:03 PM
The need to fit keywords, changes in layout for the index spiders and all other cosmetic changes for SEO drastically reduced the cosmetic professionalism of the site.

It doesn't have to be this way, madcat. Granted, it often turns out this way, but that usually is caused by those in the industry giving out very bad advice :)

then I got to Sony's site. www.sony.com... It's almost entirely Flash, the index page has almost no relevant keywords, It's script heavy

And the fact that they are Sony. That means, by default, they will come up very high in the rankings for practically anything "Sony." I would not use them as an example of a well-positioned site. Their sheer size and marketplace presence gives undue weight to their rankings.

So it hit me. LINKS! That way the site remains fully simple and professional while maintaining SEO generated natural listing traffic.

I'd advise you to be cautious of this, madcat. Here's my theory. NOTE: IT IS JUST A THEORY. In the beginning were META tags. Everyone who owned a site looked around and saw that by shoving a few keywords into your keyword tag you could get high rankings. All was good. Until the engines realized this method or sorting results was being highly abused and began to ignore almost all META tags.

Next came ALT/image tags and comment tags. Again, everybody flocked to shove keyword-rich, relevant text into these two tags. Yes, once more the engines noticed the abuse and canned practically any weight that was given to ALT/image and comment tags.

Now we seem to be on a linking binge. Everybody is begging for links pointing to their sites. But the nasty old link farms have come along and are abusing this new criteria. So are many site owners. It makes a person wonder if link popularity is quickly going to be tossed out the proverbial window and into the trash heap with META tags, ALT tags and comment tags. It seems to be following the same path.

Instead of chasing tricks, I'd invest time in learning how to write copy and incorporate design elements for SEO into your site without destroying the flow of the copy or the look/professionalism of your design.

All the best with your project!
Karon

madcat_
24th November 2004, 12:25 PM
I definetly agree with what you said...

Meta Tags were helpful in the old days... and the comments (there were even some who right same colored text on same colored back ground to stick keywords)

About having a well written site is a big issue. I didn't say anything about not having content. A poorly written one will be waste of space and may result in loss of sales while a greatly written one (especially a short one as you have discussed in your article) will be the best recourse. Not everyone has this talent though. As a writer m sure you know it's an art. not an activity and no matter how hard other people try the level of talent will be a factor. They can always get help right? :D ;)