May 7, 2012
Made You Look!
3 Website Gotchas
1) Under Construction
Over 1.5 million of your websites are "under construction", and almost all of these sites
will remain so 'til dinosaurs return to Earth. The assumption is your "under construction" site is permanently stagnant, just like all the others, and thus, fewer than 5% of visitors will return. For reasons clear only to you, you may never have any intention of really completing your site and could care less that everyday you shoo away potential customers. Sending the message that you have little faith in the legitimacy of your own website means the rest of us have little faith in the legitimacy of your business. If your site or page
is genuinely under construction, and "ready to launch any minute now", wait until it is completely ready before this content, or any reference
to it, is published.
That means waiting to activate hosting and/or domain names with hosting companies who automatically put up an Under Construction page or message on your behalf. And if you went through all this "under construction" trouble just to have an email address, for Kat's sake, at least put up a one-pager with a little content and some contact information. Don't leave your visitors hangin'.
Internet users are onto "Under Construction"
Internet user: "I always take "Under Construction" to mean "In my heart I want to have a really
cool website but I just don't give a crap."
Internet user: "We don't care if a page is under construction.
Just don't take us there."
Web designer: "This line [Under Construction] has become one of the clichés of the web. Don’t bother
telling us this.
Put something there for us to read...or, if possible, just
don’t put your site on the net until it is finished. Don’t allow a site to be found
until you think it’s ready."
"While "Under Construction" pages suck, I also hate websites that say "Coming Soon".
Nothing more annoying than going back after three years to see that something is
"I think it's a self-conscious thing. People want to put up a site, so they put up an "under counstruction"
notice as a deflector for not providing content."
2) Pricing Pages with no Pricing
If you've been reading the manual, "Secrets to Hiding and Withholding Online Pricing" - - burn it. We've heard all the reasons for why you do it: 1) your prices are negotiable, 2) your prices may change and it's too hard to update the website, 3) your pricing depends
upon different factors and may require a discussion before
a quote is given, 4) you don't want your competitors to have access to your prices.
So what if these reasons matter little to your online customer? Assumptions will be made about the lack of this crucial information: your pricing is too high, or you're trying to fleece them, or this is a trick to steer them into making a phone call to hear your sales pitch. People online like to do everything online, from comparative shopping to the final purchase. Just as customers look for pricing to be on items in the brick-and-mortar stores, they expect no less of their online experience. Why dedicate a whole page to pricing - typcially with the obvious name of "pricing.html" - just to prompt users to "call for a quote"? Maybe you get a few calls from this little trick, but in the end, you forfeit the many who bypass your website in search of the website - your competitor - with full disclosure. If your business is service-oriented and you find it difficult to put down hard numbers, give them a range. Start with the lowest quote you typcially give as your base price, i.e. - "Pricing starting at $299 .. $35/hour... $199/month... $0.22/document... " etc.
Users gripe about hide-and-go-seek pricing
Internet user: "I go to the pricings page, and there is no pricing information! If I go to a pricing
page, I want pricing information."
E-commerce Site Owner: "I myself hate not being able to find a price on something, and I've had customers thank
me for having the pricing online."
User interested in trialing software: "[I] noticed that if you go to the pricing page, there is no
pricing mentioned. I'm not interested in evaluating a product that I have
no idea what it would cost me."
Internet user: "I called a bakery that didn't have their prices online to order cupcakes for my wedding and was quoted - oh, let’s say $2.75 each. I called back weeks later for a quote for the same cupcakes, without mentioning “wedding”, and was quoted significantly less. Another example of the great wedding rip-off. People like this will never put their prices out there.
Internet user: "I personally don't like having to click "buy" or "order" to find the pricing, I want
a pricing page or the price on the product pages... but maybe that's just me."
Internet user: "If I see [something] without a price I assume:
-it will be really expensive
-they haven't got a fixed price, they are going to screw me for as much as they can get."
Internet user: "Whenever I go to a site that doesn't have product pricing its clear I
can't afford whatever it is they are selling. If I was in the corporate world it
might be different. That said I do really dislike not having some idea of price and
being forced to contact the company."
Internet user: "If I can't find a price on a product web site I move on. I don't have time to
waste on the phone when doing first order evaluations."
3) The Splash page
This is the "cool" Flash intro animation that plays upon a visitor's arrival to a website. It's basically your website advertising - your own website. Our website usage stats show IF there is a "skip" button, it's clicked within 1 - 2 seconds, which means people want to get past it and to the meat of your content as quickly as they can. And, if they don't have the option to skip, they leave the website. A Flash intro is a barrier to someone who is already interested in entering your site. Cool, for the sake of cool, does not impress visitors.
Did you know 80% of Internet users hate Flash intros?
Internet user: "The only website that could possibly benefit from a flash intro is a website that sells flash intros…"
President of a media firm: "If you must offer a 'skip intro' option, shouldn't your better judgment kick in?"
Internet user: "If I'm going to a Web site, I want information. I want information quickly. It could be written in 10 point pica for all I care. I'm already interested in what might be there, why turn me off?"
Internet user: "I'm okay with viewing a flash intro once, but seeing it every time I go to a site is a bit much."
Internet user: "Watching geometric shapes and text float about the screen for several minutes is annoying."