Create a Website that Sells

Website That Sells

There are many differing opinions on the best way to create a website. However, when it comes to creating a website that actually sells, your choices become much more limited. Why? If you want a website that sells, you must follow proven principles from sales and marketing.
But the first step is to become crystal clear on what you want.

What is your primary outcome? Are you building your list? Are you providing content to interact with your prospects/customers? Are you selling a product or generating a lead?

Only when you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, will you be able to achieve that.

There are many differing opinions on the best way to create a website. However, when it comes to creating a website that actually sells, your choices become much more limited. Why? If you want a website that sells, you must follow proven principles from sales and marketing.

But the first step is to become crystal clear on what you want.

What is your primary outcome? Are you building your list? Are you providing content to interact with your prospects/customers? Are you selling a product or generating a lead?

Only when you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, will you be able to achieve that.

Model Your Website After This Proven Method

A great selling website starts with great copy. But that’s only the beginning. Great copy alone won’t do it.

Advertising takes many different forms: websites, sales letters, brochures, video scripts, and many more. What do all successful sales promotions have in common?

They are modeled after a proven advertising method. That translates to the particular media being used. What do websites that sell have in common? They model successful marketing strategies and copywriting in the offline world.

Why dírect marketing and not something else? Dírect marketing is measurable. And the Internet (as a type of media) is closest to this type of marketing than anything else. Finally, this type of marketing is based on response, not awareness or image creation. Its primary goal is to make a sale.

Why Your Offer Is Most Important

Besides the copy there are two other important considerations in writing a website that sells. First is your offér. While many place huge emphasis on the headline, it’s the creation of a compelling, irresistible proposition that is most important.

Why? Without an offer with all the right ingredients everything else can be right, but you won’t make many sales. Sure a captivating headline is critical to draw the reader in. However, you can take them all the way from the headline and opening, through the body copy, to the close. And if the proposition doesn’t make it, they still won’t respond.

The offer has to do with packaging what you provide directly with what your target market wants and desires.

Without The Right Strategy, Great Copy Is Useless

right strategyThe final component of a great selling website is strategy. This is why it’s so important to know your outcome, before you begin. If your main goal is lead generation, to build a list you’ll want to create a lead capture page for your website.

If on the other hand your website page is selling a product, then you’ll want to create a landing page. A landing page is the marketing equivalent of a mail promo. The main feature is the sales letter, but there are many other structural and design elements that work together to make the sale. A landing page may include testimonials, an about the author box, and other information to help make a buying decision.

There are many other considerations when discussing strategy. But these are a few of the most important.

Notice I still have not discussed copy much. There are many that speak of the copy, like the Holy Grail. It’s not. It is exciting to see the possibilities of transforming really bad copy into great copy. However, it is ultimately not the most important thing. That’s why so often online marketers wonder why they got zero response. Stop blaming the copy, and look at the bigger picture. Even bad copy will usually get some response if everything else is right.

Having the right match between your target market, your offer, and strategy will get you pointed in the right direction.

What Makes Great Copy That Sells

As far as writing good copy? The biggest mistakes that I see being constantly made: Lack of clear communication. Copywriters who just don’t have a grasp of clarity in their writing. What you say is more important than how you say it, with one exception. When what you say is confusing or conveys the wrong message.

Simple SitesThe second major blunder I see is going to extremes. Either by screaming out an over-hyped sales message like a late-night television infomercial. Or the boring opposite: fear of creating a really hard selling message and erring on the side of too careful. This is where most corporate copy falls short.

The power comes right in the middle. Hard selling copy, that’s interesting without being unbelievable. Proving every claim you make. Drawing the reader into an emotionally irresistible web of desire. Not stopping until you ask for the sale at the end.

Finally, the last major copywriting mistake I see is writers going off on a tangent. Failing to stay zeroed in on the sales message like a laser. Every time you go off track there’s a good chance you’ll lose the reader.

That’s why it’s so important to have rhythm to your copy: A natural cadence of short and long sentences. The best way to achieve this is by writing out great copy by hand. To ensure your copy has a good rhythm be sure to read it out loud. That will easily expose any rough spots.

When you have this rhythm, write in the language of your prospect, and write clearly with compelling copy…then you will motivate the reader to act.

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Your Website As Persuasion Machine


The combination of the Internet, the Web, and technology has democratized business almost beyond recognition. Today the small, nimble, clever adaptor has the competitive advantage over their bigger, slower moving, ‘we’ve-always-done-it-this-

way’ competitors; but the confluence of the Web environment and digital technology is one thing, how to use it effectively is another. Not every trendy social networking gimmick, user generated irrelevance, and pointless viral voyeurism is a productive business communication tactic.

The Day Dinosaurs Died

Like the dinosaurs that once ruled the world, the giant behemoth corporations that once dominated the business landscape have become fat and lazy, relying on muscle rather than brains, on statistics rather than understanding, and on technology rather than insight.

never-forget-dinosaurAs these companies got bigger, they became top-heavy, corrupt, and stagnant, throwing their weight around rather than innovating and adapting. Oh yes, the big boys are still around, still doing what they’ve always done, jumping on every trend ‘du jour’ promoted by the ‘blogosphere’ without any real understanding of what it can accomplish, but hell, they figure if they throw enough you-know-what at the wall some of it is bound to stick, or so they hope.

But the handwriting is on the wall, the giant Internet meteorite has already hit these corporations right in their balance sheets and they are tumbling into irrelevance. The list of extinct corporate giants grows, and the march to Chapter 11 continues unabated.

So how does the smart, fearless, innovative thinking, business decision-maker take advantage of the Web’s ability to even the playing field? The answer lies in their ability to use the Web as a persuasive communication medium.

Persuasive Communication

The Web is really a very simple concept: it is a place that allows you to communicate your message to your audience. What could be simpler, but like anything democratic, it’s messy: a jumble of the very good and the very bad, and a whole lot of mediocre in-between. And in today’s overcrowded Web-centric business environment there is little room for the mediocre.

In the final analysis all marketing, branding, positioning, advertising, and public relations is about communicating a persuasive message that attracts attention, generates interest, stimulates desire, triggers experiences, produces memories, and prompts action. And what Web-enabled communication tool gives you the best chance of delivering that kind of persuasive message? Web Video.

Persuasive Web Video Communication

The Web has some of the most effective creative video presentations you would ever want to see, and it also has some of the worst.

Easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive technology has created a plethora of do-it-yourself efforts. Some DIYers do it because of cost, others do it because of ego, and some just figure they’re smarter than the people who do it for a living; and in some cases they may be right. Not all professionally produced Web-video is created equal. If your Web-video team is not pushing you to be bold with a focused, defining, differentiating message, then you’ve hired the wrong people.

Communication intended to persuade is a complex undertaking, one that requires a better understanding of how messages are communicated than it does the technical production issues. When people watch a video, what they see is far more susceptible to both intended and unintended nuance than a simple face-to-face conversation.

Every Move You Make, I’ll Be Watching You

Every move you make; every vow you break; every smile you fake; every claim you stake; I’ll be watching you.”

– From the song ‘I’ll Be Watching You’ by The Police

Everything a person does or says is a sign, not just a communication of the obvious intent but also of the underlying subconscious subtext. In person, people have a built-in monitoring system that filters-out irrelevant verbal and non-verbal distractions, glitches and eccentricities, but on your website, in a video, those performance issues get magnified and can destroy your entire presentation.

In his book ‘Messages, Signs, and Meanings’ Marcel Danesi states, “Humans convey over two-thirds of their messages through the body, producing up to 700,000 physical signs, of which 1000 are different bodily postures, 5000 are hand gestures, and 250,000 are facial expressions.”

If your website lacks a video presentation, and instead relies solely on text communication, you are handicapping your business’s ability to persuade, convince, and convert website visitors into clients. And, if you do have video on your site, but it’s not producing the intended results, perhaps the verbal communication is in conflict with the nonverbal message, creating confusion and distrust rather than confidence and understanding.

Forget all the things you think your website should be doing; its most important and most critical purpose is to deliver an effective communication to your audience.

A Recipe for Web-Video Communication

Persuasive Web-video communication is a complicated process that involves numerous creative and technical talents, as well as psychological insight into performance issues: scripting, casting, producing, directing, editing, music, and sound design, all complemented by communication psychology, emotional resonance, and business savvy are required to create effective presentations.

Ingredient One: Attract Attention

Job one is to get people to take their hand off the mouse and pay attention; it’s the equivalent of someone yelling, “hey you” in a crowded room, everyone stops and turns to find out what’s going on.

Mark Hughes author of “Buzzmarketing” suggests six criteria that provide the hey-you-pay-attention affect: the taboo, the unusual, the humorous, the outrageous, the remarkable, the secret, and the titillating. Which of these criteria you choose to use depends on your brand image, your audience, and your message.

All these elements individually or in combination can produce the stop-look-and-listen effect you want as long as they are appropriate for your target audience.

Ingredient Two: Generate Interest

Sarah Wood of Unruly Media, a company that specializes in paid viral seeding points to high value relevancy as an additional key ingredient; it’s what turns the viral-for-viral’s sake into a purposeful, persuasive, viral marketing communication.

High value relevancy is based on the connection made through your video presentation. If your video doesn’t resonate in some way, you will lose your audience. Resonance can be established through the performers’ personality, the delivery of the dialogue, the scenario presented, the subject matter discussed, the point-of-view perspective, and/or the emotional content.


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Pix of the week


Optimise Photos or Images for the Website.


Creating graphics and posting images for your site is one fun thing to do in web development. Nothing makes your site stand out better than some great images.

Graphics and images can be used for entertainment, professionalism or a visual queue. A graphic designed properly can change your visitor’s outlook and/or decision for your site. It is important to you have images ready and optimized for your website.

Optimize Your Images

One thing to remember when creating graphics and images for your site is to optimize. What do you mean by optimization?

Optimization is a way to compress data to make your file size smaller. One way optimization works is that it will read through all the color of the image and use other color combinations to make similar colors. This will then discard some colors that will not be needed for the particular image. But there is a downside with optimization. You will lose quality in your graphic and/or images.

Quality vs. Size

When optimizing your images watch the quality compared to size. You want the smallest size possible for your site, making your site load faster. This will make it easier for your visitors and search engine bots.

If you image or graphic becomes too distorted, raise your file size. You don’t want a pixelated image on your site. You want your images to look good and professional. You just need to find a balance between having a clean professional picture and having a decent small file size.

Image Optimization Tools

Adobe Photoshop has put this into consideration in some of their new application versions. You can now do a File > Save for the Web Options and Adobe Photoshop has a pre-built optimizing process that is very good. You can choose what file type to save in and how much to compression and optimization. Adobe Photoshop is an expensive commercial program, another option is using Dynamic Drive’s Image Optimization.

Types of Image Files

Last thing to touch on is JPEG, GIF and PNG. There are so many file types, but these are highly recommended for web development.


JPEG is a compressed file that has very good quality standards. Because of its compression, colors and data are squeezed out of it to create smaller file sizes. This can cause some blur with images with sharp edges, which is great for photos. If you look at a photo there are no straight lines or edges. Everything is blended together, which why JPEG is great for photos. You can get great optimization out of a JPEG file.


GIF is used more for vector based graphics. A vector based graphic is when a graphic is made of lines and shapes. Vector graphic have sharp corners, edges or text. When dealing with graphics like described, it is better to use a GIF rather than a JPEG. A JPEG could case distortion on your sharp lines. GIF can also be use for animation. Frame by frame animation saved as a .gif will animate on your page. Transparency is another feature that GIF can support. You can save your images with a transparent background.


PNG is one of the newest web graphic technologies. PNG is great for quality and file size. You have the best of both worlds in a PNG. PNG can also support transparent backgrounds. The only downside to a PNG file is that some old web browsers don’t support PNG. This problem is becoming less and less a concern. But keep that in mind.

Quickest Time for Web

Optimizing images and graphics is almost a must in web development. Having big file sizes could cause some of your visitors to leave your site. If your site is too slow to load, you need to optimize immediately. Rumour is that you have 3 seconds to pull a surfer in. If you site doesn’t load in that amount of time, then you might lose them. Time your page in your browser and see how long it takes. If you are under a couple of seconds, you’re doing a great job.


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