Create the Perfect Home Page
It's your job to get customers to pick and click something they want to see next as fast as possible. If you don't do that, they're history. The best home pages tend to have very low seconds-per-view values. Get visitors off your home page and into something more interesting or relevant as soon as possible.
It's important to make your site load FAST. The average site loads in just under a minute on a dial-up modem, but the majority of people decide if they're going to stay on a site within eight to 12 seconds. That means they've decided whether or not to browse your site even before it's fully loaded.
Navigation accounts for at least 40 percent of your success online. Offer your customers several tiers of navigation: top navigation, bottom navigation and left-hand navigation.
>Top navigation shows the user what they're supposed to do on your site, whether it is to order or to inquire.
Sections that work include words such as "FREE," "catalog," "auction," and "Web specials." If you're driving most of your traffic from offline methods, include an "Express Order." Tie a visual such as a photograph or a graphic that tells your customer who you are and what you do into the top of your navigation.
>Bottom navigation is a regurgitation of the three to four items you listed at the top as well as links to your site map, privacy statement and contact information.
>Left-hand navigation tells users what's in your store and how they're supposed to get around. At the top of your left-hand bar, ask them to sign-up for your e-mail list or a newsletter. Underneath, you should offer:
1. A couple ways to search—pure text and drop-down boxes work best;
2. The highlights of your store—the three or four items you really want them to check out; and