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Is your website a success?

01 Feb 08

In the seven years since website company Zeald.com has been in business, its Chief Executive, David Kelly, has played a part in building more than 2,000 websites and improving more than 5,000.  Kelly and his colleagues have learned a lot during that time about what makes a website successful, and now that knowledge is available to everyone.  Published in New Zealand by Phantom Publishing, The Secrets of Website Persuasion comprises David Kelly’s recommendations on how to go from a website that ‘looks good’ to a website that actually performs.
Complete with case studies, checklists, examples, and clear suggestions, Kelly takes his readers through a chronological progression from strategy to implementation to measurement.  He addresses common pitfalls and explains the key elements that every business owner should focus on when either building or changing a website. 
“Great websites become great websites (just like great businesses become great businesses) through careful systematic improvement,” writes Kelly.  His book details how to be systematic, and how to thoughtfully plan and develop a website that takes into consideration both your goals and needs and desires of your potential customers.
Kelly writes from a position of both experience and success – Zeald.com has shown sales growth of nearly 400% in the past three years, and the formulas presented in The Secrets of Website Persuasion are all formulas that have been employed in Zeald.com’s business model.  “Our real point of difference,” said Kelly, “is that our focus is on helping businesses achieve results with their websites by recognising that they are a powerful sales and marketing tool, not just a shop window to an organisation.” 
Kelly begins his book by explaining that there are only two things that determine a website’s success or failure – the number of visits, and the percentage of those visits that turn into a sale or lead (the conversion rate).  “If you have a website that is not achieving anything for you, then I 100% guarantee that the website will be failing because of one (or both) of these areas,” he writes in his introductory chapter.
Using two semi-fictional case studies, Kelly illustrates the importance of these two areas by detailing key factors in the order that they should be considered – persuasion; promotion; and test, measure and tune (TMT).  What many people do not realise, explains Kelly, is that the strategy phase is mission critical to the success of a website.  It is detrimental to fall into the common trap of ‘design first’.  The five chapters of The Secrets of Website Persuasion take the reader through an overview, strategy development, website planning, content creation, and the TMT phase. 
What is your ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP)?  Do you know how to define it?  Do you know where it should be listed and explained on your website?  If not, read Kelly’s book. 
What are your objectives?  Can you explain what you hope to achieve with your website?  Do you want more direct online sales, or are you hoping to generate enquiries and leads?  Who are your target customers and how well do you know them?  If you’re not able to answer these questions, or you think there is room for improvement, The Secrets of Website Success is for you.  The book is not a DIY guide for building and designing websites – it is an easy-to-read, comprehensive manual for SMB owners who want productive websites that generate measurable results.
Enter our prize draw to win one of five copies of The Secrets of Website Persuasion or buy it online at www.zeald.com.   

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