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Optimizing a site: USdish revamps page for Web data plans

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COMMENTARY | USdish, a satellite TV operator in the U.S., recently unveiled a site redesign for Internet data services. The efforts of the Salt Lake City-based company is a case study of how to optimize a website.

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Make Your Page Convert

With commercial pages (such as USdish/SatelliteTV.com), businesses have three goals: Attract visitors, retain attention, and increase conversions (i.e., sales, signups, email subscriptions, etc.).

USdish's web designers understand that it's crucial to retain extremely short attention spans on the Internet.

From my 11 years experience as a professional blogger and affiliate marketer, I treat Web surfers as if they all have ADHD. My research concludes that most visitors spend less than 7 to 9 seconds scanning a page, and most never skim beyond a couple paragraphs.

Sales Copy: Inform and Close

Here are my three observations of what USdish got right:

1. Look at the top of their site. From a sales standpoint, SatelliteTV.com is ready to close on a prospect by summarizing the value proposition (what customers get and the price) and providing a phone number. Always give "ADHD visitors" a chance to convert (i.e., buy, subscribe, respond, etc.).

There's no time for games. Businesses, whether they know it or not, deal with precious mini-seconds when interacting with Web visitors.

2. SatelliteTV.com made its site scannable. On the Web, readers are skimmers, which means that most don't fully read the text (i.e., words) that you write. They glance at a few words, and within seconds, someone on Facebook interrupts their attention through private chat.

Grab their attention by creating bold text, subheadings, lists, and small sections. Research shows that's what make their eyeballs "stick" to a page.

SatelliteTV.com uses strong colors (red and yellow) along with bold black text to catch readers' eyes.

3. Finally, a picture is worth a thousand words. USdish uses photos that convey the meaning of their Internet data plans. Their images suggest that the high-speed plans will allow customers to enjoy multimedia content (such as videos) and browse an increasingly sophisticated Web.

At the bottom of the page is another chance to convert: A phone number where a prospect can call to sign up.

Instant Gratification

Your content must always add value throughout the page. That means cutting out non-essential information that readers (scanners) won't care about. Remember: They are quickly skimming a page and looking for every reason to leave.

I recently graduated from Yahoo!'s Contributor Academy (Level 3 certification). One training module states: "Web and mobile surfers have itchy trigger fingers: They want instant gratification, and if they don't quickly spot what they want, they move on. Your mission: to catch readers' attention and keep it."

Use that advice when creating a website and writing Web content.

As a designer, treat your page as if it's competing with Facebook, TMZ, YouTube, and Twitter because most visitors are always looking to leave the site you are creating. They want instant gratification and entertainment NOW!

Contact: Marv Dumon at marvin.dumon@gmail.com

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