Magpie Publishing & Production
Here's something to keep in mind that will serve you well in communicating with and selling to your customers.
You are an expert on your subject. Your readers, or customers, are not experts and may not always know what you're talking about.
That break in communication could be costing you sales. Or in the case of a website, it could mean that folks just move right on to the next site in their search list.
So, deciding to take a bit of my own advice, today I'm offering you an explanation of some words you will hear about websites.
First of all, website.
A website is a collection of pages that represent you, your business or organization. It's your visual presence on the Internet.
When a person uses Google of Bing or other search engine, we tend to think of them bringing up a choice of websites. In reality they bring up a page on a website.
The difference is that search engines track individual pages that have a particular bit of information on them. If you want to learn about training your dog, you want to go directly to the page with the info, not necessarily to the home page of the "All About Dogs" website.
Which brings us to Home Page.
The Home Page of your site is the generally the first page on your website. Think of it as the virtual door of your Internet business. Usually it gives people a feel for what the site is about and what to expect, as well as introduces your business and your products.
I say "generally" and "usually" because everything's up for grabs on the Internet and you can do things however you want. Hey, it's your site.
But there are reasons for following general guidelines for designing sites and pages. One of the biggest being that people use the Internet in certain ways and expect to see certain things when they hit your site.
There are always variations on the theme and you can tailor your home page anyway you like to express your business and its special personality.
Also, the way people use the Internet changes rapidly and so you'd want to consider regularly tweaking your home page and website to keep it up-to-date.
Another reason I say the home page is generally the initial page of your site is because there are lots of times when you might opt to use a landing page as the initial entry to your site.
"One of the cool things about the Internet is your ability to specifically target very well-defined groups of consumers."
A landing page is a specific page you send people to for a specific reason, usually for sales or to get them to sign up for something.
Say you are having a sale on a special item and you are buying online ads to drive people to your site. You would send them to the landing page where you would have your sale item.
This takes us back to the Google-Bing search item. If you want to buy something you don't want to go to pages that don't have what you are looking for. You want to go straight to a page with the goodies. A landing page offers you the chance to send a person directly to your sale item and all that great sales copy to convince them to make a purchase.
One of the cool things about the Internet is your ability to specifically target very well-defined groups of consumers. Instead of trying to use one bit of sales copy to sell to everyone, you can pick and choose who are the most likely to buy your item and create a landing page just for them. You may even choose to have a number of different landing pages for your product.
Say you are selling a book on traveling to Alaska. Young college students wanting to hike in remote areas are buying the book for a different reason than a retired couple thinking about a cruise.
Instead of having just one page to promote and sell the book, you could set up a number of landing pages tailored to different potential buyers. When you put out a press release or an ad for your book in a spot where young college kids will see it you send them to "their" sales page.
Same as if you were inserting a promotion into a newsletter for retired professionals. You'd change the "website address" to be the sales page which you've designed specifically for retired folks planning to come to Alaska.
OK, I'm being an Internet Marketing Geek here, so let me rephrase this landing page info into something you may be dealing with whenever you shop online. Your small Kodiak business may not need lots of different landing pages for lots of different items. You just need to know how they could be used depending on what you are selling.
More likely, you, the online shopper, have used landing pages without even knowing it.
If you have ever read an article or an online review of a product and clicked on the link to learn more, you were sent to a landing page specifically tailored to the people who would see that particular article or review.
And that particular article or review was likely written in a variety of ways to appear in a number of different places-each targeting the specific demographic that reads that material in that specific spot.
So while the Internet allows you to reach a gazillion potential customers, it also allows you to target a very specific slice of a demographic. And good communication directed specifically to your particular segment of potential customers will lure them into your site just like a pink Pixie draws a salmon to your line and onto shore.
Maggie Wall has a master's degree in Internet Marketing. Her business Magpie Publishing & Production (Alaskamagpie.com) designs websites and coaches people how to get their business online and to attract online customers (487-4040). She also produces The LegHead Report located at leghead.com.