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Ballet and the Internet

August 8, 2012

As many of you know, our terrific content developer Stephanie Federico has moved on from building content to analytics and handing the content over to me.  I am impressed and inspired by her work and thrilled to continue talking about website development with you.  But today I want to talk about dancers.

A ballet dancer spends years perfecting their plié, tendus and rond de jambes at the barre.  Painters spend a lifetime with their subjects.  A writer with words.  A lawyer with laws.  Like these masters, a website developer must commit daily to perfecting their homepage.

Sounds archaic doesn’t it?  Most basics do.  With affiliate marketingsocial media, e-blasts, subscriptions, RSS, blogs, and apps how often are you thinking about your homepage?  Probably not enough.  Unfortunately many developers, ballerinas, lawyers, CEOs and presidents forget the basics and you can see it in their work.

Just like the subject line of your e-blasts (we’ll get to this later) your homepage welcomes guests to your website and introduces them to your business.  Its your handshake, office, and marketplace that (if designed effectively) will yield interest, trust, and loyalty.

Added bonus:  When you do your work well it inspires others to do the same.  We want to see the dancer land their 32 fouettés in Swam Lake, but they need each plié to get there.

Let’s go.  The basics:

1.  Personalize your homepage for first time visitors.  This might mean changing your banner photo periodically, updating your homepage products or news, or creating a special pop-up for first time viewers.  Whatever it is, keep it fresh.  Ask yourself: What are my top sellers?  What’s my most popular product or page view?  What’s a new product?  Did I get a favorable review this week?  Is there a particular product or sesrvie that customers need this week over others?

Popular products change daily, sometimes hourly, so make sure you’re keeping track of your business and share them on your homepage.

2.  Keep track of customer’s behavior.  Keep track of your customer’s behavior on your website so you may guide new visitors or returning through a similar popular path.

3. Offer recommendations.  If you’re paying attention to what your customer are buying today, you may be able to predict what they want tomorrow.  You need step 2 to do step 3.  That’s how it goes.

4.  Keep needs in mind.  Human beings are simple.  We need water and food to survive.  If your product is a restaurant or a recipe include photos of your food.  We like that.  If you’re offering a travel service, post photos of water.  Unconsciously your clients will automatically draw towards you.

5.  What’s your font size?  Steve Jobs studied calligraphy during his short stint at Stanford.  He used this knowledge to develop Apple’s typography.  And guess what?  People love it.  If your font looks bad or is too small to read you will stress out your clients.  Who wants to buy what they can’t read?

6.  Happiness.  Look at your homepage right now and come back…how do you feel?  If your eyes are squinting, your brow furrowed or your mood dropped you need to re-design your homepage.  Happiness is one of the best marketing tools there is.

Happy Baby: photo courtesy of share.leaderinus.com

When you make people happy, smile, or feel good they want to get to know you.  They trust you and will invest in you.  What makes you happy?  Find a way to integrate that to your site.  We know there’s plenty of things that make us unhappy, don’t let your homepage be one of them.