by Kelly Goto
It’s been more than a dozen years since I designed my first major web site. Shockwave was big at the time, as were large graphic downloads on a 14.4 modem. People were patient back then; the medium itself was so new and exciting that people didn’t mind the wait. For businesses, the focus was on just having a web site. We launched the first entertainment online store and declared success when 24 people entered, perused the site and left—without buying anything. A lot has changed since then.
Today’s web sites must generate revenue and real results. Now the focus is on creating web sites that add value, perform with ease, and offer services that people truly want. They call this ‘user centered’ and getting there is no easy task. For companies who depend on their web site to generate actual dollars and leads, a multi-faceted approach is necessary. Launching a web site is no longer the goal. It’s just the first step in strategic web development.
Enter Web Design for ROI. Many web consultants and companies shy away from the term “ROI” because they don’t or can’t truly measure outcomes. But not Lance and Sandra. Their answer is to focus on “conversion optimization” which combines search engine and e-commerce strategies with usability and user-centered design best practices. There’s no magic involved here. The secret is to deliver what your customers need, mind the details and use metrics to guide small, iterative changes to your site on an ongoing, proactive basis.
Done properly, this approach results in increased revenue and lead generation. Sound easy? After you read the book and try its no nonsense approach, you may think so. My advice: Read, review, implement and measure. The results will be worthwhile.
Excerpted from Web Design for ROI: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects into Leads by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus. Copyright © 2008. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.