What Are You Really Selling? It’s Not What You Think

Now there is a silly title, of course you know what you’re selling. You have probably been selling it for years so you know your products inside out … you know exactly what you’re selling.

And some of you might really know what you’re selling … but I bet most of you really don’t know and I can say that because I can look at your website and it will instantly tell me that you haven’t got a clue.

I was reminded of that yesterday when a new client called us to complain that he had a serious problem with his website. He was selling swimming pools … big concrete inground swimming pools … and he had recently bought the business and we had inherited each other because the website we had built for the previous owner went with the sale.

Now that previous owner was one of those people who really did understand what he was selling and the website had reflected that and had been quite successful over a number of years.

It had been successful because everyone who had been involved in building that website knew that the owner of the business wasn’t selling swimming pools … he was selling dreams.

He was selling dreams of beautiful pools that added value to what might otherwise be a rather ordinary property. He was selling dreams of family fun around the pool on hot days.

He was selling dreams of envious neighbours who would admire the pool and its surrounds and the way the lighting made everything look beautiful at night.

A website full of dreams

Because our old client knew what he was selling the website was full of images of the beautiful pools that he had built. There were photos of the pools at night with lighting that added a level of magic to the scene.

There were photos of the pools in landscaped surroundings and in some homes where the pool and the surrounds had become an extension of the house.

The text was all focused on the benefits of owning an inground concrete pool and it was written in a way that would build on those dreams.

Turning dreams into nightmares

the images you use on your website could also sell nightmares

When the new owner of the business took over he asked for access to the website because he wanted to add extra images and text and he assured us that he knew what he was doing and he would look after the website from then on.

And then came the plea for help … he had been ‘updating’ the website and it had crashed and no one could access it … not even us. After some work from the server end we managed to get the site back online and then we saw what he had been doing.

In addition to the beautiful images that we had on the front page of the website the client had added a huge image … and a gallery of several more images … that destroyed the dream and turned it into a nightmare.

The new images showed construction work … huge holes dug in backyards … mud, dust, mess, disruption, machinery, workmen, noise and all the things that no one wants to think about when they’re dreaming of a new pool.

Of course, all those unpleasant things are going to be there during the construction of a pool but do people really want to be reminded of them when they’re thinking about installing the pool of their dreams?

What about you and your website?

It doesn’t really matter if you’re selling a service, a single product or you’re running an online shop … you still should ask yourself: what are the dreams that you are selling?

What does the text and images on your website sell? A dream or a nightmare?

It’s not just my idea

Just in case you think that I’m talking through my hat … or if you want to know more about selling dreams … have a look on Amazon for a book with the title of ‘The Boron Letters’ by Gary and Bond Halbert. It’s available in Kindle and paperback versions.

Gary Halbert was arguably one of the top copywriters of all time and the book is a series of letters that he wrote to his son to explain the secrets of effective marketing.

Gary Halbert worked in an era when the Internet wasn’t around and yet his techniques are just as usable today as they were when he developed them.

Why did the website crash?

It seems that the website fell over because the client tried up upload a bunch of images with file sizes that were larger than anything I’ve ever seen anyone try to upload before.


By |July 6th, 2021|Websites|Comments Off on What Are You Really Selling? It’s Not What You Think

SSL Certificates are not secure

So are they a waste of money for a small business? Can you survive without an SSL Certificate?

We’re all fixated on SSL Certificates because Google decided that every website needed one but the fact is that SSL Certificates makes nothing as secure as Google would have us believe.

An SSL Certificate does not guarantee that your computer is secure and it does not guarantee that the server that hosts the website you’re looking at is secure.

All that an SSL Certificate is supposed to do is make the connection … the lines … between your computer the server that hosts the website your looking at secure by encrypting the data that flows over that connection.

But guess what? There’s a little problem that the industry calls “Man in the Middle”.

Hackers can … and do … grab the data that is flowing over that connection and the data can be read by those hackers.

It certainly doesn’t happen all the time but it means that the whole concept behind SSL Certificates is a bit like the fable of The King’s New Clothes.

In the fable the King tells all his subjects that he is wearing the finest new clothes and they believe him … all except one little boy who hasn’t been brainwashed. When that little boy sees the King he quickly realises that the King isn’t wearing any clothes at all … he’s completely naked.

And that’s what the reality is behind SSL Certificates.

But wait, there’s more

If every one believes that SSL Certificates will keep them safe then what happens when they come across a site that does not have an SSL Certificate?

Most of them leave so it’s important to have an SSL Certificate just to keep everyone feeling that it’s secure and safe to deal with you.

That green lock that appears up in the address bar is everyone’s security blanket and even the hackers and scammers are displaying that lock on their websites.

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call or email us.

By |March 29th, 2019|Websites|Comments Off on SSL Certificates are not secure

Free SSL Certificates

There is no doubt that a free SSL certificate sounds like a wonderful option for any small business who wants to do business or advertise their business online.

But is it really a bargain or are there problems tucked away in the fine print that no one ever reads?

We do not recommend you use a free SSL certificate for several important reasons that Stuart talks about in this video.

Yes you do have to pay for the alternative but the benefits of using a paid SSL certificate over a free one far outweigh the cost.

As always, we’re ready to answer any questions you may have about SSL certificates so please don’t hesitate to call or email us.

By |March 29th, 2019|Websites|Comments Off on Free SSL Certificates

Web Design Tips

web design tipsIt may seem hard to believe but the success of your website … and your business … depends on the design of your website.

A well-designed website produced by someone who knows what they are doing can enhance your business and encourage people to buy your product or service.

A poorly designed website designed by someone who fails to understand the fundamentals of web design can drive people away from your business and ultimately destroy your business.

So how do you ensure that your website is well-designed? Here are a few tips.

Know what you are trying to achieve
Have a clear idea of what you want your website to do. Do you want it to entertain? Do you want it to inform? Do you want it to sell a product or service?

A website that is designed to sell a product or service can also inform visitors but it should never try to entertain.

Don’t follow the crowd but stand out from them
Just because every other website you see in your line of business tries to do things in a certain doesn’t mean that they are all doing it the right way.

It is almost certain that many of them have copied from each other without giving any thought to whether what they are copying will be effective or not.

Keep your website focused on the outcomes you want
If your website is designed to sell a product or service everything … and I mean everything … that goes into the design and content should be aimed at just one thing. Everything should be aimed at leading your site visitor from a vague interest to actually buying what you are selling.

If there is anything on your site that distracts from that aim, it should be removed.

Make sure people can actually read the text
Pastel colours in backgrounds and text look cool and you see them everywhere. Don’t be tempted … especially with the text.

Strong contrasting colours … and for text nothing is as strong as black text on a white background … is the only thing that you should be using. Faint text colours are hard to read and if people can’t read your text then they will leave.

“Busy” websites tend to drive people away
Clutter … avoid it at all costs. You might think that a busy web page will impress your potential clients but all it will do is make it harder for them to find the information they need.

White space and just a few images is good and it makes people feel comfortable when they visit your site. People who feel comfortable are more likely to buy what you are selling.

Make life easy for the people who visit your website
Make things easy for the people who visit your website. Don’t make them have to go looking for important information … because they won’t.

Contact details should be on every page on your site. If people have to come to your business or office, then include a map so that they can find you.

Simple, standard fonts make sales
Standard sans-serif fonts … use them even though you may think that they are boring. People have no trouble reading standard sans serif fonts and that’s important. If people have trouble reading the text on your website, then they won’t.

Not everyone has good eyesight
The size of the font that you use on your website is important. Remember, no everyone has the same 20/20 vision that you do and if people struggle to read the text on your website because you have chosen a small font they won’t stick around to buy what you are selling.

Follow these web design tips and you will end up with a business website that won’t win any design awards and it won’t be the coolest website in cyberspace but it will work as a sales machine for your business and that’s more than most websites out there do for their owners.

By |February 2nd, 2016|Websites|Comments Off on Web Design Tips

Calls to Action

calls to action will increase your bottom line onlineThere are times in the web design business where you get a phone call from a client that leaves you wondering whether or not you somehow managed to wake up in a totally different world to the one you went to sleep in. A world where basic website elements such as calls to action are of no importance.

A couple of months ago we were building a website for a new client and when they were happy with it we made it live.

The next day I got a phone call from a close relative of the client who told me that he needed to talk to me because his relative (our client) really didn’t know much about websites and there was something on every page of the website that needed to be changed.

That was a little surprising but, because I knew that this person had bankrolled the website, I felt that I should listen.

Basically what this person objected to, and wanted changed, was the call to action at the foot of every page. Our client was selling a service so the call to action asked people to call his number to arrange a free quote.

Calls to action are fundamental

Calls to action are fundamental to any website that is selling a product or service … they have been for all the years that Toni and I have been in this business and they will be for years to come. Basically calls to action are a necessary part of a website because, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

When it comes to websites and encouraging people to buy what you’re selling, you have to tell people what to do and if you don’t tell them they leave without doing anything positive.

However, according to the guy who called me, calls to action were a sign of desperation and he wanted me to remove every one of them. And he had the experience to back up his demands … he had built a website.

Yes, one website and that was enough to make him an expert.

I won’t detail our discussion but the calls to action are still there on every page of the website and the website, combined with our client’s Facebook business page, is working very well … as we knew it would.

Actually, over the years, we’ve had a number of people who questioned whether or not they needed a call to action. We’ve been told that calls to action are too aggressive … that people don’t need a call to action to tell them to buy a product or call about a service … people know what to do without those rude and blatant calls to action.

Do they? Any A/B testing where A has a call to action and B does not will quickly show you that without a call to action on every relevant page your website won’t work as effectively as you would want it to.

So no matter what you might think of those directives to buy now or call now be sure to include them because they work.

By |January 3rd, 2016|Websites|Comments Off on Calls to Action

3 Fundamental Rules of Web Design

ClipboardHere are 3 rules of web design that you should ALWAYS remember when you are thinking of designing your website, re-designing your website or making alternations to your website.

Forget any one of them and your website could turn into a waste of time, money and space.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
There are lots of things you can do with a website and lots of things you can include in your website.

You can have bright colours, flashing lights, dancing bears, your favourite music from your teenage years and much more but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

If your website is about selling your products or services how will dancing bears and your favourite music improve your chances of making a sale?

If your website is about business, then your website needs to look professional. It needs to look like a business website.

It needs to send a message to the people who visit your website that they can rely on your business.

Will dancing bears, flashing lights and music do that for you? I think not.

Just because you do doesn’t mean anyone else does
Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder but when it comes to websites the “beauty” perceived by the website owner is seldom what anyone else sees.

You might like pastel colours, unusual fonts and something quite different for the navigation but is that what your site visitors want to find?

Do they want to have to squint to ready your text or struggle with fonts that may look wonderful but are impossible to read?

When it comes to business websites your potential customers want the information clearly displayed in a format that they can understand.

If they can’t find the information that they are looking for then they leave because they know that someone else will give them what they want.

If you’re not in the business of entertaining then don’t try and entertain.
If you have a business website then it’s there to sell your products or your services … and maybe do a little educating as well.

It’s not there to entertain people and the more you try to entertain the fewer sales your website will generate. When people come to a business website they expect information and some way to buy what you’re selling … they don’t want to be entertained and if you try they will perceive that as being a waste of their time.

While most people tend to waste a lot of time online they don’t want to do it when they are trying to do business.

Every item that goes into building your business website should be there for no other reason than to sell your products or services.

Anything that doesn’t do that is a waste of space and will only encourage people to look somewhere else for what they want.

By |December 29th, 2015|Websites|Comments Off on 3 Fundamental Rules of Web Design

Your Website is Not About You

WarningI know, the title of this post clearly sounds as though I have lost my marbles.

How could your website not be about you?

If your website is not about you then who is it about?

Well the simple fact is that I haven’t lost anything and I am definitely not joking when I say that your business website should never be about you.

I know that is undoubtedly hard to accept or believe and if you don’t accept what I have just said then you’re not alone. A great many business website owners, and web designers, out there don’t understand that fundamental fact.

They believe that their website is very definitely about them and they want to tell their customers all they can about themselves … but their potential customers, and your potential customers, don’t care.

All any potential customer cares about when they visit a website is what’s in it for them. What will the product or service that a business website is selling do for them?

They don’t care if you have been in business for five months or 500 years. They don’t care if you are carrying on a family tradition or honouring the memory of someone who was near and dear to you but has now passed away.

They don’t care if you love dogs, drive an exotic sports car and are only seen at the best parties. All they care about is what your product or service will do for them.

Will it improve their life? Will it save them money? Will it solve some problem that they have been struggling with for years?

Can they have it immediately? Will they have to wait for weeks to have it delivered? Does it come in their favourite colour? Will they be the first on their block to own one? Will they be able to return it if it doesn’t work?

Will you really deliver it or are you going to take their money and skip the country with it?

Those are just some of the things that people are interested in when they are visiting your business website.

Is your website going to answer those questions or is it going to tell them over and over again how good you are and how wonderful your product is?

If you don’t answer their questions; if all you want to do is make yourself, or your business, look good then your potential customers are going to leave without buying a thing.

In short, your website needs to stress the benefits of owning your product or using your service.

By |December 27th, 2015|Websites|Comments Off on Your Website is Not About You