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David T. Fagan: Your Website “Must-Have Features” Checklist

It’s articles and conversations like this that where I always feel the need to start with this disclaimer.


Image courtesy of cooldesign/

DISCLAIMER: There are no “silver bullets” in marketing.

This means that there is no one thing that works every time for every person in every place. The idea is to always implement as many “best practices” as you possibly can…so here they are:

  1. Good picture of the product, and if you are in the advice business then YOU ARE the product. Speakers, authors, coaches, trainers, attorneys, dentists, chiropractors, realtors and CPA’s cover a fair amount of the industries I am talking about.
  2. Third party images that act as social proof. I’m talking about awards, degrees, media recognition for you, your clients or products and services. Always sell through other people, organizations, and companies.
  3. Testimonials that take the shape of both video and written words. Show diverse groups of people in both natural settings as well as sophisticated backdrops.
  4. Images that move are keys to catching the eye and holding people’s attention. Sliders or carousels do this well.
  5. A strong ethical bribe is paramount in capturing people’s information. I’ll give you (blank) if you give me (blank). The more valuable the gift, the more information they will give you. Videos, mind maps, demonstrations and digital books and magazines seem to have the best response.
  6. Have an opt-in and a way to use auto responders. Capturing leads of people who visit your website is a top priority.
  7. “Attention getters” are hugely important, especially when you have a website with lots of info on it. These “attention getters” should directly or indirectly focus on what’s in it for the website viewer or prospect.
  8. Surveys or polls that capture feedback and promote interaction are showing positive results when tracked. Getting people to click, take action and participate will be fundamental in 2014.
  9. Compartmentalize your website. Things shouldn’t blend or be hard to read. You should be able to glance from area to area and read everything easily.
  10. Have social media feeds. Having Facebook or Twitter updates happening on your website allows you to easily and automatically be updating your website all the time. It also adds credibility and sophistication to any site.
  11. Don’t let good sales copy ever take a back seat to “pretty” if you want to make good money.
  12. Have lots of images that trigger the right emotions you want for your business.
  13. Your message should match your demographic. Age groups, professions, etc. can alter how you might determine your colors, images and video.
  14. Have lots of articles or blogs that people can share, comment on or even rate. Keep in mind there is more credibility in an article than a blog.
  15. Always put an image or thumbnail next to your articles.
  16. Your pictures, social proof, ethical bribe, opt in, slider and attention getter should all be above the fold on your website. This means that all these things should be visible to the average viewer on your website without them having to scroll down. Everything above the fold is your website real estate.
  17. Have your website built in a way that you can update as much as possible yourself. If your time is extremely valuable, have someone on call that can make changes for you at the drop of the hat.
  18. Update your site regularly so people feel the need to keep coming back. This is another reason to have social media feeds and post articles.
  19. Use up-to-date formats, designs and graphics. People can tell when you are using something out-of-date. The better it looks, the better you look…and the more you can charge.
  20. Make sure your sites are very specific to a purpose. Selling sites, squeeze pages, membership sites, main sites, etc. can all vary a little. Set your expectations appropriately for your website.

People in the advice business who sell big ticket items for services will most likely never be able to sell online. Your main site, with the checklist I just provided, should be mostly about demonstrating credibility and influence.

Although some of these points are more important than others, we will keep the math easy. Go ahead and give yourself 1-5 points for every one of these “must-have’s.”

  • A 91-100 points
  • B 81-90 points
  • C 71-80 points
  • D 61-70 points
  • F 51-60 points

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