Friday, February 17, 2006

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Website More Approachable

Fantastic post from Google Blogoscoped, covering Google, the search engine world, online research, and other related (and unrelated) topics. It's run by Philipp Lenssen and the basis for many stories are news tips sent via email or posted in the forum.

Phillip finally connected after a few weeks. After reading The Power of Approachability, he posted about adopting the principles from the book to websites. It's pretty cool.

After reading Phillip's thoughts, I was inspired. So I decided to post my own list. David Letterman, eat your heart out...

Top 10 Ways To Make Your Website More Approachable

1) Put every piece of contact info possible: name, addy, cell, IM, everything. Customers need to talk to THE guy. They love a real voice.

2) Accept comments, good and bad on blogs, boards etc. Approachability is about transparency, and you need to show that you are open to critcism, and accept it gracefully. Don't be afraid to post a blog comment that says, "Oh shit, you're right. My bad."

3) THE ONE THING – when people come to your site, they have to think "OK, what's the one thing they want me to do?" Make it clear, big, bold, etc. Too many sites have SO much stuff that people get intimidated and walk away. Not very approachable.

4) Easy, memorable URL. And do a redirect to your blog. Nobody remembers www.hellomynameisscott.blogspot.com, but everyone remembers www.hellomynameisblog.com. Think about it.

5) Have pictures, personal stories, anything that tells the customers who YOU are. Approachability is underscored by self-disclosure, and if you want to "know your customers" you need to be proactive and let them "know about your first," then they'll reciprocate.

6) Speaking of customers, forget about customers. Customers, schmustomers. The most important rule of marketing is TO CREATE FANS. Make sure your site makes people say, "I love your stuff." Then find a way to bring them back and stay in front of them. I have the "number of days worn a nametag" (1934 today) and people come back just to see it. What could you do to make people want to come back and wonder, "Hmmm...let's see what they're up to now..."

7) If you don't have a blog, you're a putz.

8) Make your about page like a "meet Steve" or "who is Steve" and ALWYaS have a pic. People need to connect your website with your face so when they see you walking down the street they can approach you and say, "Steve! Dude, great site!"

9) Don't have one of those stupid forms that says "we'll try to address all entries and get back to you." Forms suck. People hate them. Put your actual email like scotthellomynameisscott.com and tell customers to email YOU if you have a problem. So you get spam, who the heck cares! Like Rick Warren said, "it's not about you."

10) Go to www.websitesthatsuck.com and make sure they look nothing like yours.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How can businesspeople make their websites more approachable?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com