Stop using Splash Pages!

I was recently at a client meeting where the client stubbornly insisted on incorporating a splash page on their website against my advice, claiming it builds a “brand”. I get a strong urge to voice my true profane thoughts out loud at moments like that but I know better..

A BRAND is not just a logo, picture or creative concept!
A BRAND has something called BRAND EXPERIENCE as its core component (intangible values). This experience must be reflected at every touchpoint. If my organization is supposed to provide a solution to a problem (be it a product or service), then my first and foremost aim is to make attaining that solution EASY and ENJOYABLE….this is BRAND.

Providing, yet another obstacle for someone trying to get onto your site creates a negative brand experience…and as if that’s not enough, everytime they return there it is again, your pretty logo blocking their way into your site. Do you really think that each website visitor (typically with a 3-click attention span) is thinking “wow, what a pretty colourful logo, this is really a great brand, i’m glad they keep reminding me what their colours are…”?

Think of running into your local gas station in a hurry to pay for your gas. Imagine opening the front door and entering a hallway with another set of giant mahogany closed doors at the end of it which have ” WELCOME TO COMPANY X “WHERE THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST” written above them. You have to walk forward and press down on the big heavy handles to enter….(the offline equivalent of having to do an extra click online). Now doing that once may not seem so bad, but would you still return to this gas station [website] if another one was built beside it with no extra door [splash page], just a place to make your payment [substitute with primary goal of your site]?

This is just a fraction of SPLASH page problems. An even bigger problem is search engine visibility. Search Engine spiders will crawl a splash page (typically the root directory of your website) and make their opinion about your website content based mainly on the text on that page (ususally…”enter here”..or “French” “English”). These words would be seen as the primary keywords on your website since they are dominant on your first page. Are those the search queires you are targetting? Have you looked at the latest stats showing the over 80% of users use search engines (specific keywords) to find what they are looking for (even if they know the url)? How many times have you Googled a wesite whose URL is familiar to you?

A splash page will hurt your website’s visibility consideraby. Don’t believe me? Google this “SEO and Splash Pages”

I’ll leave you with a link to one of my favourite blog entries on this topic:

http://www.jemjabella.co.uk/scribblings/scr-splash.php

 

The 1-2-3 Call-To-Action concept; simple yet often overlooked

I have always been a big advocate of websites that have a clear call to action based on their objectives. The most popular design I see is the “1-2-3” step concept. Example sites are: www.smartmoves.ca, www.mycanadaday.com, www.ready.gov. Can someone tell me what the disadvantages are of using this sort of strategy? I want to be able to play the devil’s advocate. As far as I see it, the 1-2-3 concept is fully measurable and helps address the short attention spans of today’s web surfers.

SurveyMonkey & FACEBOOK Polls – quick, efficient and cheap!

I often come across clients that dread the thought of having to do any sort of marketing research since they assume it requires hiring an expensive marketing research firm or using precious, overworked, internal resources. While this is true for a comprehensive in-depth analysis, a quick online survey is a different story. If you haven’t yet heard of services such as surveymonkey or the new Facebook Polls , then please join today and start saving taxpayer money!

Surveymonkey allows you to create and design your own online survey in minutes. Once you are done the design (numerous templates are available), you are provided with a link which can be sent to your list or posted on your website. What’s more, basic analysis is automatically done for you. For those wishing to do a more comprehensive analysis, the raw data can be downloaded and analyzed in a program of your choice (Excel, SPSS, SAS, etc…)

Facebook Polls is explained in this excerpt from an article by Alicja Gulajski of Market2world.com :

June 1st, 2007, Facebook Polls was launched. This product creates great value for marketers: this tool can be used to create brand awareness and gather critical information about your brand from Facebook community members.
For example:

fbpollssmall.png

Facebook Poll users create a question (with up to 5 answer choices) and are able to target the poll based on age, sex, location and even profile keywords. There is an initial $5 insertion fee, but the poll creator chooses the bid amount – the amount the user is willing to pay per response. Depending on the bid, and the anticipated results, Facebook estimates the wait time before results are received. Currently bids range from $.10 to $1.00 per response, according to TechCrunch.

The advantage of using Facebook Polls of course, is access to the more than 24 million active users, and over 100,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007. Not only is this a significant audience, it is segmented for you! You can target specific groups based on geographic areas, psychographic characteristics, age, etc…

What are you waiting for? Get started!