Create a Website Your Customers Love

Last week, FEI marketing guru Marka went over the four key elements of an effective website. This week, she teaches the tribe how to create accessible, user-friendly websites. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot walked into FEI’s conference room, just in time for the morning marketing meeting. He immediately dropped his watch into the trash can.

“Why’d you do that?” Numo asked. “That’s a beautiful watch.”

“I know,” Zoot said, “but it’s always running fast. It doesn’t work as it should, so who cares how it looks?”

“You could say the same thing about our O-site,” Marka interjected. “Attractive design matters, but it means zilch if our O-site isn’t easy to use, load and navigate. If our O-site is easy to use, our customers will love it—and they’ll keep coming back. To make this happen, we must ensure we can answer ‘yes’ to these four questions…” [Marka started scribbling on the whiteboard.]

Does it load quickly?

“Few things are more frustrating to our O-site visitors than having to wait while an O-site loads,” Marka said. “Here are a few tips to help us minimize our O-site’s load time:

  • As a rule-of-thumb, O-pages should be no larger than 200 Kilobytes to ensure speedy loading. Like any rule-of-thumb, this one has exceptions. For instance, if you know your audience is tech-savvy and will be viewing your O-site on faster O-puters, it’s probably fine to go over this size.
  • Big image files cause O-pages to load slower. When placing images on your O-site, be sure to use compressed GIF formats for graphics and JPGs for photographs.
  • Use external Javascript and CSS files for your O-pages. Placing Javascript and CSS within O-pages increases their size and makes them load slower.

• Is it easy to read and understand?

“Our O-site must be clear and accessible to O-web viewers,” Marka explained. “Many best practices from our discussion on landing pages apply here. Here are some tips:

  • Copy: Write clearly and concisely. Write in short paragraphs. Include lots of headings and bullets.
  • Formatting: Follow the ‘F’ pattern. Include most of our O-page’s information ‘above the fold’—a.k.a., the part of a webpage that can be read without scrolling down. http
  • Images: Include relevant images, photos, charts, graphs, etc. on O-pages whenever possible, to improve O-page’s readability and support copy.

• Is it easy to navigate?

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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