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Web 2.0 may be the most overused, and misunderstood, term of the decade. What it means, in a nutshell is providing a user driven website. Basically many membership marketing websites are Web 2.0, especially social networking sites. The users determine the content in the form of forums, blogs, article posting, reviews and so on. To further enhance the usability of your website and thus the benefit to your members, here are a some ideas to provide a few interactive extras or member benefits.
Training courses are an excellent tool to provide benefit to your members. There are multiple forms for delivering your courses. You could use email - text or html or both, pdf downloads, website content pages, streaming & downloadable videos and audios.
E-mail training courses - Getting your members to sign up for an e-mail training course that takes place over perhaps eight weeks, is a great way of keeping your members engaged with your site over a period of time. You could make this a free course, a paid course or both. Maybe give them a few lessons for free and ask them to pay for the rest of the course once they are into it.
However, to get maximum exposure giving away an entire course or even multiple courses of good quality for Free will really get people coming back to your site. We do this with some of our own membership sites including MembershipMillionaire.com.
Video tutorials - This is a very effective form of training as it is much easier to show your members what you are doing, rather than trying to explain it. It prevents your students becoming frustrated when they can't understand what you are explaining, and reduces misunderstanding.
You could do the videos yourself using software or you could hire experts in video creation if you are not comfortable using software or doing videos. You could do simple power point slideshows and narrate them or you could stand/sit in front of the camera and talk.
With many Internet users on broadband or ADSL nowadays and computer processors getting faster and faster videos are now going mainstream.
Teleclasses - Teleclasses are similar to conference calls and are conducted over the telephone. They are an excellent way for your members to take part in live learning, as well as having personal interaction with you and other members of your site.
There are many services out there that provide teleconference lines for you to use. Some are free and some have paid services, you should decide what is best for your business needs. You could even record your calls, have transcripts made and then sell that as another product in itself. To top that off you could offer reprint or resell rights to those calls and sell licenses.
Product reviews - Reviews posted by other members is a fantastic interactive medium. It could also engage heated discussions! Nothing gets traffic faster than controversy whether good or bad. Let your members speak their mind about products and services they've used. This will not only help other members and visitors out but it will add lots of content to your site that the search engines love. Sites such as Amazon.com, SureFireWealth.com and others do this on a regular basis.
Guest interviews - Guest interviews with a well known personality who is connected with your niche subject will add huge credibility to your site. Promote guest interviews on your website and in your newsletter. This is a quick way to get great content.
You could post the interview on your site as website content. Or you could have the streaming audio or video up and even let your members download the interviews. Let them post reviews and comments to the interviews and you've got even more content.
Forums - Forums are a type of virtual community and provide the opportunity for people with similar interests to talk to each other. Your members will already have a shared interest in your niche subject, so creating active discussion forums won't be too challenging.
Here's a tip, have good forum monitors and admin in place to keep things smooth. Having multiple monitors can help you get your new forum started as well as keep discussions ongoing. You could keep your forums open to everyone. That will be better for search engine traffic but it can also attract spammers and forum hackers. Having a private forum for your members only can keep things more secure and full of like minded individuals.
Competitions - Encourage your members to post on your forum or blog by running a competition. Award a prize each month to someone who has made the best post on your forum, and each individual posting would be an additional entry into the prize draw. Or maybe give a prize to the member who writes the most reviews or posts the most comments each month to your site.
Involving your members in polls and surveys
Member polls - Asking your members to answer a simple question relating to your niche subject is a simple and effective way to get them involved in the site. Have a regular monthly poll and publish the results of the previous month's poll above the question for the current month.
Surveys - Some niche subjects lend themselves well to surveys. If yours does not you could conduct a survey about your membership site itself. This gives your members the chance to express their views and let you know what changes they would like to see.
Getting feedback can also let you know where to take your membership site. By allowing your members to tell you what they want you can just simply give it to them. We've taken surveys ourselves over the years and they can be very insiteful. The poll or survey data you generate can be gold to your customer feedback system for the future of your business.
Newsletters - Newsletters may be used to highlight forum posts, questions that people have asked, blog posts and even case studies, survey results, success stories and more. Get your community involved in the content both online and in your newsletter. They'll be invested in the results. We'll get more in depth about newsletters in another article.
For now I hope these gave you some ideas to get going with.
CEO's don't dress like they're homeless and wine tasting events are generally never held in the back of a liquor store. There's a good reason behind this. People generally do not follow the "don't judge a book by it's cover" motto, so the very first thing they do is, you guessed it, judge your book by it's cover. The same is true for website designs -people visit your site and immediately make a decision on if it's a place they're going to spend time (and money) at, or if they're going to lump you in with the millions of other sites that look just like yours and move on to something else.
As you can see, the benefits of having a professional design can be great, especially if your website is geared towards building your business. Outlined in this post are 7 different reasons why it's beneficial to have a professional web design.
1. Added exposure through CSS galleries
One of the benefits of having a professional design created is that you're able to submit the website to galleries around the web and have it showcased to audiences that you would have otherwise never been in front of. This brings in added traffic, potential clients and also adds to your authority by being talked about across the web and showcased as a professional website.
2. Your first impressions do count
Like I discussed in the beginning of this article, your first impression made is an important one - and a professional website design is definitely going to leave a better first impression that one that looks as if it was put together by your cousins neighbor who is 12 and just got his first PC.
3. Highlight your expertise with ease
With a professional website design, you're able to showcase the things you do best - if you're a designer, the design itself showcases your skills and if you're a writer, you're able to utilize a great design to highlight areas you excel at - maybe setting up a call to action box integrated into the design that lets people know what you do and how they can hire you. This would be much better than just having a site slopped together with no real direction.
4. Better design + more eyes = More sales
With your killer design, you're attracting visitors from all over the web - they want to sit & stare at the beautiful website design you've got on display and then, out of nowhere, they're going to get the urge to pull their credit card out of their pockets and buy tons of products from you. Well, it might not happen exactly like that, but a good design that brings in more visitors is definitely going to have some of that trickle into your sales.
5. Less bugs and cross browser compatibility
If you hire someone who is great with IE6 but has yet to hear about the fact that IE7 and IE8 are out, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome are all web browsers and they're severely behind the times, how do you expect them to make sure that your website is accessible to the visitors of your site? A professional web designer will ensure that your website is clearly viewable on all major browsers, thus giving you the ability to keep your professional appearance up in front of everyone viewing your site, even those who are viewing in the less-than-popular browsers (IE6).
6. Reduce your maintenance time greatly
With a professional website design, the time you actually have to spend cleaning things up and making sure everything is up to day drops drastically, giving you more time to focus on the things that matter most - traffic, sales and increased visibility. The majority of the time, your design will not even have to be touched for a year or two - until you're ready for an updated look, at which time you can contact your original designer to give you a face lift, keeping your hands free to, again, make more sales and run your business.
7. Increased search engine visibility
7 Benefits of Having a Professional Website Design
Some people may not believe it, but the benefits of a professional web design also trickle into your search engine rankings and visibility. For starters, a professional web designer will ensure the code markup is clean and easy to read - great for spiders who crawl your page. The other increase of search visibility comes from all of those links and the added exposure your website design gets across the web - design blogs regularly feature the awesome designs they find across the web and the new clients you bring in will feature a link back to your site at the bottom of their site, increasing your back links (this is something you'd have to make sure your clients are OK with - I know from my business that 9 times out of 10 they're fine with it).
Success of a website depends on many important factors. If one keeps the dos and don'ts of website designing in mind, the website will be a most visited, handy and expedient amongst the users. The sales ratio of the company selling its products online mainly depends on its website. If the website is easy to use and understand then it leaves a very good impression on the users leading to greater sales and publicity. Here are some important things to keep in mind while designing a webpage:
The homepage is the first thing visitor sets eyes on when he/she reaches the website. There should not be any unnecessary pop ups which will make the visitor go to other sites. The visitor should be given an easy and effortless route with uncomplicated set of choices. It will make the visitor feel comfortable using the website. The user should not feel it as a waste of their time and energy while using the website, which will make them go to other sites which offer good information with fewer complications.
Use of colors:
One has to be very careful when it comes to using background colors for the website. Color and the font used in the website should be soothing to eyes. Colors should not be painful for the visitors' eyes. The content and wording should be easy to read and understand. Use of intricate and convoluted language will make the user leave the site.
The user may not stay at the website for too long if the information he wants to download is taking too much time. So keep the data in small size which will reduce the download time. Avoid giving information in long paragraphs. Generally users do not like to read lengthy paragraphs. It does not mean that one should just give summary of the content. But if all the information is given in small subsections, it will make the user stay at the website and may prompt him/her to come back again.
Aim and purpose of the website:
The website designer should have clear idea about the aim and the purpose of his/her website. This will help in keeping the website interesting for the users. The website needs constant updating. So it is very important for a website designer to keep up with the latest developments. This will help in maintaining the website and will not make it outdated and inept for the users.
The website designing is a team work and takes joint efforts. Deciding on the other members of the web designing is very crucial. Each and every member of the team is required to show consideration for other members' efforts, hard work and time. This will lead to speedy and constructive outcome.
Keep above mentioned points in mind while designing a website which will definitely improve the quality of the site leading to maximum traffic and a boost in sales.