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One of the reasons you have a website is to communicate with your followers and customers. Most of the time the direction of communication will be from you to them. In fact, most aspects of web design are focused on communications flowing outward from the website owner to the website visitor.

It’s often better to try to visualize your website as a two-way communication channel. You certainly need to publicize your products and services, and to give customers and prospective customers information that they’re looking for. But you’d probably also like to know certain things from and about them. For example, if they’re looking for something specific on your website but can’t find it, wouldn’t you want to know?

The most common way of facilitating this communication back to the website owner is through the use of an HTML form. You’ve probably seen this as a “contact us” form that appears on many websites – there’s a good chance you have one of these forms on your website already. Sometimes not enough attention is paid to forms, so they can actually be detrimental to the relationship you’re trying to build with your customers.

Don’t Request the Same Information Multiple Times

For example, HTML forms almost always need to go through some sort of “validation” process. The reasons for this are twofold. First of all, if the website visitor doesn’t enter their email address or telephone number correctly, then it will be impossible for you to contact them. Meanwhile, they’ll think you’ve simply forgotten about or ignored their inquiry. The second reason is to protect against malicious attacks on your website. HTML forms that are processed without checking the user submissions for dangerous text can often wreak havoc on your website.

If the validation process detects an error, you want to give the visitor a chance to re-enter their information. But if only one of the pieces of information they entered was improper, you don’t want to make them fill in every other data field again. Instead, send the user back to the form to re-enter the problematic information, but pre-populate the form with the correct information they already entered. It’s relatively easy to program this into the code that handles the form.

Be Careful What You Ask For

From a user’s perspective, being asked information that seems irrelevant to the purpose of form can sometimes drive them away. For example, if a visitor wants to ask a question about one of your products, then you might ask them for their name, email address and their question. The average consumer would expect to be asked for this information.

However, if you decide to use that inquiry form to try to collect detailed demographic information about your website visitors, it simply might lead to them not asking completing the form (and perhaps not coming back to your website). If your product inquiry form also asked them for their gender, age and the city and state they live in, many people would decline to provide the information (and think negatively of your company). Worst case, some people might provide fake information, which would actually do harm to your data collection efforts.  If you need to ask this information for demographics and to serve them better, let them know why you’re asking it.

Approach your website forms as if you were being asked to complete the form, and let that guide you.

Remember that the purpose of your website forms is to facilitate greater communication (in terms of frequency as well as the nature of communication), so you want your forms to be easy to find, easy to complete and not overreaching.

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earn-extra-money-onlineWhen I got started on the internet, there were a lot of entrepreneurs making hands over fists of money online.  Since then, time has considerably changed and now newbies are asking the question, is earning extra money online still working?  My answer, absolutely!

I own an ecommerce shopping cart system, I have clients who have been using this software since 2006.  It’s amazing to watch brilliant creativity come to life as these entrepreneurs create their online businesses.  I get to see (in the back office) just how well they’re doing ($$) all the while applauding the work they put it to create their incomes.

The key principle (in my opinion) to earning extra money online is:

  1. having a plan
  2. implementing the plan
  3. testing and tweaking
  4. follow-up and follow-through
  5. consistency

Knowing what you want to do is crucial in the beginning stages.  Researching and developing the plan and knowing how you’re going to bring attention to your products and services is the icing on the cake.  Who’s your target market?  Where do they hang out?  How can you not only communicate with them but, how do you get them to your website?  Having a website is important but, if your target market doesn’t know where you are how will they ever know you exist?  Last but not least, if you’re not investing in your “own” business by studying proven principles that work, then your plan to earn money online might just take a little longer than usual. [click to continue…]

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optinOne of the many advantages to using the internet to grow your business is the high level of automation available.  No where is this automation more evident than with the use of emails to contact a large list of customers.  In order to keep the email process clear of any accusations of spam you will need to use opt in emails.

When someone agrees to receive emails from you they are ‘opting in’ to your list or newsletter, that way they can’t accuse you of spamming them by sending them unsolicited emails.  When they visit your website they will be encouraged to sign up to your list.  In order to get them to sign up you can offer them something of value such as a free report, or a multi part mini-course.  Whatever your incentive is you have to make sure it’s a good one or your visitors won’t sign up.

Once you’ve got your visitors contact information it’s vitally important for you to carefully follow through.  Make sure they receive whatever you promised them and continue to provide them with quality information when you send out your follow up emails. [click to continue…]

Please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter below and I'll talk to you about business strategies that I recommend and results I've experienced myself that you might not see here on the blog -- when you do the work, you'll see results.
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