Everything I Needed to Know About Web Sites
I Learned by Listening to the Radio
You can learn a lot about what to do, and what not to do, by listening to the radio. Here are a few songs you can listen to "On The Radio" (Donna Summer) that can also help you with your web site. And you don't even have to play them backwards to learn the lesson available from each tune. And now the TOP 10 songs…
"What's Going On?" (Marvin Gaye)
There was a time, not too long ago, when we first started to hear about the internet and we wondered what it was and if it could apply to us.
Music lesson: Of course our clients know what is going on and are using the internet, so you must have a web site.
"Stairway To Heaven" (Led Zeppelin)
Initially, when starting we first decide to build a web site, we believed it will lead to the land of riches for our loan company; but soon we find out that there are a lot of other groups we are competing against.
Music lesson: As in the real world, hard work, marketing, good rates and a bit of luck can lead to success.
"My Way" (Frank Sinatra)
One of the more important lessons we learn form the radio is about the content we provide on our site. At first, many loan companies put up a 'corporate brochure' site, complete with the President's greeting and message to shareholders.
Unfortunately, the shareholders aren't our audience and our customers don't really care as much as about what the President has to say as compared to what interest rates the President has to offer.
Music lesson: It is not what the President wants, it is what the consumer wants.
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" (Beatles)
Many sites attempt a nonconformist design method by doing such things as putting the navigation bar on the right or using drop-down java script boxes to allow visitors to find their way around your site. Your visitors are not searching for the answer to "what happened to Elvis"; they are attempting to find information about your rates and your company.
Music lesson: Make it easy to navigate and your visitors will stay longer. Use left hand navigation or top navigation with words that are easy to understand.
"Respect" (Aretha Franklin)
Aretha knows a little bit about Internet marketing to your loan customers. When designing your site, respect what your customer wants, and respect their time, by placing your most important information first.
Music lesson: Aretha knows what your customer wants - you should too.
"I Am Woman" (Helen Reddy)
Once there was a time when Internet users were predominantly males, complete with pocket protectors, who listened to tinny sounding radio music from their home-made crystal radio set courtesy of Radio Shack. The latest studies now show between 50 and 53% of all US Internet users are female.
Music lesson: Use nonsexist language in your content and appeal to both men and women.
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"What's Love Got To Do With It?" (Tina Turner)
"Let's Stay Together" (Al Green)
Long, long ago customers would come back to your loan company because you were local, they were loyal and you loved each other. In the more recent past, the 'local area' has expanded as your customers grab the yellow pages and call a couple of local loan brokers to find the 'best' rate for them. Rarely would these customers check with companies outside your city.
Due to the internet, the 'local area' is now worldwide. Now, in about the same time it used to take to call mortgage clients can find the rates for dozens and dozens of mortgage providers.
Music lesson: Loyalty, localism and love have been replaced by rates, information and global competition. If you want to gain the customers fleeting allegiance show your best rates and give them the best deal without forcing them to hunt your site.
"Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On" (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Another problem with many early sites is the use of "Side B" animated images. These images are typically poor quality clipart and often are the mailbox opening and closing, opening and closing, opening and closing over and over. At one time these tacky images were done simply because your graphic designer could do it, but this eye candy distracts from the real message of your site - your rates and your company.
Recently, the degree of sophistication has improved with programs such as Flash by Macromedia. Flash is a very nice program producing sometimes stunning effects, except there can be one little problem - it requires your visitor to download a special program to view your site. If your site is done with Flash, and your visitor has to take the time to download this program in order to see the content of your site, they will may leave.
Music lesson: Design for show, content for dough.
"Time Is On My Side" (Rolling Stones)
Various internet studies reveal that the average visitor to a site spends less than a minute, including load times. Be sure to have a fast loading host with graphics and content that will appear quickly.
Music lesson: While some people may still enjoy hearing the long version of "In-a-gadda-da-vida" or" Rapper's Delight," most people are looking first for fast information. Be sure to also provide the full version for those who need all the information.
"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" (Crystal Gayle)
At some time, for all loan sites, there will come the revelation that you are not getting as much traffic as you want. You have spent much time and money on your site. Furthermore you find out that loan sites are a lot like one hit wonders ("Ice, Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice), as most loan sites do not receive a lot of repeat visitors.
Music lesson: Make your site informative, lay it out in a manner convenient for your visitors and put all your best information up front to benefit your customers.
And when you do, you, and James Brown, will be singing "I Feel Good."
Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of MortgagePromote.com, a leading Internet marketing provider to corporate mortgage clients. On request, they conduct nationwide training seminars covering Internet marketing strategies, lead generation, web site development techniques and more. Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com.