When staring at their Web browser, people have these choices: They can type in a URL that someone told them about, they can read their home page and follow links from it, they can look at a page in their history or in their favorites, they can go to one of the very popular sites and follow links, or they can go to a search engine and follow links or compose a search phrase.
In order to be the target of a link or be listed in a search engine, you must have a Web presence.
TWO IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES FOR YOUR WEB PRESENCE: VALUE AND FLOW
The first principle illuminating how people use the Web is that it takes value for a Website to be “sticky.” A 1998 article in Science magazine stated that Web surfers are constantly making a judgment about continuing to visit a Website or exiting the site. Two factors come into play: the value of the current page and the promise of value in future site pages. That is, even if the current page has a low perceived value, if there is an indication that the quality of pages may improve, users will stay on the site for another page or two more. But if there is no value, they will leave the site very quickly. This is why we hear so often that “content is king.” When they leave for lack of value, they are never coming back.
The second principle is that there must be a balance between the difficulty of using a Website and the rewards the user obtains from the Website. The term “flow” has been used to describe what occurs when a user loses himself in a Website. Flow occurs when the user becomes so absorbed that time and task temporarily become unimportant. Whatever the user started out to do online gets temporarily forgotten while they enjoy your site. When flowoccurs, direction, inhibitions, and caution give way to impulse, and the user is much more likely to join or buy something promoted on the site. The site must be both interesting and easy to navigate for this to occur.
Flow is also a concept that applies to movement from one Website to another. Banners or textual links must be in context and create a smooth transition from one site to another to be effective. Otherwise, the flow is broken and interest is lost.
Once you have planned a Website that has value and creates flow, you need to direct traffic to your site. The four important goals of traffic building are:
1) obtaining the right domain name,
2) obtaining good publicity,
3) obtaining an effective portal presence, and
4) utilizing and maintaining flow in the placement of your Internet ads. Ads, of course, can be free, exchanged, or paid. All of these will be discussed in detail in future lessons.
To be an effective Internet marketer, you need to analyze and understand Internet traffic and, very importantly, you must understand that the “traffic” consists of human beings with feelings and interests and desires. You must understand that they are looking for what they want to find – not what you want them to find. You must understand that they will get there through their methods – not the methods you may prefer for them to use. The old broadcast media methods of controlling attention do not work so well on the Internet. It’s a new game. You must use valuable content and ease of use to create flow. You must properly position your site within the flow of Internet traffic. Once you get this right (and you will), you are on the road to becoming a very successful Internet entrepreneur.