Ten Secrets of Websites That Sell

By: Thomas Young, MBA

Here is a simple proposition.  Create a Website that sells and you will make money.  Sounds simple right?  However, it is much easier said then done.  Sales, or sales leads, happen because Website visitors trust your site and get value, among other things.  Here are 10 secrets of Websites that sell by building trust and adding value.  These things are secrets only because so few companies do them.

1. The Website is NOT Afraid to Sell

Many people think selling is not for them or it does not come naturally.  These people are afraid to sell and it shows on the Websites they manage. This can be avoided when people understand selling.  Many people see sales as taking value from someone, when in fact the opposite is true.  Effective selling is not manipulation.  A top producing Website will please the visitor, not take advantage of them.  Effective selling is just helping people get what they want and makes them happy.  You must understand this concept before you can communicate it and sell on your Website.

2. Focus on What the Visitor Wants

Most Websites focus on what they want the visitor to know about their business.  This happens because it is an easy way out.  It takes much more work to understand, than it does to be understood.  Many companies miss this in their Website design, as they push to tell people what they want them to know, rather than take the time to understand their visitor.  It is better to have a Website that helps people get what they want.  This can only happen if you take the time to understand what the visitor wants.

3. Content Answers Questions

This is not a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, but rather content that is relevant to visitor’s needs found in product and service information.  The most commonly visited sections of a Website are the product and service areas.   This is where your best content should be found.  People buy on the Web because they get answers to their questions.  Getting answers helps the visitor trust the Website and the company.

4. The Website Explains Value

The content on a Website must clearly explain value on an emotional and rational level.  Buyers on a Website will evaluate the emotional part of buying and also consider the facts as they interpret them.  The Website visitor sees value from the price and time put into making the purchase.  This must be communicated to the visitor.

5. Designed for the Visitor

In a perfect world, the actual visitor would build a Website that gives them exactly what they want.  That is not practical, so Website designers should work towards building a site that best meets the needs of the consumer.  To do this they must first understand the customer.  Websites that do not conduct surveys or usability testing are not selling at their potential and are leaving sales on the table.  The actual Website visitor should have feedback into the design and development of the site.

6.  Communicates in the Visitor’s Language

Many companies have their own terms and phrases for their business and this is often seen on a Website.  For example, a homebuilder may use the term “see our available inventory” rather than “see our available homes.”  Inventory makes sense to the homebuilder, yet no one has ever invited me to their “inventory” for a party or dinner.  The Website communicates in a language that is understood by the visitor, which is usually a simple and easy to understand.

7. The Website Removes Barriers to Sales

Many Websites do the exact opposite if this and make it hard to close sales or acquire leads.  Common sales barriers on a Website are navigation schemes that make sense to the site developer, but not the visitor.  Other examples include cryptic links, hard to find content or too much design and more.  There are several articles on our Website that discuss this issue in more detail.  Websites that sell have fewer barriers then those that do not sell.

8. The Website Builds Trust

A Website that is easy to use and meets the needs of visitors communicates that people have taken the time to understand the site visitor.  This builds trust.  The sales process does not move forward without trust.  A Website can build trust or erode trust for your company.  Put yourself in the shoes of your site visitors and ask if you are building trust on your site.  If many Websites were sales people, they would be fired because they are not building trust and confidence.

9. The Website is Honest

It is common for companies to withhold information on a Website for various reasons and this leads confusion and a lack of trust.  This is commonly done for fear that competitors will get access to that information.  Successful companies that market online know that it is better to sell and make money, then to worry about what your competitors might be doing on your Website.  The Website visitor will not be concerned with why information is not on your site, they will just not trust your business as highly.

10. The Website Listens to Visitors

What? Are Websites growing ears?  How can a Website listen?  Visitors know when a Website is listening because it is intuitive and gives them what they want.  Obviously, the Website is not going to grow ears, but the Website developers and managers are the listeners.  They should focus on listening to visitors just like the best sales people listen.  It is important that Website stats are tracked and that site visitors are able to provide feedback in a variety of ways to the company.  This can happen through online surveys, email, forms, telephone surveys and other market research tools.

Ok, so now they are not secrets any longer.  Review these 10 concepts and find ways to implement these ideas so that your Website sells.


Thomas Young is CEO and President of Intuitive Websites, a Colorado Springs based Internet marketing, Website design and usability firm. To learn more about Intuitive Websites contact Tom at 719-481-4040 or tom@IntuitiveWebsites.com.

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