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Post Info TOPIC: Here we go again

Veteran Member

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Posts: 42
Website Design

Great information Bridget!  We should all make a careful study of what you've written here and then analyze our websites to check for potential flaws.  Since our websites are effectively our 24 hour a day billboard to the world about us and our business they should be exceptionally well done.  A sloppy website can be an instant red flag to potential customers and you can lose them right off the bat.

I'm afraid the trend is that some of us think something similar to this:

"Let's see, how can I save some money on this start-up?  Hmmm... Oh, I know, I'll design the website myself!"

That's not to say that nobody should design their own website, there are some good do-it-yourself packages available, but I think that many people are quick to pick this area as one they can really save some money on.  I believe that this is a critical error that can really harm the home inventory industry if we let it. 

Let me ask a simple question here; How much is a good first impression worth?  A thousand dollars?  Five thousand?  A hundred thousand?  And how much does a professional web designer charge to make a great site?  If you have a client that hires you because they loved your website, and you do a great job for them, and you get 5 referrals from that job, then money spent on the website is a good investment.  (See where I'm going with this?) 

What may seem like a good way to save money now can have disasterous effects for us all in the long run.

Some potential clients that may be curious about getting a home inventory will visit your website or one they just found after a Google search.  If what they see is poorly designed & unprofessional looking my guess is that is about the end of the home inventory investigation for them, and that is not good for any of us.

Darin Griffith
SEMO Home Inventory


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Posts: 6
Here we go again

Bridget...well put and a big help as I redo my web site again! Thanks for the good information! Debbie n Louisiana


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Posts: 37

Top Five Potential Web Site Problems

From looking at multiple websites from home inventory service providers throughout the U.S. (and Canada!), I've identified a couple of common issues/problems on some of the websites out there. See if your website has any of these issues:

1. Typos and misspellings. Prospects will wonder how accurate your inventory services will be if there are typos on your website. If you've designed the website yourself, it's easy to overlook these errors after you've looked at your own page hundreds of times. Print out the pages and give them to a friend or family member to review. (Preferably someone who has a good command of grammar -- especially the use of commas and possessives!)

2. Too much text on the home page. Your website is (ideally) organized like a good book, with individual chapters (pages) that provide additional information. You'll increase the "stickiness" of your website if you have multiple subpages instead of several LONG pages of text. Also, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of talking about what the inventory report will include, show it! Inventory a room in your own house and put up an Adobe Acrobat PDF of the report. Show pictures of yourself in action. (New to the business? Offer deeply-discounted inventory packages for friends and relatives to build up your portfolio and generate testimonials and referrals. Get photo releases and include real-life photos [instead of stock photo images] on your website.)

3. Lack of navigation. Following the idea of your website being organized like chapters in a book, you need a well-organized "table of contents" to help your reader (prospective customer) find what they're looking for on your site. Generally, your site will have 5-7 major "sections" (but you may have 2-5 "subsections" under each of those, which can be additional pages that link to the major sections to provide additional detail). Main sections most likely include the five "W"s of journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why -- and How ... especially "how to buy!" Your sections might include: "Why Inventory," "About Us," "FAQs," "Pricing," "Contact Us." Navigation bars should appear on every page of your site (eliminating the need for a "Home" button. Your "Why Inventory" page should be the home page. If you can't answer that question on the home page, you need to fix your site. Use interactive links (you know, the underlined, colored words that you can click on to go to another page) to get into more detail. An example might be a subpage on what insurance companies require, or what a typical inventory includes, or facts about your specific geographic area and what the most common threats are (crime stats will give you theft information, and your location will determine if hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or mudslides are going to be most prevalent as a concern for homeowners in your area). Subpages should have a button to get you back to the main page you jumped off from.

4. The missing "What's In It For Me" factor. Clients who are ready to buy will be interested in the process of home inventory (what does it involve, how does it work, what do I get), but those who are at the beginning stages of their search need more information. Because this is a farily "new" industry, they need education. The education focuses on the emotional part of the decision-making process. In other words, if I spend $100-$500, *why* is that a good use for my money? Focus on the benefits: 1) Faster, more complete claims resolution process (getting you "back to normal" faster after a disaster or theft); 2) The security that comes from knowing that you'll get what you're paying for in the insurance settlement. (The idea of the 27" TV versus the plasma TV is a great example that's been used.) 3) In the event of a theft, if your items are recovered by the police, you have a better chance of getting them back (serial numbers and proof of ownership). These are just a few examples. Give them the odds ... i.e., "One in four families will file an insurance claim this year" (I'm just making that number up ...) Make it personal!

5. "Why Choose Us"? I've seen the same text, graphics, wording, and even pricing on multiple websites. Because these are geographically unique businesses (not competing for business with each other), that's not necessarily a BIG problem, but if there are other service providers in the market, you need competitive differentiation. In other words: Why they should choose YOU! You can focus on many different angles: Years of experience (if applicable), particularly relevant background (in law enforcement, insurance administration or claims adjustment, etc.), community ties (knowledge of the local market), etc. Find the thing that sets you apart and make sure you highlight it.



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Posts: 248

Hi Shonda,
I just took another look.  The logo looks much better and clear.  Here are a few items for your consideration:
1. Consider removing the gray bar at the top.... the 3 D effect is very outdated in web designs today.

2. Consider changing the color of the text "Don't Gamble...." at the top of your site so it stands out...maybe to the green color you are using for the buttons.

3. The {Chips of Middle TN} looks a bit out of place to me... consider incorporating this acronym into the introductory text below verses at the top.

4. Your boxes that contain sections for Home, Statistics etc....    It looks out of place to me up at the top, consider moving down below where you currently have the gray bar and removing the box.  If you just left justify and make in caps or bold... and possibly add some color it will stand out fine.

Keep in mind that a good web design should not have much clutter.... clean and simple is the way to go.  I like how you incorporated your family picture.... I like pictures! they allow people to connect with you.   I don't know about Vistaprint website services... they are a very good company for if the price is right and they have a good guarantee it may be worth giving them a try.  smile

Fred Knapp
Innovative Software, LLC
Business Development & Software Solutions


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Posts: 24

ok, Fred, "mister I look at eveything on the website" HA,HA, Please take another look at my website and see what you think. Do I need to add anything? Do I need to delete anything? Also, I want your opion . I received a call from websitepros through Vista print, do you know anything about them?



Shonda Thomas
Middle Tennessee
Inventory Specialists

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