North Fork Media



The NUMBER ONE thing you need to keep in mind when building or growing your e-commerce web site is TRUST!

It is very important to make sure it is obvious that people will be able to contact you if they have questions or problems. Place your contact information (telephone and street address) on every page. Place an email link on the bottom of every page. If you are a member of your local chamber, or the Better Business Bureau, place their logo at the bottom of every page. Offer a satisfaction guarantee.

Try to be upfront about everything on your site. Reveal shipping charges up front. Don't make someone go all the way to the last screen of your checkout to find out how much shipping will be. Tout the fact that your site conducts secure transactions.

Do link to other quality Web sites if the information on them would be of use to your visitors. Also, contact Webmasters of quality sites that are related to your topic, but not competitors, and ask if they will link to you if you link to them. Being connected to the rest of the Web demonstrates your confidence in your product or service.

Avoid looking like one of the Tricksters

You no doubt have seen those banner ads that say, “You have 1 message waiting! Click here!” Well, you didn’t have one message waiting there. It was a trick.

Because the Internet is full of tricksters like this, people learn not to trust what they see or read. It’s not like the local newspaper, where, mostly, everything you read is true. So, in order to earn customers, you need to distance yourself from those tricksters as much as absolutely possible!

So, let’s look at the style and techniques of the tricksters and see how you can be different.

1. Bad design. Tricksters can use good design, too, but not having it makes any site look amateurish. You will inspire a feeling of confidence in your site visitors by having a simple, clean, fast loading, professional design. Make sure that all the tech gizmos that you use on your site actually work properly by testing them. Clear navigation implies good service. Make sure all your product photos are good shots. Make sure your product information is complete. Use a tone of voice in your writing that your visitors will feel comfortable with. Don't use convoluted business english.

2. Opt in e-mail. There ain’t no such bird. Well, actually there is, but the tricksters already ruined this avenue of marketing. I get tons of mail from people claiming I have opted in to receive their message. Of course, I didn’t. They are trying to trick me into believing I wanted their little spamlet, actually ordered it, even. Because they do this, you cannot. Do not ever send e-mail to anyone with whom you have no prior business relationship. If you do ask for a customers email address, tell them exactly how it will be used.
DO allow people to sign up for a newsletter on your site. Do advertise in actual opt in newsletters that are relevant to your product. Check ‘em out first to make sure that they have one click unsubscribe, and confirmed opt in.

3. Pop up windows and pop unders came from the Web’s Red Light district. If your Web site throws popups you are subverting visitors from getting what they wanted from your Web site. Is that really what you have in mind? If your Web site throws popunders, again your Web site disappears behind the popunder for a moment. Do you think visitors don’t notice their loss of control? (If you’re tired of playing “whack a mole” with popups, get the browser, Mozilla, at

4. Typos. For some reason, the tricksters tend to not be able to spell. Proofread. Spell Check. Have someone else proofread.

5. Banner Ads are the original trick. They take you, the Web site user, away from your activity and almost always lead you to noplace you wanted to go. The first thing people learn after they learn to click on things is NOT to click on Those Things. That’s why they are so flashy and annoying. Their click through rate(how often people click on them) is abysmally low (less than 1%) and they only pay the Web site owner $1 to $5 per thousand times they appear. Web sites have to have a whole page full of them to even pay for their hosting costs.
What you can do different: Be specific. Be narrowly focused on one target audience. Be authentic. Use text ads. Don’t use marketing speak. Be yourself.


Trust builds slowly over time as people consistently get good results from using your site.

Call Tim Van Buren at 406-755-1080

or email your questions.

See also:
How to Make Money With a Web Site 101


©North Fork Media 2002
P.O. Box 2515
Columbia Falls MT 59912