Online Marketing: Core Elements of a Good Hub Site - dummies

Online Marketing: Core Elements of a Good Hub Site

By Alexander Hiam

The best hub websites for online marketing are easy to navigate and feature clean, uncluttered, appealing design, despite having a great many options embedded in them. Be sure to include the following elements in your site if you want to increase your chances for success:

  • Simple, clear navigation: Before you do any designing, you want to ensure that people who visit your site can find what they need. To guarantee your hub site is easy to navigate, make a list of between three and six main categories or topics around which your site will be organized.

    When a home page has too many tabs or buttons, nobody can find anything, and viewers tend to get frustrated and migrate away to some competing site that’s easier to use. Also help visitors click from one section or page to another in your site based on content-oriented links (for example, under the topic Warranties, link to Submitting a Claim).

  • Streaming video, animation, and database management: You can use these technologies as important delivery methods, like showing a speaker in action, demonstrating a new product or providing services, and supporting the consumer online.

  • Photographs: If you have good photos of your product in use, candid shots of customers, or any other relevant pictures, post them to illustrate your site. Or budget another $500 to $1,000 to add stock photographs to your site.

    Sites with relevant images — especially of real people — are graphically more appealing and hold the visitor’s attention longer. Stock photography houses sell low-resolution images (at a lower price) that are optimal for the web and load quickly. Check out stock photography sources such as Corbis, Getty, iStock, or Shutterstock.

    Also look for useful images on Flickr, where photographers set up pages to share their work. If you like an image, contact the photographer directly. You may be able to use it for a modest price or even for free. The body of work there is growing rapidly.

  • An About Us button or tab: This button or tab links to a simple page featuring contact information, company history, customer testimonials, media clips, and photos and bios of key personnel. Try substituting short video statements for those boring photos of key people.

    The video footage can live on YouTube and be called to your hub website when someone wants to view it — this is a cheap and easy way to offer streaming video.

  • Bestsellers and special offers: This element is important if you’re selling products on your hub site. Feature bestsellers and special offers on the first page, along with links (in the form of buttons or tabs) to the handful of main product categories.

  • A call to action: Let customers rate or review the product or service. Offer e-mail sign-up for special content like white papers, how-to tips, or discounts (check legal requirements, of course).

    Run a contest for the best or funniest photo of the product in use. Offer a two-for-one day once a week, only redeemable over the website. The idea of such web events is that they stimulate some sort of action in which the customer or prospect participates, and you capture, if not an actual order, at least the contact information on a prospective future buyer.