Purpose of Website – again another old forum post resurrected:
I believe that a site has to have a purpose, and from there, that defines the structure. There are 5 major types of site (probably more, but I will focus on 5), these being info site, sales/signup site, Blog, online store, and membersite.
An info site is designed to provide the best and easiest source of information for the visitors. The visitors are usually repeat, and have already developed a relationship with the site owner and are coming to the site for information. A good example of this is Internet Based Moms.
A sales/signup site has a specific purpose to either get a sale, or a signup for a newsletter/report/ezine. It should not have anything else to distract the visitor. All items on the site should push the visitor towards that end goal. This is usually the beginning of the relationship with a new visitor so this is often the first site the visitor sees.
A Blog is a relationship building site, building that intergral trusting relationship between the visitor and the site owner.
The online store is designed to offer products for the viewer to come, pick and purchase.
Membership sites can be varied, but are usually less attractive and more business like.
Now most people first start with an info site, and try to work all the other sites into that info site. And then the problem is that visitors come to the site and get too distracted to actually do anything. Then site owners get frustrated as they are not getting sales or signups or product sales as people just come and go, never getting into the site.
My advice is to build two sites. The first is a sales/signup site (I prefer a signup site to start a list) that will get your visitors to do one thing, and one thing only. After they have done that, you can then move them on.
The second site would be your info site and/or your online store (or at this point you could try a combo as long as it is not too cluttered and the layout is direct to each area).
Many very successful online marketers just build sales/signup sites and nothing else. (or possibly a online store after they have enough of their own products to offer that). They just focus on building their lists and driving traffic to first sign up, and then purchase their product.
Back to your site. As an info site, I actually like your site as it is. It give good organization in your links on the left, and I like the what’s new at the top. I think the main part of the page is a little busy and could use some improvement to keep the clutter down.
I would suggest adding a signup site and give away some free info. Use that as the first page that you drive traffic to. Then in subsequent emails you can highlight various areas of your info site to show people what a great resource it is.
Lastly, an info site is a great source of long term organic traffic that will sustain your business for years if the pages are set up correctly.