Are these 3 Trends Killing your website and sales?

You may be shocked at what you see when you visit your site today...


 

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         February 21, 2003                         Today's circulation: 164,009

"Are these three recent trends killing your website?"

Have you been doing business online for more than a year? If so, you need to know about a few trends that are affecting your website. And if you're new to web marketing, this tip will help you as well.

I recently added statistical tracking to a few of my web pages and the stats revealed some interesting trends I was not fully aware of. Today I'd like to show you my stats and explain why they reveal such an important facet to your web marketing success (or failure).

 
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It seems that over the past year or so, technology has brought about a few trends that many webmasters are not keeping up with. Below is a sampling taken from my last 2000 visitors during February 2003, which will reveal these trends. This is fresh statistical data so visitors to your site would likely resemble this sampling as well.

Trend #1: Monitors Are Getting Sharper.

Is your website ready for this change that is already in full swing? Do you even know what your site looks like from different monitors?

This trend is all about screen resolutions. Here are the stats showing what resolution my website visitors have their monitors set to...

1. 800 x 600 pixels: 52%
2. 1024 x 768 pixels 36%
3. 1280 x 1024 pixels: 4%
4. 640 x 480 pixels: 3%
5. 1152 x 864 pixels: 2%
6. 1600 x 1200 pixels: 1%
7. Other Resolutions: 2%

Just a few short years ago, 640 x 480 pixel resolution was leading the pack. But the old 15" crt monitors seem to have been relegated to the junk pile. Just 3% of my visitors use them. Even 800 x 600 resolution, leader of the pack just a year ago, is slowly losing ground to better quality monitors. I suspect the recent surge of LCD monitor sales, with their sharper resolution is the reason. (I just got one myself!)

And if you have not seen your site with high resolution, you may be surprised at what it looks like. Remember, all your sites need to appear professional from AT LEAST these two resolutions which some 88% of visitors are using these days...

800 x 600 pixels: 52%
1024 x 768 pixels: 36%

To view your website with different resolutions, you can try right-clicking on any blank area of your desktop. Then click properties to bring up your display settings. Under the settings tab you can adjust the screen area settings. If your monitor is older, it may not be able to gear UP to the higher resolutions. But you can certainly give it a try.
 

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Trend #2: What Browser War?

Do you know which browser(s) your site should be optimized for? Well, it seems the browser wars of the late 1990's are all but over. Sure, there are still plenty of die-hard Netscape users and a few other browsers such as Opera have gained a small market share, but my stats tell the true tale. Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser is the most widely used. In fact, the margin is not even close. Here are the stats showing which browsers my visitors are using...

1. Microsoft: 93%
2. Netscape: 6%
3. Other: 1%

Now keep in mind, these are just MY site stats. But it is a sampling of 2000 or so visitors during February 2003. So what do these stats tell me? Well, for starters, all my sites had better look great when viewed from Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. If you're designing sites that look great in Netscape but not so good in IE, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. I'm not saying forget about the other browsers, but numbers don't lie. Make sure your sites look great in IE and more than 90% of your visitors will have a positive experience.


Trend #3: Popup Blockers Are Here.

One last trend that has been developing, especially during the last year, affects popups. You know those sometimes annoying pop windows that appear when you're browsing the web? They may be going away, slowly. While I have no hard stats to prove this trend, I HAVE noticed a slight decrease in the effectiveness of popups.

Why? Well it seems that many ISP's are now offering fr*ee popup blockers which effectively neutralize these windows. This will necessitate a change in strategies for many marketers. I myself use a "popunder" at my http://www.make-a-living-online.com and http://www.bizweb2000.com sites. And to date they have been a very effective way to grow opt-in list subscribers.

But I expect the advent of these popup blocker tools to affect this strategy adversely, especially over the next year. So any marketers relying on popups and popunders had better shift gears at least gradually during 2003. A good start would be to offer your fr*ee ebooks and newsletters via a "regular" signup form that is visible on your web pages.


OK, that's it for today. I hope you've discovered something revealing about your website marketing campaign.

See ya in March...
Jim Daniels

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