Lead with Knowledge

Learn to secure your PCs from new and unknown hacker attacks.

Free IDC White Paper - Discover Secure File Sharing for the Enterpriseattacks.

Home  //  Article
Print Article    Email Article
E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
The secrets of making your site sell

"Make Your Site Sell! 2002" (MYSS), by Ken Evoy, is a new how-to guide that reveals many secrets of e-commerce. With more than 1,500 pages, including an exhaustive glossary and index, every Web site will find something in here -- and probably many somethings -- to improve profitability.

Evoy, a Canadian M.D., of all things, concentrates on the three essential skills for e-business success:

1. Develop a great product

2. Write a site that sells with deadly effectiveness

3. And attract targeted customers (i.e., traffic)

These may sound obvious, but being in any one of these is enough to sap a site's profits. And we've all seen sites that spent millions but failed on more than one of these essentials.

Much of Evoy's credibility comes from the fact that he developed a successful e-commerce site that sold one of the most difficult products imaginable. sold software that is based around a strategy for making a profit on penny-mining stocks (investing in gold-mining companies the shares of which had been beaten down to less than $1).

Furthermore, since his method would stop working if too many traders followed it, he pledged to sell only 1,000 copies of the program, ever.

As an e-commerce site, therefore, faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles:

1. Expensive sale

2. Dubious investment (many trading schemes don't work)

3. Offered by an unknown individual (Evoy)

4. Hard-to-convince target audience of stock traders

5. Site couldn't offer a trial download of the product

Despite this, Evoy's site sold out its entire quota of 1,000 copies in less than one year. During this period, he was able to raise the software's asking price from $132 to $670 ($197 to $997 Canadian). He also succeeded in improving his sales rate tenfold, from 0.1 percent of all visitors to 1.0 percent.

What Evoy learned by testing every conceivable aspect of this, as well as his main business,, showed him (and now the readers of MYSS) that some rules must be followed while other rules may be broken. He freely admits that "looks like a terrible site to most people." For example, the site was laden with obvious no-nos: It was composed of long, scrolling pages and originally played cheesy MIDI music. But the long text proved to be crucial "sell" copy. And when he eliminated music from the site for two weeks as an experiment, orders fell 70 percent.

This doesn't mean your site should begin playing tinny tunes. For one thing, Evoy's site was designed to appeal only to traders of depressed mining stocks, a unique subculture if ever there was one.

It does mean that you should test your assumptions against the experience of others -- and respond to feedback from the buying behavior of your customers.

MYSS 2002 costs $25.44 ($39.95 Canadian). You download a self-extracting file that unzips itself into four separate PDF-format books, complete with an exhaustive glossary and index. Some of the material is introductory for new Webmasters, so just skip that and go directly to the gold. Highly recommended.

Ken Evoy's "Make Your Site Sell! 2002"

(click the Make Your Site Sell link in the left column)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

E-business technology review: Put your ports up front

Whether you run your Web site from a single PC or a room full of heavy-duty rack-mounted servers, you may benefit from a new device that puts all your USB, serial, and other ports up front rather than on the back.

This is one of those "Why-hasn't-someone-thought-of-this-in-20-years-of-PC-history?" ideas. The so-called FrontX solution is simplicity itself. You run cables through your PC case from the ports on the back to a faceplate on the front. A little fold-down door covers your new, up-front ports until you want to plug in a digital camera, an external drive, a headphone, a microphone, or what have you.

This scheme does require you to open the PC case. It also consumes one plate opening in the back and a drive bay in the front. But I'll bet that the convenience of FrontX will make you think the trade-off is worthwhile. The device costs $10.90 plus $4.90 to $8.90 per port.

FrontX Up-Front Expansion Computer Ports

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Livingston's top 10 news picks o' the week

1. Online sales recover from crisis, says BizRate study

2. Web travel sales fell 55 percent during crisis week

3. Hackers attack Islamic sites, Taliban bans Internet

4. Intelligence agencies lagging behind in technology

5. E-tailers criticized for nondelivery, nonrefunds

6. Successful site links its address to TV commercials

7. Most spam is deleted unread, but permission mail OK

8. Making a cartoon mascot for your Web site

9. Many sites using new hierarchical menu script

10. Stop search engines from "caching" your site

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

E-Business Secrets: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

About The Author: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld Contributing Editor Brian Livingston. Research director is Ben Livingston (no relation). Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints:



SUBSCRIBE TO:    E-mail Newsletters  InfoWorld Mobile InfoWorld Magazine
Home  //  Article Print Article    Email Article
Back to Top


New HP digital projectors — click now for limited-time introductory offers.
SeeBeyond Webinar - Topic: UCCnet, Thurs., 9/26/02 , 8-9 am PST
The Sun™ LX50 server with Linux or the Solaris™ OE. Click here.
Limited-time offer to optimize your distributed network from Volera
Research and Compare IT Products FREE with Product Finder

E-mail Newsletters
InfoWorld Mobile
Print Magazine

Web-based training

Copyright 2001 InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.