Hi Eamonn ~
It's funny how that first glance - that first impression - can make or
break a site, and how little time it takes to lose your visitor
because of design flaws and/or other perceptions or misperceptions.
As a designer, that's one of the things I stress: You only have one
chance to make a first impression. Your logs tell the story here and
you can see how important that first impression can be.
Let's take a hard look at the search terms you're talking about and
then, at your site itself.
1. Virtual Tours Wales
Let's face it, if a searcher is using the search term "virtual tours
Wales" or "virtual tour Wales" (with or without the quotation marks),
he isn't looking for information about how to make a virtual tour
site. He's looking for a virtual tour of Wales.
Not only that, your domain name - www.windowonwales.co.uk - IMPLIES
that this is what he's going to get ... so, without having the ability
to survey every searcher who uses that search term, I think it's fair
to state they're not getting what they expect when they land on your
site. And you can't deny that your log files bear this out.
The only thing a domain like this can possibly contain and make sense
to your average searcher is a virtual tour of Wales, a part of Wales,
or at least a lot of information about Wales. And this site doesn't
You've either got a poor choice of domain names, or a bad choice of
content. This is a good illustration of the site not delivering what
the visitor may be looking for.
Information about providing the service of preparing virtual tours is
much better on the 360websolutions.co.uk site; and not on one so
zeroed in on one particular country.
I concur with the commenter below saying you needs to concentrate on
copywriting, but anything less than information on Wales just won't
work with a domain named "Window On Wales".
My recommendation is to give your visitors what they are logically
seeking, information on Wales. Include a link to your other site as
the preparer of the virtual tour, which is both natural and beneficial
to the 360websolutions.co.uk site. The other alternative is to close
the site, which would be a shame since you've finally gotten to a good
location for the search terms you want.
2. The Design
Because this is a visual medium, your visitors want you to look like
you know what you're doing. That includes no visual design flaws, etc.
I have looked at Window On Wales on half a dozen browsers that I have
installed, including IE 5.1, IE 6.x, Mozilla, Opera, and others and
there is a major design flaw that literally jumps off the monitor
I have taken the liberty of taking a screen shot from my 19" monitor
set at 1024x768 resolution, marking the two areas that give cause for
confusion, and then reducing the image by about 50% so you can see
what I'm referring to without having to wait for a full-sized image to
You can find the image here,
Notice first the menu items over the curved design (under the big red
arrow) ... this is obvious to everyone and says the designer doesn't
know how to design a site, or the owner doesn't care how he looks to
others, or both.
Personally, I'd get rid of the curved background, AND the border
around the links ... but that's your decision. In any case, you really
need to fix the navigation links so you don't have that overlap which
is so distracting you can't pay attention to the page's content.
The other area is the copywriting ... and as mentioned above, with the
domain name for this page, you have simply GOT to keep it to a virtual
tour of Wales, and not information about preparing virtual tours for
your customers. It is the only thing that makes sense.
Then you need to get down to the nitty-gritty and write very tight
copy to bring your visitor to the tour or tours on the site. You have
one chance to pull your visitor in and have him take a look around, so
that first screen full of information should be compelling and make
him want to see Wales through your eyes.
There should be no copy to confuse the visitor, no mention of
preparing Ipix tours, just the copy to pull him to SEE the "windows"
you have on Wales.
A domain with this name will never be an ideal place from which to
sell your services - and trying to do so will feel like the old "bait
and switch" to your visitors, and to searchers looking for virtual
tours of Wales.
We are basically talking effective internet marketing, which includes
enough factors to confuse the best of us.
These include understanding searchers, search terms, search engines,
demographics and psychographics of your niche market, marketing
techniques, copywriting skills and techniques and other buzzwords,
which can mean a big chunk of change being spent to understand some
things which are pretty basic.
Trying to help you understand some of them might be easier to refer
you to Anne Holland's Marketing Sherpa website,
and to subscribe to her weekly newsletter,
While not the be-all and end-all of online Marketing Information,
Anne's site is good enough to be recognized across the board as an
excellent resource - and an excellent place to start. Take the time to
poke around. Follow some of her links. Take a look at some of the
white papers and even consider buying some which may apply to your own
situation. There is good knowledge there, presented in a logical
manner, and well worth taking the time to peruse.
Another source of marketing news and ideas, with answers contributed
by some of the Internet's most well-known "gurus" is Audette Media's
LED Digest (formerly the Link Exchange Digest).
This moderated list has been in existence forever (or seems like it
anyway). Moderated by Adam Audette, there are questions, answers and
comments there that become invaluable to the subscribers and members.
This is a temporary page until everything can be moved over to the new
site, but I highly recommend subscribing and I promise that in a very
short time there will be some information that you will be absolutely
thrilled to have obtained for free from this resource. Having
subscribed to this publication (and occasionally contributed to it as
well), I can only tell you that this is an excellent source of
information. If today's topics don't concern you, they soon will. So
take a good look.
A couple of other resources I would recommend your taking the time to
probe is Andy Bourland's MarketingVOX,
Covering the old Audette Media's I-lists, there is a great deal of
information on this site to help you understand the basics of
marketing, search and design.
And there is also ClickZ,
Which also has a plethora of information to help you understand how
best to present your message to the world.
Please remember that not every subscription has news I can use every
day; however, there is enough information on the sites, with links to
market studies, surveys and other information of use that it is worth
signing up and keeping up with content. If today's issue isn't
helpful, tomorrow's or the one from the day after will be.
Search technologies ~
I specifically stayed away from such terms as:
* search engine optimization
* effective design
* effective copywriting
or any other terms of that nature, because there are a LOT of sites
with good information out there, most of which eventually leads to the
resources I gave you above.
Instead of searching, I went to sources I knew were both reliable,
spot on and of value to you in running your online businesses.
Thanks again for the chance to work with you on this, Eamonn. For what
it is worth, I teach the most delightful group of seniors how to use
the internet. They are all residents of a very exclusive retirement
community, and they all have extremely good systems and want something
more from the internet than an AOL hookup.
To a person this afternoon they all said they expected Window on Wales
to be information about Wales, even a virtual tour of Wales. Don't
disappoint them, and increase that 'sticky time' by giving your
visitors what they expect.
Google Answers Researcher