By Andrew Neitlich

Here is a Web site that does what a professional’s Web site is supposed to do!

By Andrew Neitlich


Check out the link above and see a Web site that does what a professional’s Web site is supposed to do.

Mark is not a Web designer per se. He is a professional who generates reports for health care organization that use a software program called QMACS.


But his Web site is something EVERY Web designer can emulate:

1. Very focused target market.

2. Great URL.

3. Great headline to suck his audience in and get them to read more.

4. Terrific free offer so that prospects test him out before they buy.

5. An impressive testimonial that explains why Mark is unique.

6. An offer for a free report, showing that he educates people about what he does and establishing him as an expert.

7. Copy focused on the user, not on how great Mark is (although that comes through loud and clear).

I know some of you Web designers will say: Where’s the award winning design? Where’s the fancy splash page? Where’s the flash animation?

Well, I say: Who cares? Yes, there are differences that you need to incorporate as a Web professional. Of course. But too many of your Web sites (your own and your clients where it makes sense) don’t take advantage of these simple tactics. And as a result, you fail to attract the attention of your prospects, and look like every other Web designer out there.

Mark’s simple Web site gets results. Learn from it….

  • Jonathan Snook

    Does it get results? Did he have a web site before? What were the sales increases from the new site? How much of his business is generated through his web site?

    How do people even find his site? A search on Google for “qmacs help” doesn’t list his site in the top 20. It probably has to do with the fact that qmacshelp.com is only used to host the frameset..and his html is horrid. Now I know, you said he’s not really a web designer but a site is useless if nobody can find it.

    I may seem harsh but I’d be interested to know these kinds of numbers.

  • drakke

    I noticed he does not provide an email address. This is the first time I’ve seen this. Maybe this small communication barrier filters out some unqualified prospects. It must be working for him.

  • Dangermouse

    I agree (most of) the information is there, but a redesign would do him a world of good, maybe even increase his search engine ranking.

  • Thirteenva

    Interesting article. Has a ‘put you in your place’ feel but that is not a bad thing. I think as designers we get caught up too much in what we think will sell rather than what actually sells. Great article. As a designer I agree with the previous poster that the site may benefit from a redesign but the wrong designer could do more harm than good if it ruins what is already a good message.

  • Sergeant

    I think the header could be a lot larger and outstanding. It’s blurred away in it’s content right now.

    Also, you don’t say ‘welcome’ at your website, that’s just really wrong.

    Another thing. Why only one testimonial? Does that convince me? Maybe he made it up himself.

    I really think this isn’t a sales letter. It’s just a website loosing a lot of money at the moment. It could be so much more selling!

    For example: where’s his mini course or newsletter I can sign in for?

    When he builds a list, he can sell so much more.

  • Web Designers are a funny bunch. All the designers see is how basic his site is. But think about this…his prospective clients are not looking for web site services. They could care less to be stunned by visual presentation. They are looking for a service. I believe the most important thing when developing sites for people such as Mark is to get the product or service to the prospective client in the cleanest and most usable manner.

    Now, I do agree with Sergeant about some enhancements Mark can look into. A weekly or monthly newsletter of free tips and advice that will help bring users back is a great idea. I also think some of the sections, like the examples section, are much too long.


  • aneitlich

    Jonathan Snook,

    Regarding your assertion that no one can find his site:

    Mark’s target market is small enough that he already has a list to reach the key decision makers. So his strategy (I think) is to use a well-crafted letter to reach his market, make a similar offer as shown on the web site, and either get people to call him or drive them to his site for more information (and the free report).

    With services, not everything is about the Web and search engine placement (GASP!). Successful professionals design a multi-layered marketing campaign to reach their audience.


  • Its funny how you guys have enforced Andrew’s observations by your reactions. The very thing he was pointing out as the problem, is exactly what you have come back with. This wasn’t a lesson in web design, or even an exercise in pointing out a bad web design for the sake it.

    The point it differnt things sell in different markets. Even through all that, there is a common formula that can be applied (refer Andrew’s comments) in ANY industry regardless of how the site looks, in order to sell.

    You guys make it seem like web design is the be all and end all of marketing your business.

    I for one appreciate the formula Andrew has outlined, and will be using it in my future designs to ensure I have the best of both worlds. Sales copy and design.

  • What a coincidence.

    I just received a call from a gentleman who wanted to know how much we charged to produce a 4 page website. I told him there were many factors when building a website and the cost could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. That answer wasn’t good enough. He wanted to know how much. So I through out a random figure of $1000.00. He gasped and said that was way too much and hung up.

    At the time I was disappointed and relieved because it probably would have been a nightmare job if all he was concerned about was price.

    But after thinking about it, why couldn’t we create some website packages? We could appeal to two markets (1) Custom based solutions: TBD price and (2) Templated solutions: fixed price. Hmmm…

    We currently don’t post our prices for website design. Customers have many different needs and it’s just too hard to fit a nice round number into the cost of building a custom based solution.

    Purchasing a website is not like buying a Coke…or maybe it can be.

  • Oops…the post above was supposed to be for the last blog, “Should you post prices on your website?”

  • MarkB

    I agree with mrsmiley (and, natch, Andrew!) – I find myself too often locked into the ‘wow, that site is BASIC – how can they make sales with THAT?’ mindset. But if we sat someone down in front of this website, who wasn’t a hardened netizen like ourselves, they’d most likely find it a to-the-point, well-presented website that is upfront in what it offers, without the distracting bells and whistles.

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew :)

  • moagw

    Too right, that website is very pointed. Very specific in what he does and wants to do. The design (appearance) is done well. It won’t have a 5 minute flash intro, but why have it for this? Good point about that andrew.. Also SEO with a specific address like this wouldn’t matter. I doubt he did this in order to fly around the world and meet up with someone. I could be wrong, but WOM is always the best course when getting your name out there, and he seems to be using that, and the website in concert. Well done indeed..

  • myrdhrin

    I’m glad to see there are other people with the same view as me (I didn’t dare to post a comment in that direction at first seeing all the “bad web design” comments)

    I think that we (me the first), web developpers, application designers, “technology crafter”, tend to forget that what is a web site is not an end but a mean that companies uses to reach their customers.

    It’s like a business card or a flyer… it can not be perfect but if it reaches the right people then it achieved it’s purpose.

    It’s a great lesson you posted here Andrew and it applies to a lot more than just web development.

    p.s. as I mom used to teach me…. better is the ennemy of good.

  • Sorry, I’m not getting it. Yes, much web design is overdone, and this could be a very effective site, but as Mr Snook points out, we just don’t know.

    Andrew, you seem to want it both ways – your blog entry holds this up as an effective example, but when faced with a few pointed questions about what that effectiveness actually is, you retreat by implying that the offline component of the marketing is what matters and minimalizing the effect of the site. We all know that “With services, not everything is about the Web and search engine placement” – but that’s what the example was supposed to show, right? An effective website – not an effective offline campaign.

    Is this a great site that pulls sales or is it simply an adjunct or afterthought for the rest of the marketing effort?

  • I have to agree with Andrew on this. This is a website that does what every good website should do. It focuses in on a niche market and addresses their specific needs. How many people in Mark’s niche could resist picking up the phone for the free report?
    Way too many webmasters are over-concerned about technological issues / fancy stuff, and don’t have any real sense of focussing in on the message the website is trying to deliver.

  • Ray Ellis

    The marketing flow is good. The design is clean and serves it’s purpose. However, one real advantage to using someone with experience in web design is that your site might look good in all browsers. A growing part of the internet browsing population is moving away from Microsoft browsers. Mark’s home page has overlapping elements when viewed by both Mozilla and Firefox. Whatever web page generator was used produced absolute positioning code that seems to only be consistent with Internet Explorer.

    – Ray

  • Many designers don’t understand the importance of writing good copy and getting conversions. It took me a while to figure this out.

    Pay close attention to the design of top-bidding sites on Google Adwords. Either a) they have tons of money to burn through and it will take them a while to figure it out b) they are a big corporate advertiser who just wants to be #1 or c) they have mastered the conversion process and make a nice profit. If the answer is c, usually the design is going to be very complex. The copy is doing the selling.

    Good article!

  • Tim Verpoorten

    The design might be correct according to you, but it’s funny how so much of the text overlaps when you view his page from Firefox RC1. A great website must be viewable in Mozilla and IE.

  • MickoZ

    I am a strong believer in do it right, do everything right, I’m a perfectionnist. But Tim, I guess without removing anyone’s perfectionnist skill sometime a part of being perfectionnist is to optimize time, pragmatic, etc.

    90%+ use IE, and probably more for mainstream user (see: not technical website). Therefore, that website is probably not technically the best, and even esthetically there can be some stuff that keep it AS SIMPLE but a little shinier, but it is not that bad by looking at it fast fast.

    He is probably not even using “correct tag”, etc. But if you optimize your pragmatic sense:

    – People use IE
    – Page load in IE
    – Page probably give its message
    – It is clean and simple (not much page, not much menu, etc.) and getting thing simple is a skill (maybe there is thing that are easier to get simple but even there when it looks simple it is a good sign)

    I guess you are getting what I try to express with my poor english skill now. ;-)

  • Well orgnized design without much text like what I saw in Mark Website, can also be a effective selling point. Website selling books sometime overdo by writing text. Keep users interest by breaking long text into mutiple pages with visually appealing small design.

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