Company Websites and Convertible Tablets


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I do not like creating content on "how people" should do things.  I rather create content demonstrating a problem and coming up with some suggestions on how to fix those problems or improve an experience.  This post is a bit dry as it's mostly presented in text format.  It's not for everyone.  This post is mostly targeted at those that are seeking exposure.

I must assume a few things... as a fairly "experienced" web browsing dude I can find products even when companies seem to create absolutely terrible web pages.  I have to assume that not everyone can find things as "easily" as I can, and thus I feel there's a problem in the way things are done today.  Convertible tablet pcs offer tons of possibilities and I want to see them become more mainstream.  A big issue against tablets is due to how "hidden" they feel under many big computer maker's websites and lack of incentive for people to talk about them.

My suggestions are based on observation of my own experiences through years of web surfing, self taught knowledge from blogging and video blogging, knowledge acquired through tons of books and magazines, and podcasts that deal with website stuff.

The problem
People searching for convertible tablets cannot find information easily.

The solution
Following my set of "guidelines" can increase the ease of product search and exposure.    My improvement suggestions are as follows:
  • Use Product Images on Main Page
  • Improve Product Description Pages
  • Page Interactivity Features
  • Page "Buy" Features
  • Search Optimization

1. Use Product Images on Main Page
- The home page should be graphical and demonstrate that which you want people to know about.  Images are what appeals to people first.

- We are very visual so our tendency is to look at images and videos first.  If something is visually appealing then we want to know more.  Text is secondary.

- More clicks on a website is equal to less chances of people finding the content they need.  When someone has to click, and click, and click through a variety of menus to get to a product page it ruins the experience.  It makes frustration happen where there should be none.


2. Improve Product Description Pages
The content of a product page is important.  There are different elements that should be taken into account.

Layout
 - First improve the layout of your entire website.  Make it consistent so every page doesn't change layout radically.  If the website lacks consistency it will throw people off.  A website layout that changes at every page is similar to those seizure inducing cartoons.  Keep it simple, consistent, and visually appealing.

Product Names
 - Use short memorable names for product titles.  Do you remember TXYZ34050 convertible tablet?  probably not.  Numbers and robot like names don't sink in memory easily.  I can say to my buddies "I bought an iPad".  I cannot say "I bought the Dell Alienware AM11x-826CSB".  BTW that Alienware system is a real product name!  (link)  Everyone will try to shorten the name to Alienware M11X.  Don't give your baby a bad name... and ruin it's teenage social life!  It will be made fun of for all of eternity.

There's a bit more about proper names under Search Optimization below.

Product Description
 - Good simple and to the point product descriptions.  What makes this convertible tablet special?  Add enough detail in there, but don't overwhelm the reader.  You can make more descriptive pages and place them under different categories or "tabs".

Combine Text and Images
- Text is important for search engine optimization (SEO).  Images are not "readable" by search engines, thus text is important.  Images are excellent for attracting readers, text are excellent for search engines.  Combine them properly and you got a winner.  When was the last time you used Google?  If you cannot find something through a search engine the product does not exist.  Websites such as Gizmodo, and Engadget are prime examples of image and text combination.

Tech Spec Details
- If your product is aimed at geeks, then geeks need this info.  It's like the "Nutritional Facts" on the side of cereal box.  "Average" people don't read this mumbo jumbo because they might not understand it.  A personal trainer in the other hand will read Nutritional Facts because they study that field. These personal trainers have influence because they suggest certain products to their clients.  It's the exact same with geeks, specs are our nutrition facts.

Drivers and Support
 - Add a link to Drivers and Support on the product page.  I absolutely detest going through "customer service" links.  Customer service is associated with  "something is wrong" and therefore decreases the perceived value of a product.  One company that does this very well is Logitech (example).


3. Page Interactivity Features
As of now many companies allow product reviews on their websites. This is good.  But it's an old trick.  We are living in a "social" era.  All this "social" stuff just means that people can interact with one another.  The first company that implements interactive elements to their product pages will get a lot of buzz and more consumer loyalty.  What are two ways of adding a bit of "social" flavor to a website?  Questions and Answers section and Showcase sections.

Questions and Answers Pages
These can create a tremendous amount of traffic and create tons of pages that can be indexed by search engines.  Massive keyword accumulation does usually increase website traffic.  Yahoo Answers is a a very good example of a Q/A website, too bad there's tons of terrible questions and sometimes even worse answers.  hahaha (example)

Forums are the classic Q/A pages and they don't work to create a positive image.  Usually forums in company websites are associated with people having problems.  More pages in forums lessen the value of a product by exposing huge problems.  When a problem is never solved... it creates a bad image.  Forums might have an answer but the answer is so dug into the topic thread that people seeking solutions won't find them easily.  (example where can I find info on how to improve performance of the ViDock 4 and Radeon HD 5770 in that thread?)

The Q/A formula is simple, it goes as follows:
Someone asks a question
Users post their answers
The author choses the right answer, if the author doesn't choose the winner then it's put up to a vote
Authors and winners are given points.  These points could be used for "awards" and "status".
There can be comments on the answer chosen as the "right" answer.
The final page shows the question and right after the solution

Showcase Pages
"Cool" stuff catches people's attention.   It's like what the Microsoft Kinect is accomplishing on youtube and people are creating crazy modifications. (examples)  In a way we are around this "camp fire" and ideas are shared and everyone feels great about the product they own.  It builds loyalty to the product and to brand name.

In a way it's what the Lenovo S10-3T blog was all about.  Solving problems, creating interesting ideas and sharing them.  Imagine having 100s of Jesse B Andersens creating content on a company's "Showcase" section.  This content can attract massive amounts of traffic.  Since the content is at company website that means that traffic will flow directly to the site instead of going through a third party site like lenovos103t.com and lenovox201.com, thus increasing the possibility of future sales due to brand loyalty.

On a note on creating mini "Jesse B Andersens" or content creators... big corporations have tons of employees that can create content.  I know that creating content for a company one works for usually ends up with super bias and a "infomercial" like feel.  Similar to the Apple iPad commercials using its employees (example).   That Apple commercial in particular is terribly annoying to me because it feels like the iPad is the "second coming of Jesus" where all problems will go away as soon as we get the iPad.  I would feel better about the iPad if someone "human" showed me how they use their iPad.

Being recognized is by far the most important feeling someone can have in this life.  Being recognized is usually called "glory" , which is one strong feeling that is way addictive.  Can you guess why Facebook has caught so much attention with it's users?  It's because of sharing stuff and getting recognized by other people.  With recognition comes a very interesting side effect, we get motivated to create and add more content.

There's a website that is trying to turn gadgets into a "social" thing.  This company is gdgt.com  and I'm a user, but not a fan as it adds tons of restrictions to what it's users can do.  I want freedom dang it!


4. Page "Buy" Features
- Having a button that says "buy" enables a consumer to buy the device  (genius huh?).  I'm really confused why some company websites don't have this on their product pages.  If I'm presented with product X, and I like product X, then why can't I buy product X?

- If you cannot make a conversion (ie sale) then everything your company works for is absolutely useless.  At the end of the day this is the most important thing because selling is equal to putting food on your table.

- Do not clutter the checkout process with tons of other useless "options". You already got the customer, don't give them too many more things to confuse them or lose them.  Give options to upgrade certain elements and that's it.

Note on accessories and software
A product is only as good as what it can do.  If you present cool software or a cool accessory in video format and people like it or feel they need it then they will want to get something similar.  Bland pages with a few images won't do as well as video.  Video can do better because accessories are now 3D, software is more than just an art box since it becomes practical with video demonstrations.  In a way ideas can flow from the presenter to the audience.


5. Search Optimization
Searching is second hand nature for most people now.  If you want to find something then Dr. Google is the man.  So how can Google help finding convertible tablets?  by using the right keywords in names and description and your pages linked.

- Tablet computers can be a slate or a convertible tablet or the classic name tablet pc.  Companies should not assume that a system with a name that includes the letter "T" is automatically known as a tablet computer.  If the name includes "tablet" and people are looking for tablet systems then there's a higher chance of finding a product related to that name.  By adding keywords like "tablet" in your name or description search engines will find them.

Good name = HP Slate 500 = mentions slate which is a tablet
Bad name = HP TM2
Bad name turned into good name = HP TM2 Tablet

- If the search engine on your site sucks (my own blogs for example) then you better do good on other search engines.  All search engines rely on text, so text has to be added on your pages, and places where you post media about the convertible tablets.  There are engines for specific types of content like google for webpages, and now youtube for video, and I use Bing for images.

- Youtube videos for products are completely useless unless you add a way to link that "cool" device to a page where people can find more info.  The traffic can flow from one spot to another.  I see tons of videos made by computer companies that never link or suggest where people can find more information.  Just add the dang link (it takes a few seconds).  Wherever those links go... just make sure there's a way to monetize the page.

- To rank high in Google make cool content that can be linked again and again.  The more sites that link to X page, the higher X page will be on Google.


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Other Search Engine Stuff
You can create the best content in the world and never be at the top of a search engine.  The reason might be due to the search engine's way of ranking someone higher than others.  There are new "gate keepers" that control the top rankings in search engines.  For example if I make a Lenovo X201 blog and I'm the first I will automatically be ranked at the top due to the blog's name or "post name" (example - "iPod Nano 6G for running"  who's close to the top?  yours truly.  :-)  ).  However, when a site like Mahalo decides to make their own page about the Lenovo X201 then my blog will be thrown down on the search engine ranking big time.  High ranking sites have automatically more "status" than a shitty blog made by "Jesse B Andersen".  Some companies know how to play the SEO game very well.  Do a "How to play guitar" on google and you will see a Mahalo webpage at the top (see it here).  How do you beat a page like that?  You have to beat them at the linking game.

A ton of faithful readers linking from other sites to your blog is the key to top ranking.  You might introduce your blog to tons of people via video sites like Youtube.  From your youtube video they can go to your blog.  If the information on your blog is useful it will be linked on other websites where people share ideas.  This act in turn gives your website more "status".   The reason my Lenovo X201 blog is not ranked high enough at the moment is because it's not linked enough times.  Currently 64 sites have linked to it.  The Lenovo S10-3T blog has been linked on 485 websites and thus it has secured it's place at the top of Google rankings.


Conclusion
That was a long post.  As a short conclusion I just have to say that there can always be improvements on the way websites work.  The static product page is not enough to create buzz.  If company's website can be improved with the guidelines mentioned above then it could have a very powerful web presence with tons of quality.  If you have suggestions and ideas please add a comment.  I'm interested to know your point of view.

Published: Dec 7, 2010

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Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.


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