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The Power of Portal Pages

by Michael Declan Dunn

Copyright 1998 Michael Declan Dunn. All rights reserved.

To generate leads for your Web site, you must set up what are termed "portal pages." Portal pages are entry points to your Web site that generate specific traffic for a specific offer.

The most famous portal page on the Internet is Yahoo. This directory is considered an entry point to the entire Internet. It gets the most traffic because it has become the first stop for many Internet surfers.

Portal pages for your Web site are arranged on individual items, products, services, or reasons, for people to visit. Let me explain.

A Web site may offer thousands of books for sale, but the customers are coming for a specific reason. You need to set up entry points to address their specific needs. For example, at my Web site I offer two training programs. The first is the Director of Sales, for those offering Web sites, advertising and related services. I also offer the E-Business Maximum Cash Flow System, which targets anyone with a product or service to sell online. Obviously, one market is selling to the other, so I need to set up separate entry points. These products are better presented separately, so I set up two addresses:

The E-Business Maximum Cash Flow System

The Director of Sales

By focusing each customer on only the product that brought them there in the first place, I can test the effectiveness to my target market. Portal pages are ways to target your site for the visitors you are inviting.

The Goal: Give Them Each a Special Place to Enter

By setting up portal pages, I basically put the entry points for each promotion on a separate Web page. Instead of introducing customers through my home page, I introduce them through a one-product approach specific to their interests.

Many treat the Web as a catalog, when it can be an interview. This is where portal pages come in. Boost your Web site's sales potential into overdrive by:

1. Creating a separate portal page for each product/service you sell. You can still create your catalog, but start with the individual products you will market. This should not be a mere listing of price and picture; act like you have active customers interested in buying, and sell them this as if this was the only page they would visit.

2. Begin with the end in mind. Your end goal is to have an organized Web site that easily directs your customers to the desired sale. Build your portal pages, then organize them into as few categories/listings as you can.

3. If possible, never list more than six categories on a home page, or six items on a page. Having too many choices confuses people.

4. Market each of your portal pages before you market your entire site. Drive customers to the home page, but focus them on specific buying decisions.

5. Think of portal pages as points of purchase. These are the end goal to many people, but if you market and direct people via banner ads, email, and link exchanges to specific portals, you are bringing them directly to the buying decision.

6. Your customers are qualifying you, just like you are qualifying them. Give them what they want, and they will love you. Don't expect your customers to work hard to work with you.

7. Each back-end product or service becomes its own portal page.

8. Focus them on one sale, and one sale only. Make it crystal-clear and stop overwhelming people.

9. When it comes to your business, portal pages should also be thought of as an interview. Think about it: your visitors do not know you, and likely have two or three questions that need answering. Find out what your visitors want and answer their needs immediately.

The sites that make it easy for customers to work with them will prosper. The overgrown catalogs full of just any product or service will not.

The Web is about target marketing, about focusing your customers on just a few choices. Portal pages are the way to do this.


Michael Declan Dunn is a Web publisher/trainer/designer online with a newsletter called The Web Letter. Stop by his other Web site, A Cybrary of the Holocaust.


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