Home Forums Marketing mastery Website design and marketing – specific design?

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  • #964807
    • Total posts: 9

    Hi all,

    Well, I finally got my website live, and it looks like its working fine. (For those interested – the website is http://www.sslmonkey.com) The business is essentially selling SSL certificates to secure businesses websites, specifically targeted towards small to medium customers.

    The problem I seem to be having is getting sales – unfortunately the goal conversions graph on my Google Analytics page is a flat line, which is very disappointing.

    I’ve decided to startup some adwords campaigns and I contracted an expert to set everything up and monitor them for me – the campaigns are drumming up some great traffic, and the site is getting visitors, but I have a feeling that the budget may be too low (e.g. not enough visibility) but also the site may not entice people to buy enough.

    I spoke to one of my associates today to get his opinion and he suggested that maybe the site isn’t ‘mature’ enough in its design – e.g. its a ‘serious’ product, being security and all, but the name, the logo et al seem to suggest that the business isn’t taking it seriously…

    Does anyone have their own opinion on this? I have a few possible options, including lowering the margins, adding more ‘sales cheeze’, or going for a complete redesign – but aside from that I’m not too sure.



    Paul Murphy
    • Total posts: 45


    I think one issue you may be facing is there is a stack load of competition in the SSL market, and most web hosting businesses will offer their own SSL certificates.

    My hosting business (http://www.servwise.com.au) does just that, so our customers don’t really need to look further, and we haven’t had an instance where they have installed a cert from somewhere else.

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t differentiate and get out there. There are quite a few hosting forum sites that allow adverts in specific areas, like http://webhostingtalk.com.au

    Also, participating in forums and becoming an expert resource also helps – people have a lot of trouble understanding the different types of SSL cert and what they cover and the CSR->SSL process and installing certs and understanding private keys.

    You could start building up a repository of information on how to use them, which will get you better rankings on google. I see that you have this, but you are using an external host for your info. This will not help seach rankings for sslmonkey.com as much as it would if you had these under your own url.

    So being a search destination for all things SSL will help. As will helping people in forums that are looking for help with SSL.

    Get as many backlinks as you can – both from directory sites (these aren’t worth as much) but also from any customers you have.

    This is the organic approach to awareness – it is all about content and backlinks. I think others on the forums here will be able to speak to advertising based brand growth.

    • Total posts: 18

    Id have to agree that you’re in a high competition market. I looked at your site and its not bad. It might serve you better to go with a more professional looking site. Would it cost you a lot to do that? If so, Id wait on doing that till you bring in some money.

    Try doing some free marketing like writing blogs, submitting articles.. ect. That might help ya out a little.

    • Total posts: 144

    Hi Matthew

    Assuming you can get customers (and I can’t see why not but I don’t know a lot about this market) then I would think that you site is not perfectly set up to help generate sales.

    That said it isn’t a shocker either. I think better layout placement and information flow coming from a deeper understanding of customer needs would help plenty.

    As Paul said, information is a major key in getting valid traffic. AdWords can generate traffic and that is good because you know the subject is of interest but the offer is wrong somehow.

    You either need to learn how to build the right sales process yourself or take in a pro to help you.


    Paul Murphy
    • Total posts: 45

    It takes several clicks to work out what you are charging for your SSLs, which doesn’t make for easy comparison – either product to product or vendor to vendor.

    Consider a customer trying to decide between a wildcard SSL and a series of specific SSLs.

    There aren’t that many combinations – you could probably present the entire portfolio in a single table.

    We all like ajax, but don’t let it get in the way of presenting information.

    Dave Bockett
    • Total posts: 97

    My 2c worth would be to try to really market your website for the flyingsolo types to make you different from everybody else reselling ssl certs.

    I personally need to start getting my head across this area but as always on the net there is information overload without anyone really taking it back to the basics to tell me know I need to know. What are the differences? What is the minimum level I need to purchase? What is the actual process? What information / things do I need in place before trying to purchase?

    If I came to your site and you laid it out simply with easy to userstand information I would definitely purchase from you. More advanced users are just going to find the cheapest reseller and buy from them. I would say you could charge more if you are providing a better service.

    Small business owners don’t have the time or usually the detailed knowledge
    and often need someone to hold their hand through the process.


    • Total posts: 9
    mrsforex, post: 7685 wrote:
    Id have to agree that you’re in a high competition market.

    Your not wrong there – I got a nasty call from a previous employer this morning trying to muscle me out…

    I’m currently looking at ways I can improve the content for the initial impression of the site – e.g. presentation of the pricing, what I can offer for free (lead capture, such as the free 30 day trial, or information on how to and why…) etc etc…

    I’m thinking about arranging to have the design looked at and re-done if need be, but thats more expenses to add to the pile – if the site becomes too much of a money sink hole then I’m not sure if it’s really worthwhile… :|

    • Total posts: 144

    The site shouldn’t cost too much and remember that something like this should be for the long term.

    If you have the skills to do the heavy lifting work then a consultant can be quite affordable compared to what should come back in.


    Hugh Thyer
    • Total posts: 159

    There is a risk in being ‘too professional’ and a risk in not being professional enough.

    If you’re too professional, you run the risk of being boring. Your website needs to attract attention and make people want to find out more. But if you’re not professional enough in your approach people wont take you seriously.

    You’re really aiming for a fun approach with a serious message.

    What is your target audience? Is it people who ALREADY know about SSL certificates? If its not, then you’ve got nothing on your site to educate people.

    One way of getting leads would be to offer a free report such as “7 Ways To Protect Your Business From Online Fraud” or something like this.

    One way to put it together might be splitting it into two sections. One side is for people who just want to purchase a certificate, the other for people who want to know more. Then on one side, put your free report offer.

    Anyway, just my thoughts,


    PS Once you build a relationship with your customer, you might find that the SSL certificates are only the front end to what could be a much larger consulting, web design, security business at the back end.

    • Total posts: 113

    Hi, you’re in a really high competitive market. My website hosting company is offering SSL certs for cheap.. only about $30 I think it’s per annum.

    I suggest that you sell website hostings and SSL as a package..website hosting is much easier to sell than SSL certs. You can find customers in multiple forums, and you can choose if you want to serve australian customers only or worldwide..

    Hope this helps, best of luck.


    • Total posts: 54

    You definitely need to design for the demographic, the target audience. I for one don’t think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your idea is on the right track, but the design, content and copy are not quite right.

    Think SurveyMonkey, now they’ve done it well, but I’m sure they invested a lot of time and money into their entire approach.

    I for one wouldn’t purchase SSL’s from you as I know that you are not the issuer of the certificates, but then again, I may not be part of your target market. Are you going for those who know about SSL’s, in which case, price is probably the number 1 factor, or are you going for Joe Boggs’ Blog who doesn’t know the first thing about them? Once you know your target market and the demographic you’re aiming at, then you can tidy up the design and have some effective sales copy written.

    SSL’s are about security, and security means experts. I’d be pushing the angle of security, your ‘expertise’, and trying to promote trust with your users. You can do this through effective design, very specific phrases and trust promoting images such as site seals, etc.

    I do feel you can make it successful with enough sales volume and you’ve taken some big steps so far – just spend some more time planning and implementing some changes for the better.

    Good luck with it!


    Adam Randall
    • Total posts: 382

    I think there are two types of web sites when it comes to selling online, those that hinder a sale and those that don’t.

    Your site in my personal opinion would not hinder a sale, its bright, and looks professional and I like the simplicity.

    Thats a double edged sword though because while its simple, what is there on your site that will attract people to it, you need to give something away.

    For example on my site, I give away free internet marketing keyphrase lists for specific vertical markets that attempt to entice people to upgrade to a paid version.

    This does two things it gives something for free and it allows the visitor to sample the goods which means there is no risk to purchase because they already know the quality of the product.

    The prices are competitive for SSL certs, the only problem as others have said is that you are at the extreme end of commoditisation.

    If someone finds what you are selling for even a dollar less, they will go with them. It means you probably have very low profit margins which means selling high volume to make a profit. Thats a risk because it means you have to fork out either lots of time or lots of money, probably both.

    You could try the affiliates road, great site here:


    • Total posts: 382

    Sounds like you’ve got some things going right, but there are always things you can tweak to increase conversions on any ol’ site.

    My 2c is along the lines of two things.

    The design is a bit, remedial, and somewhat plain, so that can use some attention.

    The call-to-action isn’t clear enough, or maybe too clear. You’re directing me along in your tabbed box to get an SSL, but I’ll only really know what happens in each step when I get there.

    I would have a blurb about each step in its own little box and then put the actual steps that use a form on a separate part of the site, possibly each in their own page.

    That way, you tell me upfront about what’s going to happen when I engage the site and have given your analytics a chance to uniquely identify pages (maybe you can already do that, but I didn’t notice the URL changing when I clicked “Next”). In addition to being able to identify the steps people are taking, you also give your SEO a boost with more content, as some of your main links go to another site completely (which I wouldn’t advise).

    So yeah, a clearer path to the goal, if you will, can not only help your website visitors but also your analytics and SEO.

    Good luck with that.

    Adam Randall
    • Total posts: 382

    Call to action is important, I have been doing some research on it of late trying to figure out the perfect call to action.

    I pilfered and re-hashed the Firefox call to action which is often considered one of the best call to actions on the net today.

    Here is my re-engineered example for the Virtual assistant keyphrase list

    Firefox call to action

    Some of the pages I got good ideas from:





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