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A Random Walk Down Web Street : Litter Revolution

The best way to learn how to start a business and design a Web site is to study how other people do it and see what works and what doesn't work. In this series of articles, I randomly choose a Web site to review. Today's Web site is [litterrevolution.com site no longer available].

Litter Revolution is about new pet product designed by David Brokaski of Reno, Nevada. His product is a revolutionary automatic self-cleaning litter box. The product is not actually on the market yet, but David is prepared to take preorders.

First, let's discuss the idea of developing a pet product. People love their pets and treat them like privileged members of the family. Many pet owners love to pamper their pets. Americans are expected to spend a whopping $36 billion on their pets this year. From the products that are currently available at the stores, I feel the market is wide open for an entrepreneurial pet product inventor.

Pets provide their owners with love, but they require a bit of maintenance in return. Cats make particularly wonderful pets because they are almost maintenance free, except for the need to clean that smelly litter box. There have been several litter box inventions over the years, but David's device blows them away.

It consists of a drum with an entry for the cat at one end and an exit port for waste at the other end. To maintain the litter device, the pet owner simply removes a waste bag at the exit port. If the price for this thing is anywhere near reasonable, my little Scooter has got to have one.

Although David's pet invention is revolutionary, his website has a few obvious problems. When you visit the home page you'll see a picture of a cute little kitten holding up a flag with Litter Revolution's logo. The kitten is very cute - but that won't sell the product. What should be on the home page? Pictures of the PRODUCT of course!

To actually see the product, you have to click on a "Products" link in the menu. When you click on the link, you are taken to a page with a tiny picture of the product and a button labeled "View Images". When you click on the "View Images" button, a popup window appears with a few pictures and a "More Photos" link.

When you design a website to sell a product, don't require your visitors to clickto see the product. Show the product on the home page.

The popup window that appears When you click on the "View Images" button also contains a list of the product's features. After moving the pictures of the product to the home page, I would put a "Features" link in the main menu. But more importantly, I would put the main BENEFITS of the product on the home page.

The Litter Revolution Web site's home page says only "Join the revolution". Catchy phrase. But it won't sell the product. The home page should tell the main benefits of the product, in this case, "No more smelly litter box to clean" and "A cleaner litter box makes a happy kitty!".

When you design a website to sell any product or service, put the benefits on the home page.

The Litter Revolution Web site main menu has an "About" link that sends you to a page with good information about David and his idea. The main menu also has a "Contact" link that takes you to a page with complete contact information, including Address, phone number, email, and a contact form.

When you design a website, you need to make people feel confident about purchasing from an unknown source without a face-to-face meeting. An "About" page with personal information lets people get to know you and feel comfortable about doing business with you.

Many Web sites keep their geographical location a secret. When I see this, I assume it's because they are located in some country like Sudan, where you can forget about any recourse if the product or service turns out to not be what you expected. If you are a legitimate business, provide complete contact information, especially the country where your business resides.

What I would like to see added to the Litter Revolution Web site:

An order page. Since the product is not actually on the market yet, I assume this will be added in the future.

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