57 Comments / last updated August 1, 2019

How Amazon.com Hooks Visitors

Amazon.com is one of the most successful websites in history. In fact, I am willing to bet that in a decade Amazon will be as big as Google and Facebook. Why? I’ll tell you a bit later on.

In this post I am going to show you how Amazon.com hooks visitors in and turns them into hyper loyal repeat customers. Once you learn to see these strategies and methods you will be able to apply them to your own blog or website in order to massively boost your reader retention, interaction and, of course, money making ability.

Why will Amazon.com be as big as Google?

Amazon.com is quite unique as far as privacy goes. Why? Because you willingly give them every single detail about yourself. Without doing any guess work whatsoever Amazon.com has information like:

  • home addresses
  • work addresses
  • phone numbers
  • email addresses
  • credit card details
  • buying and searching history

Can you think of another website that knows you as well? You might say Facebook but they don’t have your home address, credit card, phone numbers, buying history, etc. by default. Google has a comparable level of information with access to your Gmail, search history, etc. but it still doesn’t seem as complete and personal.

Amazon.com can, over a number of purchases, get a pretty complete picture about what you like to buy. And this is a very powerful thing. If Amazon.com was to be purchased by Google you would see the perfect selling machine; ads delivered to your search results based on your shopping history and personal preferences. The idea is mind boggling. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

How Amazon.com hooks visitors

Through all of this success and experience Amazon has developed a keen sense for hooking visitors and turning them in to subscribers, customers and so on. That is what we should be interested in; the ability to hook and retain and market to our visitors. If you want to get rich using a blog or website you need to keep getting better at this.

1. A personalized call to action

amazon call to action

The very top line of Amazon.com is devoted to a clear call to action for old and new customers. If you don’t know what a call to action is just think of it as a piece of text that tells a visitor what to do. The idea is to take away the uncertainty in a person’s mind and establish them on a clear course of steps.

The difference with Amazon’s call to action is that they personalize it. If you are an old customer you can sign in and get recommendations based around your previous history and searches. This is a very powerful feature because it subtly implies time saving and finding products that you might not have thought about. Part of me is always curious to see what new products Amazon will suggest for me.

We all know that you need a call to action on your website or blog but we sometimes forget that it needs to be personalized. Don’t make it bland and dry but rather tailor it to what your visitors need from you. Help them understand how to get the most out of your product on a personal level.

2. Extreme up-to-date social proof

amazon social proof

One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern age is that people are fast. I wrote about this in my article on wait marketing; people need to be constantly stimulated because the brain has become so accustomed to instant gratification. Amazon is well aware of this phenomena and utilizes social proof that is extremely up to date.

A large portion of the front page is devoted to a line of products that people are looking at right now. Just like high school, you are immediately drawn in to see what the latest trend is and whether you can get in on it. Delve deeper into the site and you will see well placed lists of “Customers who bought this item also bought” products. It is quite interesting to see how much the brain wants to buy extra stuff when it knows that the guy before you got something extra on top of what you are buying now. Now you can even connect your Facebook account to your Amazon.com account and see what your friends are buying.

Social proof is vital because it has the dual function of removing people’s anxiety about opting in to something and generating interest based on a community mentality. You can take these elements to lofty new heights by ensuring your social proofs are as relevant and up to date as possible. Do not overlook the importance of this hooking technique; Amazon sure doesn’t.

NOTE: James from Men with Pens doesn’t agree with this section. What else is new?

3. Overcoming objections at problem stages


When I first decided to sell a blog in College I knew I would have to focus my sale on overcoming people’s objections. I ended up making $20,000 USD on my first attempt, mainly because I was able to help the buyer get over his own concerns. Selling is so often not about just having a great product but helping people get over their own insecurities.

Amazon.com are extremely cautious about addressing their customer’s potential concerns because they know that poor shipments are their Achilles Heel. The search and sign up stages of the website are clean and simple; the real problems arise when people realize they might need to return something. They clear away this objection by making the return process easily visible and completely user orientated. You can return your own products. This is a very empowering feature of their service. It makes the customer feel in control.

The important thing to note here is that you need to overcome objections at relevant stages. A banner on the homepage is nice but a reminder at the checkout stage and confirmation email is even better. Figure out where people encounter objections on your website and do your best to overcome them in a very transparent way.

4. Managing expectations at multiple levels

expectations amazon

The above screen shot is taken from the Amazon Kindle page which has been their number one selling product for two years. I wanted to use it as an example of managing people’s expectations because, as you can see, this top section alone has three areas where it does just that.

The first is the description where it states exactly what the Kindle is and how well it has been selling. This let’s people know they are on the page that their friends have been talking about. The second is the shipping details where it assures people it will arrive in about a week. The final one is down the bottom where it talks about the differences between Wi-Fi and 3G.

The idea behind managing people’s expectations is to “preempt” people’s objections. Worried that someone might cancel the transaction because it hasn’t arrived fast enough? Why not tell them on the first page exactly how long it will take? Unsure about whether people will pay more for a 3G version? Give them the reasons why it is superior.

One of the top reasons people unsubscribe from an RSS feed or email newsletter or return a product is because they didn’t get what they were promised. You can avoid this mistake totally by managing people’s expectations on all the levels they might think of.

5. Sell just as hard to old customers

coming soon Amazon

There is a lot of talk in the blogosphere these days about how to get more email subscribers, traffic and generally sell to new users but there is very little about how to keep selling to people who have already bought from you. And this is a shame. Why? Because many offline and online businesses find that the majority of their income comes from follow up products, ongoing fees, etc. Not just the new guys.

Amazon.com does this extremely well by having a very well refined list of recommended products that are available now and coming soon. This is both selling in the present and setting you up for sales in the future. And it works. I spent about $30 on a book ten years ago on Amazon.com but since then I have spent thousands. I have bought jumpers, DVDs and fitness equipment. If they just worried about the first sale they would be out of business by now.

Make sure you don’t ignore your old customers while you concentrate on getting new ones. The best business models supply to both fronts.

Important lessons from Amazon’s example

I’m sure you have a few ideas already about how you can use the above five points to improve your blog or website. What I want to do now though is talk about a few very important overarching principles that we need to learn.

  • Keep stages to a minimum
    One of the best things that Amazon.com do is keep the number of transactional stages to a minimum. Why? Because it keeps it simple for the customer and gives them less chances to come up with objections or problems.
  • Give as much relevant detail as you can
    This point might seem like a contradiction to the first one but its not. A good copywriter or salesperson will always give as much relevant detail as needs to be given in order to make the sale or convert the reader. If you know what concerns people are likely to raise then raise them first. The hard part is making it comprehensive without compromising on the flow.
  • Use social proof as a sales point
    I have noticed that some websites and blogs relegate their social proof items to the background. Its almost like they think it is something that people will look at if they are not convinced about the product and need a little push. That is a mistake. Social proof should form a large part of your sales points, right in the foreground. When you watch car advert on TV you don’t see a photo and some testimonial from a few drivers at the end of the ad, you hear them say “…this was last year’s best selling small car“.

If you can adopt these principles and incorporate them in to your blog or business website you will find that you get more sign ups and more inquiries and a lot less tire-kickers who aren’t sure what direction they want/need to take.

What has worked for you?

I’d really like to open up the comments and find out if any of these ideas have worked on your blog or website. Do you do anything similar or different to Amazon.com or any other successful web business? If so please drop a comment and tell me all about it.


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  1. I think you could be right, about Amazon becoming bigger than Google or Facebook, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google fall well within the next decade.

    Amazon are constantly improving the customer experience, they haven’t just sat back and thought that’s working so we’ll leave it, they find ways to make it even better.

    This contrasts massively with my interaction today with PayPal, when trying to cancel a recurring payment. They have no clear information on this and make it incredibly difficult to find the information. I mistrust PayPal, but it is the only realistic way to take payment from a lot of people and is undoubtedly a very convenient way to make payments. Amazon, by contrast, provide clear information on virtually all aspects of the buying/selling process.

    I don’t have a Facebook account, purely because I don’t trust the background connections and their data collection. Very interesting points you make about the amount of information that Amazon holds, which will often include the addresses of your family and friends!

    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 31, 2011

      Right there with you on PayPal. I used to have my hosting set up to auto pay and it was a nightmare trying to cancel that so I could change the payment method. I immediately don’t trust companies that neglect to put basic things in their FAQs.

  2. Hi TB,

    Amazon is the best case study ever. I think all the key points you explained above are actually one philosophy: Empathy with the client. It’s like when a blogger recommends you to write for your readers. Amazon is not telling us: “You should buy here because we are the best online shop”. No. They put themselves in the client’s place and try to make things easy and clear. They think of the customer.

    I wrote a couple of articles about this not so long ago. Actually about customer service and how little details can make you lose a customer (my blog is in spanish, though).

    Congrats Tyrant. Another great post showing us your knowledge about marketing.



    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      I agree Cristina. Empathy. Its needed everywhere.

  3. I totally agree with what you said about Amazon simplifying the checkout process. The faster and easier the process is, the less chance for objections to arise. I recently changed the way I was doing my checkout process on my site for my subscription access for my Work at Home Company List. I realized that despite the fact that I listed 1700 legitimate companies that people had no idea what types of companies they were. So by adding in the 51 categories and changing my site up slightly with a simpler checkout and levels of access, I can continue to build on the products and services that I have planned down the road. Some of the best feedback that I have received about my site has come from Blog Tyrant and the readers here who have pointed out different small tweaks that have made a huge increase in my readers and email subscribers. Thanks everyone!


    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Glad the BT community has been helping you Kim.

  4. Steve@Internet Lifestyle on January 31, 2011

    You make some really interesting points. I know for certain I fall into the category of Amazon Acolyte myslef and i am constantly using them and buying from them.

    I am not sure if they cold ever beat FaceBook or Google in size, but in profitability …maybe. After all people go to amazon for only one real reason and that is to buy. While Google and FaceBook have ways to make money, but also have a lot of ways that people can simply use them and never spend a dime (or ever click on adsense, etc.)

    The way you showed they draw in the customer was very enlightening and informative. thanks for the nice post.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      No worries Steve.

  5. Amazon and my blog do one thing that’s the same and both do it very very well.

    Related product boxes have cause me to dig deeper and deeper into amazon’s catalog of music, movies, organic coffee filters, and life-size cardboard cutouts of Hollywood stars. My point in that example is that by jumping from one related product, it’s easy to find yourself buying something totally unrelated to your first purchase.

    And therein is where my blog, and the blog community in general, has been able to increase visitor retention rates and increase on-site times. By providing related articles at the bottom of each article, I give my visitors the same capability to dig deeper.

    The best way to keep visitors on a site using related articles is by tagging articles with related tags and saving each article under a major category. Category: Audio mixing. Tags: Microphones, frequency chart. By using an automated process, that blog post now shows related articles by category and by tag.

    Related articles seem common-place in the blog world but before you think “well of course I link to related articles,” evaluate how you are tagging and categorizing your articles so the articles really are related.

    For example, an article on cooking pies with apples should link to other articles on pies and apples. However, if it shows a related article of “cooking broccoli with cheese” then you might be loosing visitors because you aren’t giving them what they want.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Great tagging advice Chris. Very good points.

  6. Very nice post Tyrant!

    Amazon converts really well, it’s just a pity their affiliate commissions are so low (4-8%).

    I’ve learned the hard way that losing initial customers is very costly. Having to find new buyers for every product is difficult compared to already having a list of X people who have bought from you and trust your recommendations.

    I’m reading Influence, the psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini, and he really talks about how important social proof is and how it can make an enormous difference to your bottom line.


    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Yeah Diggy the commissions suck. I’m on 8% because I’ve been doing it a long time but it rarely makes anything worth writing home about.

      I heard about one guy who sold tractors at a 5% commission which, when the things cost $200k, is pretty good.

  7. Another great post BT!

    Amazon gets it right on many levels. When you compare Amazon vs eBay, the first thing that stands out is the trust component. While you may at times get a good deal on eBay, you may also get stuck with little recourse. Amazon stands behind all purchases. In addition, it has standardized the shipping process (and returns) so consumers are not dealing with a variety of shipping charges.

    As a Amazon affiliate, you reap the benefits of Amazon’s subtle way of recommending (or up-selling) additional products. While this may result in additional revenue for the affiliate, it is a service to the consumer who may have overlooked certain items, like an additional memory card or case, for the camera they are interested in.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      I totally agree Rick. The streamlined Amazon wins against eBay every time for me. Makes such a difference.

  8. I’m seeing more and more sites talk about social proof, and I totally agree. I’ve been really contemplating how to incorporate that into my newest site as well, because it’s easy to overlook but I think the psychological pull is quite strong. I’m glad to see you touched upon it as well.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Any ideas for how you are going to do it?

      1. Not yet, honestly. I’ve seen some effective “PS…so and so emailed me about how this product rocked, etc” on tofurious.com at the end of blog posts and I thought that was pretty brilliant. It’s something I want to explore more as I get this site up and on its feet.

  9. Tyrant, great points!

    I’m a longtime Amazon devotee – I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve thrown into the Amazon river. I’ve never been disappointed once, though, which is one of the reasons they’re where they are. They’re aces.

    Another thing that’s excellent about their website is the simplicity. The navigation is obvious, the font is easy to read, and they don’t pull out any clicks and whistles or big cheesy pictures of celebrities.

    They make the experience entirely about the visitor – a lot of blog and website owners could/should take note.

    Also, they don’t redo and revamp things all the time. No matter what designers might say, people are annoyed as heck by changes. Think of the uproar every time Facebook tweaks. As a voice in the roar, I like to know what to expect when I go to a website. As you point out, we live in a very fast-paced society and don’t want to be hampered by having to search for this or that… something that had the audacity to move!

    You’ve given me a lot to think about with my own blogs and websites, thanks!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Good point about the design upgrades Joi. I hadn’t thought about that.

  10. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 31, 2011

    Amazon is the ideal salesman that’s for sure. From my point of view, as a “deal” blogger (I hate to call myself that!) they make my job easier than any other company out there.

    When I first started as an associate for Amazon, I tried to pitch their deals like I pitch all other deals. I didn’t make a single sale. I couldn’t understand? The price was great (I would never have posted it if it wasn’t), the product was worth purchasing and appealed to my demographic (I would never post something that wasn’t). And yet…nada.

    It wasn’t until I stumbled upon some article one day talked about how Amazon does all the work for you. From start to finish, they have you covered. You just have to get them there, and they’ll convert. It might not be what you sent them for, but they will convert.
    So I stopped selling Amazon at all on my blog. I link the deals with the most basic of information and the only time I’ll do anymore is if I have a review of the product myself. Otherwise, I let Amazon do the selling. Ever since I started doing that, I have a steady stream (albeit small) of income from Amazon.

    Between ME selling AND Amazon selling, people were being overloaded. Amazon knows what it’s doing, so now I sit back and let it work its magic.

    Seeing how Amazon sets things up and converts so well definitely changed the way I set up deals on my blog. My ultimate goal in blogging is to help others save money, so when I see a great deal I tend to get a bit excited over it and go overboard on details. Amazon taught me to step back and be the top of the funnel rather then trying to be the whole funnel (if that makes sense).

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Interesting stuff Heather. I would have thought the pre-sell of the Amazon products would have helped.

  11. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 31, 2011

    I try to set expectations up front and I think I’m good at that for the most part. I didn’t just tell people, “Hey, we’re going to make your life a more positive place to be, so keep reading.” (Mainly because that’s uber cheesy and used car salesman-ish.) Instead, I spelled out that it was the goal and specifically how we were going to accomplish it in the very first post. Because I also believe people have a deep-seated mistrust of self-help gurus and their pez dispensers of nonsensical fluff advice, I made it clear that I wasn’t a guru, I was a person just like them, and together we were going to take the journey, one tiny step at a time, using good old-fashioned common sense. (Longest. Sentence. Ever.)

    Anyway. Where I find myself struggling right now is that I’m not sure how to set the subscription expectations because I haven’t figured out the delivery frequency yet. Since I post 3x weekly, I’m not sure if I should promise an email every time the blog updates, a weekly digest or a monthly newsletter. Once I start sending out subscriber-only bonuses, I don’t want people to feel like they’re being spammed by the positive outlook lady and unsubscribe…but, at the same time, I don’t want to send updates too infrequently and miss out on traffic or the ability to help someone with a timelier update. (Hubby’s solution was to do a monthly newsletter with all the subscriber-only content and let people sign up for the separate email feed, but I worry people will be too lazy to complete two subscriptions. Not everyone is like me and follows by email AND RSS.)

    Rambling…sorry. The point was that I try to be like Amazon in the clear expectations I set. Working on the social proof too, I suppose, but I can’t figure out if I like the FB share or the FB like option better.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Jen, head on over to Darren Rowse’s Digital Photography School and see how he does it there. Might work for you?

      1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on February 1, 2011

        Yeah…that just might. Now to figure out how to get a form to encompass the options on my site. A web designer, I am not. (but I am channeling my inner yoda, apparently)

        Thanks for the suggestion.

        1. the Blog Tyrant on February 1, 2011

          Aweber does it automatically.

          1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on February 1, 2011

            That’s a relief to know. I haven’t spent much time playing with it since I didn’t have my PO Box in place until a week ago. As long as I had to put in my home address, there was no way I was going to risk accidentally letting people sign up for anything.

  12. James Chartrand - Men with Pens on January 31, 2011

    *grin* Wisea-… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      I knew YOU’D like it.

  13. Paul Odtaa on January 31, 2011

    The people behind Amazon really know their stuff. They add extra components to their business year on year.

    First moving into more profitable areas, such as selling electronic goods, which have a far higher mark-up that books. Then taking over the second hand book market, where ironically their cut on a book sale, posted by the book’s owner, is higher than the profit on selling and delivering a cheap book.

    And getting the customers to do much of the content, such as reviews and lists.

    The ultimate is of course the wishlist. Solves so many problems and the wishlist owner obviously does all the promotion.

    Whether they beat Facebook and Google I’m not sure. Possibly social networks are always vulnerable to fashion and Google – the company’s getting arrogant and I wouldn’t be surprised if an ‘off the wall’ search engine will emerge from somewhere like eastern Europe or India in the next few years.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      Paul, good point about the reviews and what not. Its a very efficient way of getting social proof cranking.

  14. Brandon Yanofsky on January 31, 2011

    Great great great article. I think the most important element here personally is the number of transaction pages. The longer it takes to buy something the less likely I’ll buy it. Making it complicated is that fastest way to kill a sale. I think apple is the king at this.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011


      There is a story somewhere that I couldn’t find which says that the team took the demo of Amazon to the founder of to show him how it works. They said they had done the checkout process in the smallest number of steps possible. The boss had a look and said, “That’s great. Now halve it.”


  15. Phil Willis on January 31, 2011

    Amazon is an amazing business, but it is not going to surpass Google any time soon.

    Not in market capitalization. Not in number of users. Not in web traffic.

    Heck – after years of using Amazon, I’ve already switched to other book retail sites like http://www.bookdepository.com because they’re often cheaper and they include the shipping as part of their upfront price.

    I love your blog, and I know you’re trying to “stir the pot”, but this is ridiculous.


    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 1, 2011

      Hi Phil.

      That seems like a pretty aggressive comment.

      2007 and 2008 Amazon.com grossed $19 billion and Google $21 billion (http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1636-Chart-of-the-Week-Walmart-s-Revenue-Dwarfs-Google-Amazon-eBay). As I said, I think that Amazon has an advantage of being able to gather so much information. If, at some point, they joined up with Google to deliver extremely-personalized search results to sell Amazon products it would be enormous.

      I don’t think its entirely ridiculous.


      1. the Blog Tyrant on February 1, 2011

        I have to clarify though that with all the infrastructure, satellites, etc. that Google is investing in I think its probably unlikely to be surpassed.

    2. Dave Starr on February 1, 2011

      Umm, Phil, with respect, if you think Amazon is mainly a bookseller, or that books are the major part of their income, I’d suggest a little more research. Amazon is way, way more than books.

      My own purchases with Amazon are at least 75% items other than books, and my earnings as an Amazon affiliate reflect much the same … I’d starve to death on commissions for book sales, but that’s not Amazon’s only product line, for sure.

      1. the Blog Tyrant on February 1, 2011

        Good point Dave. A few weeks ago one of my sites sold a $2,500 extreme gym system – bench press, etc. all in one.

  16. Dave Starr on February 1, 2011

    The two most important “take aways” from this article are the two easiest for everyone selling to emulate … yet so rare.

    Personalize … you already have the person’s contact data … the transaction, even if the transaction is only a click on an affiliate link, is between the visitor, Fred, and you the seller/affiliate, Mary.

    It’s NOT a transaction between their little Internet and your faceless website.

    Part two. Send thank you and keep the thank you’s coming. I don’t even want to think about how many hotels I’d never go back to, or how many IM affiliates I would never ‘click through’ from again … becuase once they got my money, they don’t know me anymore.

    Dave, do you mean to say you expect ‘big people’ to be grateful for every teeny-tiny purchase? How full of yourself you are.

    Well full of myself I may be, but I DO expect people (businesses) to be grateful and recognize purchases.

    Guess what … Amazon is grateful for every purchase I’ve ever made … they not only thank me, they take the time to ask my opinion.

    Why wouldn’t a guy I generated a $75 dollar commission for a few months ago know my name?

    Money left on the table, folks.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 1, 2011

      Agreed Dave. The follow ups are so important. Marketing, if anything, is 90% of the time just reminding people you are there.

  17. Well I just did my first book review, and I really didn’t like the book.

    I felt really bad about it because it was highly recommended by some of my customers, I practically begged the guy to send it to me, he’s a blogger who participates in the Canadian Blog Carnival. Then I hated it.

    I couldn’t go on to say I liked it, I put it up on the site along with a much better book I liked, told everyone that if they buy the book I’ll be able to buy a pack of gum.

    What was interesting was that in spite of my bad review 39 people clicked on the link, eventually someone will buy something.

    I have another affiliate program for people to get credit checks, pretty soon I’ll have made the $25 necessary to get a check. What’s funny is I actually made the 25$ already but some yahoo paid in US funds so I still have to wait for a Canadian to get another credit check.

    For me I can’t really tell people to go buy stuff I don’t like, and most of the time when considering purchases…I’d rather keep my money than have “the thing” I’m frugal.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      Any feedback from the author?

  18. Hi, Ty, Thanks for another rich aritcle.

    Your prediction makes me want to buy stock. It’s high now, but look what Google did.

    I love Amazon and buy just about anything from them, usually cheaper and always easier, but hate that they won’t let North Carolinians participate in their affilliate program. I know it’s because of the NC sales tax, but shoot, anyway.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      Glad you liked it Dorothy.

  19. The thing I love the most about Amazon is that its very personal, or rather, it gives off the impression that its very personal. It was the first internet site that i ever bought from, and I still go there for all my new reading.

    Some of the techniques that you outlined here are that which everyone can put to use, no matter what they’re selling. Selling groceries? Just advertise a batch of apples that are really popular, and that Mr. Smith has recently bought a whole bag’s worth.

    Did I mention that I loved Amazon?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      Ha ha. Nice one Stuart.

  20. Crawlcraft on February 2, 2011

    Amazon gets all user’s detail because sells stuff of great interest for people. on the other site i would be a bit afraid to deliver them so much information from address to credit cards (which are on top of most criminal activities). In case their database is hacked,,there will be a second Wikileaks.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      So you don’t trust Google?

  21. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on February 2, 2011

    Off topic:

    Not sure where you are in Australia, but just saw the news about the cyclone. Stay safe!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      Yeah I’m ages away. Thanks Heather.

  22. Amazon is butt-ugly but it works. I think what they do best is help the user achieve a sense of “mastery.” Meaning they don’t move around the site functionality and confuse the user.

    Amazon’s interface is already confusing enough but since it has stayed basically the same since it first launched, everyone has grown accustomed to the poor design and now know how to use it.

    Many sites get bored with their look and want to introduce new features — so they do a redesign. In the process, however, they lose a good number of users.

    {Take note of Etsy — they are making a ton of social “improvements” while neglecting basic search functionality and confusing/upsetting their community users.}

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 3, 2011

      Interesting Leigh, you don’t think Amazon is easy to use?

      1. Sure Tyrant, I know how to use it — it’s easy enough and has critical mass — “winner takes all” — but Amazon’s snowball has been rolling for 15 years.

        What I think they did very well, right out the gate, is post reviews. Way before anyone else was concerned about social proof or what really matters to buyers — they had reviews by real people.

        Likewise, the features you point out are great — but Amazon does have weak points — weak points which may not hurt Amazon but certainly would hurt a new site if they tries the same thing.

        Here is usability guru Jakob Neilson’s take from 5 years ago:


  23. Not everyone gets hooked. In the world of illusion image is everything. It keeps the facade alife while the interior is rotting. And when you are ruled by your saliva Amazon will continue to be at the top of the charts.

  24. HI BT

    Sorry for not leaving comments for a while.

    It’s not you … it’s me.

    I’ve been away for a while doing life things and now I’m back.

    Great post and the high point for me is to always remember my long term readers and give them some extra special attention.

    I have readers that have followed my blog for 3 years and then moved happily across to my new Life Dreaming blog. They always leave comments and are loyal Facebook followers. Many of them have become friends.

    As a reward I asked 4 of my long term readers to be part of my Life Dreaming Team as I developed my online course. They get to see all the drafts and things I’m developing and have provided great feedback that I have used to make the course even better.

    In return they will receive the whole Life Dreaming Expedition online course free and life membership to the site.

    I treat any new readers with respect and always reply to their comments and I have a very soft spot in my heart for the loyal few who were there right from the beginning.

    Happy that I commented BT? Made your day … nay your week?

    Take good care

  25. Ricardo Bueno on February 4, 2011

    Hey Tyrant,

    Great analysis! I have to say (and agree) that the simpler your Call To Action, the better and more likely you are to get someone to do what you actually want them to do.

    Put some good thought into what specific action you want a site visitor to take, then work on making that as clear as possible. I do this using the “Hello Bar” at the top of my site, the badge to the right of my site header, and the subscription options on the right-hand side. So far, so good ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. the Blog Tyrant on February 7, 2011

      You changed your blog theme? Looks good.

      1. Ricardo Bueno on February 7, 2011

        Heh, thanks for noticing. Same theme, different header and some color. It’s an ever-evolving process ๐Ÿ™‚

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