The number one reason your web site exists is to perform a task. That task differs for each web site owner. It is important to never let your web site rest on its laurels. For example, if the purpose of your site is to sell—and sales are decreasing; you may need to look to your web site and see if the fault lies within its design.
It is oft quoted: “You only get one chance to make a good impression.” Is your web site making the best impression it can? Your web site can be failing at any one of various points along your visitor’s path. Here are six areas to examine and consider for redesign on your web site.
1. Lack of sales and/or conversions
If you are not achieving the goals in this area, changes are most likely in order. Here are some potential problems:
Email Sign Up Forms
Are you actively trying to capture email addresses for leads? Are your newsletter or email sign up boxes visible in key areas of the site or at all times on the site? Are you asking for the least amount of information possible? It is often better to ask for only a name and email address and save getting more information for later. This makes it easier to capture busy people who might reject being asked to complete a longer form.
Call to Action
The messaging may be off. You may not be speaking directly to the customer’s needs and desires. Try experimenting with different messages, then measure and compare results.
Do your buttons look like buttons? Do your buttons reiterate a message that is a call-to-action itself? Hopefully none read: “submit.”
Do the pages use messaging that encourages people to learn more? How much value do they impart? Are they promoting benefits over features? Typically, purchases of tech products are more ‘features’ oriented. Shoppers of other types of products, especially diet, fitness or education-based products, are going to be more ‘benefits’ oriented. To hook what you are after, you must use the right bait.
2. Your Site’s Goal has Changed
As mentioned above, your site has a task to perform. Perhaps your site started with product information, but now also includes a store. In such a scenario, you may need to rethink the site navigation. Information pages need to lead to sales pages. You need to consider how many steps are involved in getting information and getting to the store. Likewise, if prospects go directly to the store, have you made it easy for them to jump out and get more information?
3. Your Content Strategy is Outdated or Needs Improvement
If your web site’s main goal or task has changed, it’s nearly certain that your content strategy is going to be out of date. Perhaps your site started with product information, but now also includes a store. In such a scenario, you may need to rewrite parts of your content. Now your information, must not only inform, but must simultaneously speak to benefits that encourage the desire to purchase. Information may have addressed mainly features, but to convince people to buy, you may need to focus more on benefits.
4. Your Site’s Appearance
The look of a site is not just window dressing. Design should speak to your audience either reflective of your company, the products, or ideally both. Ask yourself: What is the current ‘tone’ of your site? What does it imply? Is it company or corporate? Is it company, but a ‘home-spun’ or ‘mom and pop’ type of product?
While ‘pretty’ design is often preferred, it really depends on what you are doing and/or selling. Sometimes ‘ugly’ sells better, as it is can be perceived as less slick and more honest. This might be more appealing for a ‘home-spun’ product or company site. This is something to test on landing pages, before making a commitment to a site redesign. For corporate or company-based sites, clean and pretty is almost always the best.
5. Your Site’s Feel
Usability is a key factor in conversion and selling. You also need to think about your demographic. What is their education level? How tech savvy are they? What devices and operating systems are they using? What are their needs?
Less can be more for some audiences. How much information are you displaying? Do you use long paragraphs or summary paragraphs with accordion boxes to expand for more information? How many steps are you asking them to take before reaching a sales page or sign up form?
Conversely, think also about what affective a redesign could have. Could it upset your current clients or improve site usage for all concerned? Have you researched to know what your customers are looking for?
Crucial Takeaway: Your site’s design isn’t for you, it’s for your target audience. It needs to speak to their mindset, not yours.
6. Web Site Performance
Here are a few critical factors that can drive away customers and reduce conversions and sales:
• Slow loading speed and performance
• Difficult and Confusing Navigation
• Hard-to-find related information
• Difficulty finding contact information or support
• Not compatible with all major web browsers and operating systems
• Your site isn’t responsive and performs poorly on mobile and tablet devices.
Your web site has a job to do. If it is not improving your business as it performs its duties, you need to find out why and make adjustments. A web site is not a static entity, but one that evolves along with your business.
It may not be necessary to completely redesign your web site. What’s most important is to identify the key areas where your site is not performing and make improvements to those areas.
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