I bet your website was awesome eight years ago. You might even think it’s awesome now.
But you’d be shocked to discover how many brands are missing out on key opportunities to increase sales and reel in new customers.
From terrible button placement, to poor messaging, to non-responsive sites, there’s not a day that goes by where we don’t see a brand, with oodles of potential, fall flat when it comes to its online presence.
DON’T LET THIS BE YOU.
Here are four of the most common signs that your website needs a reboot.
1. Your CTA is MIA
Your website has one primary purpose: to inspire action.
This action could be to request a quote, start a free trial, sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, eat a hot dog, etc.
If your website doesn’t inspire action, it’s useless. That’s right—you could have the prettiest, most eloquently-worded website in existence, but if it doesn’t get people to actually do something, it’s wasted space.
In the world of digital marketing, bossiness is key. Tell your visitors exactly what they should do and make it easy for them to do it. If your website is missing a clear call to action (CTA), then it’s highly unlikely your visitors will do anything . . . except leave.
According to a 2014 study by Tony Haile at Chartbeat, you only have 15 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention before they leave, so make sure their first website interaction counts!
For example, here’s a homepage that could use a little love:
Bramble Berry is an awesome soap company right down the street from us that’s seen massive growth in the last few years. Sadly, their homepage is cluttered with so many links and options, the CTA is unclear.
If anything, the “Sign up” CTA in the right sidebar is the most prominent call to action, but I’ve got a feeling they’d much rather have someone make a purchase, than sign up.
Even the button to shop only says “Shopping cart,” which offers no clear action; a button with a verb, like “Start shopping” offers a more compelling action.
Plus, from a new user perspective, I have no idea where to start with his page. Do I click on one of the soap icons up top? The product links along the side? The Soap Queen YouTube videos? Without a primary call to action, this homepage is incredibly difficult for new users to navigate.
Here’s a homepage that got it right:
The primary CTA is right-smack-dab on the homepage. The design is colorful and clean, and the CTA is clear.
If you’re not interested in the “Subscribe now” button, simply scroll down and you’ll see two more purchase options.
In addition to not having a clear CTA, there’s also the rare occurrence where you have too many CTAs.
Here’s an example from a local vapor company.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure they want me to shop. Like, right now.
The nice thing about this page is that there is one primary call to action (“Shop now”). The bad thing is it’s plastered all over the homepage, making it feel crowded and unprofessional.
Next steps: Sweep through your website, and make sure all of your pages have a clear call to action.
2. Your website is all features and no benefits
We’re gonna go back to copywriting 101: people buy benefits, not features. So when you’re writing, don’t focus on what your product/service does—focus on how it will make your customer’s lives better.
For example, one analogy I hear all the time is that people don’t buy kitchen cleaner, they buy a clean kitchen.
While this is a fairly basic copywriting concept, you’d be shocked to see how many websites still lack persuasive messaging.
Here’s an example from Trek Bikes:
While this headline does pique my interest a bit, it’s so vague it comes across as fluff. What “revolution”? Why will racing “never be the same”? What’s in it for me??
A much smarter approach would be to focus on a consumer benefit. For example, they could’ve done:
Your Fastest, Smoothest Ride Ever
See what makes our bikes the best.
Now, there’s a headline I can get behind—it explains how their product solves a problem: it makes difficult rides smoother and faster.
Here’s another example from Open Broadcaster Software:
If you look closely, you’ll see their subheading describes the benefit—but instead of making it consumer-centric, it simply describes what the product is.
Instead of: “Free, open source software for streaming and recording,” they should do:
Live Stream and Record Your Event with Free, Open-Source Software
Or they could cut it down even more . . .
Live Stream and Record Your Event for Free!
Next steps: in just one to two sentences, describe what problem your product or service solves for consumers. Take this statement, and compare it to your current copy. Does your current messaging describe a real-world benefit? Is your product/service’s value obvious to the consumer? Does your messaging explain what makes you different from the other guys? You’d be shocked to discover what a few, simple messaging changes can do for your sales.
3. You’re still reliant on “the fold”
If you’ve been in the marketing world for a while, I’m sure you’ve come across the notion that your CTA should be “above the fold” (“the fold” being that mysterious line users cross when they scroll down your website). This concept originated in the newspaper industry and referred to the content that appeared on the top portion of the front page.
Unfortunately, this idea convinced a bunch of people that putting buttons and calls to action high on the page was enough to convert customers on its own. But for many products and services, customers need a little more convincing before they make a purchase.
According to KISSmetrics, “The issue isn’t whether the call to action is visible when your prospect first arrives. The issue is whether your call to action is visible at the point where your prospect has become convinced to take action.”
Marketing Experiments tested this idea and found that one company saw 20% more conversions when they placed the CTA below the fold.
In short, you can’t rely solely on location to convert your customers—you need to give them a compelling reason to make a purchase before you ask for the sell.
You should also consider that we’re not just looking at websites on our desktop computers anymore—we’re looking at them on tablets and mobile devices that have varying screen sizes and dimensions. This means not everyone sees the same website, thus, the same “fold.”
With the onslaught of mobile-use, we’re also much more accustomed to scrolling. In fact, for some consumers, scrolling requires less work than clicking a button, making it a more preferable website action.
Next steps: run an A/B test that compares having the CTA above the fold versus below it.
4. Your website isn’t responsive
According to a 2013 Pew Research Institute study, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phone to access the Internet. Another 42% of American adults also own tablets.
This means people are looking at your content through a variety of screen shapes and sizes (and there are probably more on their way). To ensure they have a streamlined experience, you need a responsive site.
Responsive websites are coded to adapt to a visitor’s screen—regardless of its shape or size.
For example, let’s take a look at The Woods Coffee website (their a local coffee juggernaut that has beautifully-designed cafes all over the region). Their desktop version is great:
But their mobile version is not-so-great . . .
The text and links are way too small, making it difficult to read and even more impossible to navigate.
By way of comparison, check out Aslan Brewing’s mobile-optimized website:
They have simple contact icons/links at the bottom of the screen, and in the upper-left, they have a mobile-friendly menu represented with the typical “hamburger” icon.
In addition to giving your customers a bad website experience, not having a mobile-responsive site could also damage your SEO. In April 2015, Google announced a new search algorithm update that penalizes non-mobile-friendly websites and sinks them lower in search results.
This update, affectionately referred to as “Mobilegeddon,” could impact more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies and who knows how many small businesses still clutching to their websites from 10 years ago.
Next steps: Find out if your website is mobile friendly by entering your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tester.
For example, to test The Woods Coffee site, I just plunked in the link and got this analysis:
If your site meets any of the above criteria, it’s time to make a change . . . not just so your website looks better, but so you can get more sales and customers.
We’d love to help you. Get in touch with us today to see how we can optimize your website and increase your sales and conversions.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (360) 747-7401.