Your website is never complete. Then why do most of us design and build a website and never touch it for months and even years?
In a word. Action.
It’s not like you don’t know what to do. You can use Google, can’t you? There is a treasure trove of ideas and knowledge online for you to take and make your own.
What stops us is action. You allow all the other tasks to get in the way.
Take action on these next 5 ideas to make your website better this week. These ideas work and I have examples to show you.
1. No More Sliders
Why did we start using sliders? What part of the web design process did we decide sliders are a good thing? I can’t find any evidence online that they helped increase conversions or that people waited around long enough to read them all. They just don’t make marketing sense anymore.
Online users attention span is getting shorter by the week. According to this article on Time.com, 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on a single web page.
So, see those five sliders you have that change every five seconds? There’s very little chance your web user is getting to see all your messages, therefore they don’t fully understand what you do.
With so much information online, the end-user is naturally figuring ways to filter the billions of information that’s on their screens. They need to know what you do, right NOW! They can’t wait 15-25 seconds to figure that out and you need to respect their time and give them what they want instantly.
Here are your two options:
1. You get rid of the slider and you have one main image with a clear message that explains exactly what you do and what’s in it for them.
Here are examples…
The Think Zap website has only been live for two weeks and we’re seeing increased conversions already with our simple message and easy navigation for users to start their project.
Who doesn’t want to accelerate their sales? I know I do. The other clever thing about this homepage is Jill Konrath has got all these recognised brands and news outlets to show her authority and build trust with the user instantly.
Very clever homepage design indeed.
We now know we need to keep it simple, and being clear and straight to the point is key but what if you have more than one message or it’s very hard for you to explain what you do in one phrase. There are some sliders however that can work but the user needs clear instructions to stay and wait. But if that can’t be achieved, here’s what to do…
2. If you do have more than one message, create a captivating video and replace the slider with this. You can have the video set to play instantly or if you give the user the opportunity to click the video, you’ve then captured their attention. The video has to be great to keep them watching and listening to your message.
Now, you’ve got 30-120 seconds (longer if the video is really good) to share your message, giving you plenty of time to explain all your key points. The longer the video, the better it needs to be to keep users engaged and not clicking away.
Freeagent’s homepage is amazing. Not only do they have a quote from a happy customer, which plays on the user’s self-interest (more on this in the next idea), it also has a big play button to get people to watch their video so FreeAgent can explain their accounting software in more detail.
Brilliantly done from FreeAgent.
2. It’s Not About You, It’s About Them
The copy on most websites are all about the website owner. What they do and how they do it. I’ve been guilty of this, also.
In the past, being a marketer I’ve understood that we needed to speak directly to the customer but also speak to search engines for those keyword rankings. This method doesn’t work anymore.
Building a winning website is part clicking a mouse, part psychology.
But, here’s a little secret…it can all be about you, too.
If you commit by creating copy for your potential customers, that speaks directly to them and is written in their self-interest, they will respond enthusiastically when they believe it’s something gained for themselves.
Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power explains that if you want something from someone, it’s best to appeal what you need to their self-interest, since they will respond more to this.
Here’s a simple example:
ABC accountants are an accountancy company from Glasgow. (This is about the company)
ABC accountants will save your business on average an extra £25,000 per annum on Tax. (This is about the customer)
Which statement is more powerful? The second one, right!
James Altucher talks about this method in an amusing way in his TedX Talk. He basically says, if we lead to serve our audience without expecting anything in return, we will eventually exceed those expectations. Because in the back of our head, we always expect something in return, that’s why we’re in business, right?
We can gain our own self-interests by appealing to other people’s self-interest.
Here’s James Altucher’s TedX Talk. It starts at 11:18 to reference my point above but do yourself a favour and watch the whole thing. It’s funny and informative at the same time.
3. Get Real
Remember the film Field of Dreams? The one where a voice speaks out to Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come.”
More like, if you build it, no-one comes. Has that happened to you?
The build it, they will come method doesn’t work with websites. Hard work, sheer determination and a strategy to consistently grow your website is the only method you need.
Sorry, no easy fix here!
How much money should you spend on your website?
This is a topic I’m familiar with. I’ve written about this in the past and spoke at a few events on why you should treat your website like an employee.
When you hire an employee, you expect them to take on tasks that will either increase profits or free up your time so you can spend more of your time on profit making tasks. A website is the same. You put in processes so your website and marketing consistent brings in leads and sales to help your business make profit.
Another problem I see working with clients is they spend a fortune on their shop or office with the best equipment and an eye catching shop front. Then they only want to spend £500 on a website. More people will visit your website than your office or shop and it’s also the first interaction they get with your business.
It’s time to invest, but invest wisely. I’m not saying you have to spend a fortune. It’s like that old saying – you get out of it, what you put in. But we want more than we put in. It’s profits we need after all.
A website can be more valuable than an employee and if you expect an income, then expect to spend or work your butt off providing the best possible resources on the web to gain customers.
4. Call-to-actions (CTA’s)
Most human-beings learn from the school system where we are told what to do, how to behave and how to act. Some people break from the norm but most of us behave the same way.
When we’re told to do something by someone we trust, we do it. It’s natural. And sometimes when we’re not asked to do something, we don’t do it.
Have you ever had your other half say to you, why didn’t you do this or that and your reply was, “You never asked me!”, even though you really know you should have done it. Maybe this is a guy thing or just me, but my common sense should tell me, I don’t need instructions, I should be doing it anyway. Or maybe I’m just lazy.
Or, have you ever asked your child why haven’t you put the scissors away? They reply, “You never asked me!”
My point is this. You naturally get things done if you’re asked from someone you trust to do it.
Don’t expect your visitors to do what you need them to do, tell them what to do. It improves click-throughs, more page views and most importantly, more leads.
Have a look at these examples below:
Evernote is awesome. I use it for blogging, a place to store blog ideas, client strategies and so much more. For any business owner, they’re looking for ways to increase productivity and store all their work. The CTA above is simple, stands out and tells you exactly what to do.
This. Is. Great. From the headline to the sign up for free button, it’s the perfect homepage and CTA you can get. Curiosity kicks in because of the robots on Mars text but then the sign up for free button will make a lot of visitors join Slack.
5. Learn Content Marketing
Having a website for your business and not being an internet marketer can be daunting. You read you need to be an SEO expert, social media ninja (worst work title to give yourself, ever), email marketing guru, PR specialist and so on.
Then you see the online landscape and see it’s huge and you panic a little, then don’t get started. And because of this you continue to wait for leads to magically appear in your inbox. Sound familiar?
The one online marketing skill that brings all this together is content marketing. Once you start to learn about this topic, you will start to see that you only need to learn certain aspects of SEO, you only need one Facebook ad to start with, your content becomes your PR strategy and to begin with, you only need to learn the basics of email marketing.
Of course content marketing is so much more and so are the other skills of SEO, PR, Social and so on but it brings it all in one place. You can do one bit at a time and see massive results.
Now, you’re in the game. You’re doing a bit of everything and it’s time to improve on a certain aspect of your marketing or you can introduce something new. You improve some more and keep on getting better. Now, you’re an accomplished content marketer.
Start off by doing one. Create one blog article. Next, set up Mailchimp. Now create a sign-up form for your website. Write an ebook. Just. One. Task. At. A. Time.
I leave you with this. Ryan Holiday says in his book, The Obstacle Is The Way, that We’re A-to-Z thinkers, worrying about A, obsessing over Z, yet forgetting all about B through Y. And Seth Godin said on his blog, The Simple Power of One, if you did just one marketing task a day, it could be small or big, but you will have done at least 200 of them in the next year. Enough molehills will make a mountain.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be hard. But, it is mighty!
Thanks for getting this far down. I do hope you can take these ideas and implement them. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Do you have any ideas you would like to share?