8 resolutions for a healthier website this New Year

New Year is the time for resolutions. For many people, resolutions focus on health, fitness, diet and weight-loss. If you are anything like me, those resolutions will last maybe a week or two before the bad habits start to creep back in. So this year, along with your own diet and health resolutions, why not make a resolution to improve the health of your website. These 8 tips will help get your website into good shape, and with a little on-going maintenance, it will stay that way.

1. Does the content of your site stress the benefits of your products or service, or simply the features?

Your potential customers want to know WHY they should buy your product over someone else’s. What are the benefits to them of purchasing your product?

Example: A TV store could say “We have a great selection of 42” Plasma Screens and home audio systems”. What they should be saying is something like “With our 42” inch Plasma screens and surround sound system, you won’t even know you aren’t in the movie theatre”.

TRY IT: Tweak your wording to highlight what your product or service can do for your potential customers — the benefits, not simply the features. Include images of your product or service in action to add interest visually.

2. Are the forms on your page asking for more than 4 pieces of information?

Research shows that asking for more than 4 pieces of information is likely to cause a drop in conversions. Ask yourself what you really need to know. Usually first and last name, and email address are sufficient — sometimes company name too.

TRY IT: If you are asking for too much information, try a shorter form and see if your conversion rate improves.

3. Where is your most important information located?

People are less likely to scroll to information that is placed “below the fold” (the point where the size of the screen cuts off visible content).

TRY IT: Look at each page and bring any content that you really do not want people to miss above the fold. If there is a lot of text, reduce it enough to encourage conversions so as not to overwhelm users with detail.

That being said, don’t cram everything into the first screen. People do scroll, but you have to give them a reason to. Make sure your content is compelling to keep them engaged, and use visual triggers to help draw the visitor down the page.

4. What information is included in your headlines?

Are headlines meaningful and compelling? With one of our clients, Kinaxis, we performed a headline test — the headline that included a reputable industry brand name (“S&OP: 2008 Aberdeen Research Benchmark Report”) resonated best with the visitors as it helped add credibility and reduce risk.

TRY IT: If your heading is something like “Telemarketing Software” try adding some meaning to it such as “ Telemarketing Software that Boosts Productivity”, or including industry brand names.

5. What is your call to action (CTA)?

If the CTA you currently have is not working (whether it be to contact you, watch a video, sign-up for your eNewsletter, take a free demo etc.) try testing either different CTAs, or different wording.

TRY IT: Are you asking people to phone you? Try an email address instead. Are you asking people to watch a video? Try a free demo instead. Change ‘Call Today’ to ‘See How it Works’ etc.

6. Where is your CTA located?

Having the call to action above the fold is best practice, but having it below the fold under very valuable content can help to deliver more qualified conversions. Without clear CTAs, your visitors won’t know what to do next, or why to do it.

TRY IT: If you want to increase the quantity of conversions, trying moving the CTA to a better position where it is more visible, or changing the colour of the button, or the font type etc. If you want to improve the quality, try moving it to below the qualifying text.

7. Do you have credibility on your site?

Providing contact information such as a physical address, phone number, email address etc. builds trust with users and is more likely to encourage them to complete the desired action.

TRY IT: First, be sure to have a privacy policy on your site. Second, add links to it next to your call to action or anywhere that asks for personal information. Once people understand what you are going to do with their information, they are much more likely to provide it.

The Language used on your website

8. What language do you use on your site?

Avoid using acronyms, industry jargon, or technical terms that the user doesn’t understand or marketing fluff that is all company-centric as it will not help them understand what you have to offer.

TRY IT: Think about your site from the customer’s point of view, not your business’s point of view. If your site seems very technical with lots of industry terms, try using more customer-centric language that you know they will understand.