06 Jun Could Your Website Be Doing Better?
As we’ve said before, a website – like love – is a many splendored thing. And just as in love, keeping the relationship fulfilling requires some attention. Complacency can be a killer to traffic and conversions, yet it’s sometimes easy for seemingly minor issues to go unnoticed until the damage is done. Now is the time to ask yourself if your website could be doing better – and take an honest look at possible room for improvement.
Regular readers of our humble blog know the major must-haves for website optimization: page loading speed, mobile optimization, well-designed landing pages and call-to-action (CTA) buttons, compelling images and internal links. But a closer examination can reveal the following fine-tuning tweaks it will be well worth your time to perform in order to improve both performance and the user experience.
Also called “negative space,” consider white space as the breathing room of your web page. It subtly directs the visitors’ eyes to the information you want them to read or view – then, hopefully, act upon. Whether you’re a web developer defending the use of white space to a client, or a business owner/decision-maker who considers it “wasted” space, it’s essential to good design and, in turn, to a website that successfully converts visitors to customers.
“White space makes your content more legible while also enabling the user to focus on the elements surrounding the text,” writes Darling Jiminez for HubSpot. “White space can also make your website feel open, fresh and modern and if your branding is consistent with these then it can help you communicate that feeling to the user.”
Jiminez references Crazy Egg’s blog post on the subject, which notes that white space around text and titles increases user attention by 20%. The post goes into further detail regarding the best practices and benefits of white space, for those who want to dig deeper.
Social and share buttons
Visitors to your website most likely also want to visit your social media accounts. Our Best Content Writing Team members are always baffled by websites lacking social media buttons. If your organization is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn – any one or all – the buttons should be on every page, either near the top or the footer. Yes, social media accounts primarily exist to drive traffic to your website, but your website should reciprocate. Not everyone discovers your website through social media.
If your site has a blog, make sure you give readers the opportunity to share the awesome content you create with social sharing buttons, which are usually at the top or bottom of blog posts. This allows readers to share the link to your blog post with their own social media followers. As marketing expert Erica Dube observes, social sharing may help boost organic traffic to your website.
“If your content is being shared to new audiences, it also opens up a new traffic source for your site,” Dube writes. “The more people who see your post, the more clicks you will receive to lead them back over to your website’s content.”
Fix typos and poor grammar
Nothing tanks the credibility of your business like typos and poor grammar. You can offer the best product or service and be the most ethical organization ever, but typos – in particular – just scream carelessness that can cost you sales. If you can’t be bothered to pay attention to such details, website visitors will question how much attention you pay to the quality of your offerings and operations.
It doesn’t matter if a third-party web developer or outside agency handles your website. Your name is on it, and you are ultimately responsible, so be sure to review the demo site carefully before approving it to go live.
If your website is mostly handled in-house, hire a professional copywriter to produce the text, or an editor to proofread and make corrections. It may be an additional expense, but will pay off with quality copy that goes a long way toward establishing trust.
State your value proposition
Within five seconds of landing on your home page, can visitors determine what your business does? The value proposition (sometimes called the mission statement) tells the visitor what you do and why you do it. Orbit Media Marketing Director Amanda Gant recommends also adding your value proposition to your about page and/or blog, as well as your home page.
As an example, Gant provides the following template. Fill in the blanks specific to your business.
[our company] is where [our audience] gets [what information] that offers [what benefit].
Applied, this value proposition template would read as follows:
“National Widgets is where manufacturers get the highest-quality widgets that provide dependable function for heavy-duty machinery.”
Be sure to use a visual to accompany your value proposition, says Eric Sharp, founder of ProtoFuse. “Images communicate much faster than words. Show the product, the hero shot or an image reinforcing your main message. Improving the articulation of your value prop will boost your website’s clarity. And clarity can’t be underestimated in today’s noisy world.”
Use hyperlink differentiation
Adding a link to a page means that you intend for the reader to click there. So make it easy with visual cues, such as text in a different color and/or underlined text. Most people recognize underlined blue text as a link. They assume clicking it will take them to another page or website. Links in low-contrasting colors are not as likely to be recognized as such – and more likely to be overlooked.
Also, the longer the link, the easier to identify it is – improving its chances of being clicked and – if it’s an internal link – help boost your website’s SEO.
Other visually appealing style improvements include the following:
- Consistent website pages – As HubSpot’s Jiminez observes, keeping design, layout and colors consistent throughout your site establishes a professional appearance and good user experience. Again, the quality of your website reflects the quality of your business.
- Use bullet points – Text-heavy blocks of copy soon try the patience of most visitors, who quickly want the information they seek. A couple of lines of introductory copy followed by bullet points breaking down features and benefits to their key essentials will keep visitors on you page – and website – longer.
Parting words of wisdom to wrap it all up
- Solve problems: Chris Brogan – New York Times best-selling author of nine marketing and business books. “Most websites are written around how great you are and not what problem you solve. ‘You want better skills and strategies for business? We’re here to help.’ Make your buyer the hero.”
- Focus on results, not features: Jacob Cass – graphic designer and founder of the design blog JUST™Creative. “Instead, tell your potential customers the benefits that your product or service will do for them. A classic example of this is a drill. Customers don’t want a drill, they want a hole in the wall. So focus on the quality of the holes and how easy it was to create those holes – not the actual drill itself.”
- Focus on your customers, not yourself: Ann Handley – Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and The Wall Street Journal best-selling author. “Instead of focusing on what you do or what you sell or why you’re awesome, instead focus on why your customers should care. How do you help them? How do you shoulder their burdens? Ease their pain? Make their lives better/richer/smarter? That is your story.”
Whether your website needs fine-tuning on the nuts-and-bolts level, or deeper work on its reason for existence – as illustrated by Steimle’s examples above – Virtual Stacks Systems can help your brand express itself to begin – or continue – a beautiful relationship with your target audience.
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