|Eli Burford on 27 January 2015|
The goal of a website is normally for it to “convert” in one way or another—think product sales or engaged users (for example, the goal might be to get the user to make contact with you about a product or service).
With that in mind, there are some very simple things I have learned over the years that can help a website convert, or perform, slightly better—and they don’t need to cost a lot of time or money.
As a web designer and developer I normally find myself wanting to scrap a website and start from scratch when I’m presented with the goal of improving it, but I know very well that this isn’t always the most viable option. I’m learning that simply tweaking a few things in the current website can be very effective, as well as economical.
Here are just a few things to get you started.
Firstly, run through your website as if you were the user
Put yourselves in the shoes of your target customers, now step through your website and actually read all of the content to see if it reads correctly and helps the user accomplish their goals. Does it get the job done? Identify the problem then address it, even if it is just a matter of changing a word here and there.
I was on a local pizzeria’s website the other day and couldn’t find the phone number, so I went to start ordering online but the minimum order was $20… the pizza I wanted was $16. So, I had no option but to look even harder for the phone number. If I were anyone else I may have just given up and either gone somewhere else or made dinner myself.
Are your users likely to want your contact details front and center straight away? Pretty much 100% of the time they do, especially when they are viewing the website on their mobile phone.
Continually review and tweak your content
Something I learned in my earlier years of running Photoshop tutorial Blogs was to always be modifying (improving) your content, don't just set it and forget it—there might be something that could be done better but you don't realise it until some time down the track. This could be wording, layout of a page, or the images you’ve used in articles—freshen things up!
Iterate quickly and monitor the results
Don't dwell on things too much—that small change you make probably isn't going to be the end of the world. Trust your gut feeling about it. Quickly make the change then check back later to see if has had a positive impact, either with Analytics or gather some feedback from your users.
This draws on some of my other points. Review what you put in place 1, 2 or 3 years ago and assess if you still need those 20 pages in your main menu. Your users might actually find your menu structure very confusing because there are simply too many options, or some of the options should be contained within a sub menu. Don’t be afraid to remove—you can even store the old page somewhere just in case you want it back later—removing things isn’t the end of the world.
Make some visual tweaks
If you don't have a background in design or development then this might be a bit trickier. If you are intent on doing it yourself, then you can use a purchased template or better yet, look into implementing a (part of a) CSS framework such as Bootstrap to your website that will allow you to call on a few extra visual niceties such as attractive blockquotes, buttons, etc. One of particular note here is buttons—instead of having plain text links scattered throughout your paragraph text, you might simplify your copy and have a nice juicy call-to-action button underneath your block of text, like so:
In addition, make use of your h2s, h3s, blockquotes, etc—don’t just chuck a slab of text on each page and hope for the best—visually (and semantically) create hierarchy in your content. Without a little CSS magic your HTML elements are going to potentially look somewhat average, but again this is where you will need to spend some time learning about CSS, frameworks, etc. so you can make the changes that are going to improve your website.
If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about how you (or we) can improve your website, give us a call or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 7324 7170.