One of the easiest things in the world to do is mess up a website — that’s why web designers are pretty meticulous about the websites they design. But there are always those websites you design where everything looks right, but the site just isn’t producing the results your client wants. The traffic is there; the product is rock-solid and has plenty of social proof, and the traffic isn’t bouncing…but it’s not converting either. Could it be that one of these few harder-to-spot problems is subtly ruining your conversions?
More Is Less
Especially for commercial websites, it’s easy to overcrowd. Pay a teenage girl $5 to navigate to your website and tell you the three most annoying things about it — you’ll learn a lot. If you have pop-up anything, auto-play anything, or pretty much any element that interrupts or forces itself into the user’s experience, you’re losing conversions — modern surfers don’t want to put up with that stuff, and they know they don’t have to.
Too many interruptions and annoyances will
- Distract from your USP and your call to action.
- Require unnecessary load time and maintenance (as flashy elements are the most prone to crash.)
- Alienate customers who don’t have the necessary plugins to make those elements work (i.e. Shockwave, Flash, Java, and so on.)
If your website looks just like a dozen of its competitors’, you’re not making an impression on anyone. That traffic that isn’t bouncing? It’s trying to figure out why it should care, and if it can’t do it after a couple of clicks (and those are the patient ones), it’s outta there. Clichés (both in word and in picture), blatant borrowing of ideas and phrases from your competitor’s websites, and other generic-ness cannot help but drag your site’s conversions downward.
Boring websites will
- Ensure that no one remembers your site 5 minutes later.
- Cause people to switch to a competitor without even noticing that they did.
- Ruin your credibility in the eyes of the surfers clever enough to notice how much your site looks like a competitor’s.
If your surfers can’t immediately look at your webpage and figure out where on the site they are, how to get to where they want to be, and what they’re supposed to be doing or learning on the page they’re currently on, you need organizational help. Clear navigational elements, headlines that state the purpose of each page, and obvious calls-to-action are your friends.
Poor organization will:
- Cause surfers to do something other than what you intend with a particular page.
- Get surfers lost on your site and convince them to click away before they get to the call-to-action.
- Lead potential customers to associate the brand with a sloppy, disorganized way of doing business.
Alongside all of the other “common-sense” rules of web design, if you can remember to keep your sites simple, unique, and organized, your client’s conversions will improve. Start with these basics before you tackle redesigning a site that isn’t converting — you may be pleasantly surprised with how much easier (and less expensive) the fix might be.
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