Hack Your Website for Success with these 7 Steps
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Got a business website? Is it an effective sales or marketing tool, or is it just something pretty to look at when you turn your computer on?
Websites are an essential part of doing business, so it’s important to understand how they can work for you.
Ask yourself the following:
- What do you want your site to do?
- What do you want visitors to your site to do?
Without clear objectives, a website is about as useful as a box of business cards hidden in your desk drawer.
Outlined below are 7 hacks to help improve the performance of your website.
Get rid of that stupid slider
Some people will argue that sliders are cool. These people wear polo shirts with the collar up and are still sporting faux hawks.
Sliders do not work. Therefore, they are uncool.
Sliders are distracting and affect the speed of your website.
If the purpose of your website is to drive sales, you want your users to get to the purchasing page as quickly as possible. You don’t want to distract them with moving images or something that resembles a banner ad. And you certainly don’t want them to leave your site because it’s taking forever to load.
You wouldn’t put a hamburger stand out the front of your gym, would you? A slider has the same effect.
Use a professional copywriter
I’m not saying you can’t spell, or that you don’t have a good grasp of the English language.
But a professional copywriter has a better grasp of the English language and understands that certain words or phrases are more effective than others when it comes to making a sale. A professional copywriter can weave a story around your product or service and make a user feel good about the fact that they are spending money with you. You might be able to describe what you sell, but a good copywriter can create a desire for it.
Professional copywriting can make a website. The best design in the world is useless without the language to fit.
Lose the stock images
Consumers are more likely to spend money if they feel a connection with a site. Some of the more successful brands have spent a lot of time and energy creating a sense of community around their products. This cannot be achieved using cheesy stock photos from the internet.
So lose the woman with the headset and the dirty big smile that says the most exciting part of her day is answering your phone call. No one owns a work shirt the exact shade of white as their teeth. A little creativity and a more honest representation of your business will go a long way if you want to stand out from the crowd and connect with your users.
Designing a website is only just the beginning. Once your site is live, you should take the time to check if your visitors will like it, if it is easy to navigate, and if it serves your business well.
How do you do this?
There are a few options:
Usability testing –. 5 second tests allow you to upload a screenshot of your home page and have users answer a few questions. This test will help you identify if potential customers understand everything you need them to in the first 5 seconds; who you are, what you do, and most importantly, how to navigate your site. This is imperative to your website’s success. Try usabilityhub.com if you want to test your site.
Conversion testing – If you suspect that a different design for your home page will better serve your business objectives, software such as Optimizely allows you to deliver the original and alternatives to your users LIVE. Easy to read data about user behaviour will help you determine if you need to apply any changes to improve your site’s performance.
Services such as Inspectlet will help you track your visitors through screen captures, which record your users’ browsing behaviour, and heat maps, which highlight where on a page users’ eyes are attracted to, and how far down the page they scroll.
The need for speed
Amazon estimates that if their site took just one second longer to load, they would lose $1.6 billion in sales each year.
We’re an impatient lot, and we do certain chores online to save time. If a website is slow, we leave.
And if the speed of a website matters to the user then it matters to Google. Speed is a crucial factor in Google’s search algorithms. If you want to perform well in Google search, deliver your website to your users fast.
A one-second delay in page speed can cost you 7% in conversions. What would a 7% drop in conversions mean to your business? Can you afford to drop that straight from your bottom line? We know that Amazon can not.
Understand your analytics
If you don’t understand how and when your visitors are browsing, how do you expect to improve the performance of your website?
Google Analytics provides easy to read metrics to help you monitor your site’s users. These include; total visits, unique visits, bounce rate, traffic sources and popular content.
If you have very clear objectives for your site such as an e commerce sale, consider working backwards: if you know that customers who make a purchase end on the yoursite.com.au/thanks-for-purchasing/ page, monitor the traffic sources leading to that page. This will help you understand which marketing efforts are leading to sales.
If your objective is to get people to fill out a contact form, do the same. You might need to create a unique page to redirect people once they have filled out that form. This will give you an opportunity to lead them to secondary objectives such as social media, while allowing you to track the paths to success.
Get some feedback from the people that matter
Sometimes the best thing a visitor can do for you is to give feedback on their experience.
This may result in some negative comments, but if it helps you to improve your site and increase sales, it’s worth it.
You can install a survey pop-up or feedback tab to load on any or all of your pages to get specific feedback.
Websites have come a long way in a very short time. We can no longer afford to be satisfied with something that just looks pretty on our screens. A website should serve to expand our business, by attracting visitors and encouraging them to stay long enough to contact us or make a sale.
These 7 hacks are simply the tip of the iceberg, but they are a great start. So have a crack and take the time to understand what determines the success of your website.
Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He has a specific focus on local and mobile SEO, content strategy, and marketing automation. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so. Pick his brain on Clarity.fm.