If you watch budget design shows on TV, you know that one of the designers’ favorite tricks is paint. It’s cheap, fast, and gives a whole new look to furniture and walls. Rarely do you see a makeover on a budget that doesn’t at least paint an accent wall. White walls hardly ever remain white.
Websites are the white wall of your marketing plan. You can make little changes to pique people’s interest and move potential customers and members further down the sales funnel.
Because “paint jobs” are affordable, they help small businesses and small-staff organizations move on to bigger and brighter projects. They also pave the way for more meaningful website and private community engagement. If your design and UX work well, everything else will follow.
Here are six easy website fixes that will provide a big return on investment.
1. Add or Improve Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
CTAs are one of the most commonly forgotten website components. Why? Because many non-marketers feel like the next step for visitors to take on their website is obvious. Unfortunately, to most visitors it’s not.
Your visitors are there because they’re looking for something (most likely an answer to a problem) or they found something about your organization interesting. Capitalize on this and give them explicit next steps with calls-to-action.
Effective CTAs have three things in common:
- Make sense for the content on the page. Your CTAs should naturally blend with the information on your webpage. For example, at the bottom of your “Events” section, you could add a “See the Agenda” CTA to connect readers with a logical next step. As visitors start to understand your event, you can progress to bigger actions like “Register Now”.
- Appeal to your audience. Similar to painting a white wall, you should make CTAs bold and colorful so they stand out and attract attention. Don’t go crazy, though. Pick colors that are aesthetically pleasing so you don’t put anyone off.
- Have simple commands. Don’t make visitors think. Everyone should understand the next step without taking time to ponder what, exactly, you mean.
Still not sure what your CTAs should look like? Check out these examples from HubSpot.
2. Optimize for Mobile
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth saying again. Make your website mobile friendly. If you don’t, you’ll sacrifice SEO and user experience because Google started boosting mobile-friendly sites in 2015, furthered that policy last year, and will likely continue making similar updates this year.
As the public expresses their love of smartphones and tablets, you can count on Google to make your site harder and harder to find if it’s not mobile-friendly. And Google isn’t the only one who will penalize you for a desktop-only design. 72% of users want websites to be mobile friendly, and 67% are more likely to make a purchase or use your services if your site works well on different devices. So if you’re not already catering to the masses of people checking in on their smartphones, now is the time to start.
The easiest way to get in on mobile is to select a mobile-friendly theme with your content management system (CMS). This should be easy, as most CMS themes support responsive design, automatically adjusting your website based on device size and orientation. If you don’t have this option, you can work with a designer to create a mobile-friendly experience.
3. A/B Testing
Marketing is becoming less an art and more a science. It’s all based on data and testing different variables. In marketing, this processes is called A/B testing. You create two versions of a website element and see which one visitors like most. You could create two CTAs, for instance. Version A may say “Sign Up Now”, while version B says “Join Now”. The one that gets the most clicks is the winner.
Improve your website by A/B testing different CTAs, fonts, layouts, colors, and content. You can test for results as a whole or based on visitor segments. For example, First Midwest Bank used A/B testing to find out if visitors living in different states preferred different landing page images. They did. The image of a smiling man increased conversions by 47% in Illinois, but decreased them 42% in Indiana. Based on their test results, First Midwest Bank created 26 separate landing pages that achieved a 195% increase in conversions.
Apply findings from your A/B tests to give visitors more of what they like and less of what they don’t. Here’s some great information for beginners about A/B testing and a few other examples of surprising A/B test results that were good for business.
4. Eliminate Multiple Logins
Have you ever logged into a website, then had to re-enter credentials when you need to access your online community or register for an upcoming event? It’s distracting, frustrating, and creates a disconnect for your members and visitors. Why should you have to sign in multiple times? The system should already have your information.
If you want less frustration and more engagement, remove multiple logins by setting up a single sign-on process. This eliminates a key barrier to participation, making it easier for people to get involved.
5. Personalize Communication and Content
No one wants to be just another face in the crowd and with today’s technology, they don’t have to be. With data, automation rules, and smart content that adjusts based on who’s viewing your website, you can (and should) personalize your offers in the same way that behemoths like Amazon and Netflix do. Just picture Amazon’s “Related to items you’ve viewed” or “Inspired by your Wish List” if you need examples.
The difficulty in personalization is accuracy and scale. To make your personalization more accurate and helpful, collect as much data on your website visitors as you can. What pages do they visit over and over again? Sort data and activity history to identify trends, then give each visitor suggestions and CTAs that meet their needs.
6. Offer Self-Service
My free hours are not necessarily your free hours. Neither are your members’ or customers’. They have different schedules, are in different time zones, and may not be able to log in during traditional office hours. Sometimes they don’t want to be bothered by calling someone. They want to buy event tickets as they wait in the doctor’s office or join your community on a whim when they click over to your site.
Adding self-service to your website lets visitors do all these things and more. It eliminates the ‘I have to call you now’ barrier to engagement, helping you see improved sales and retention. Give your visitors the ability to do what they want to do, when they want to do it, and they’ll be more likely to get it done.
Polish Up Your Website Regularly
Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. Just changing the color of your CTAs or the text inside them could increase your click-through rate and move your visitors through the buyer’s journey.
So try out a few of these tweaks when you have time. You could see major improvements in your website's effectiveness.