There is nothing quite like the energy that swirls around the office as a website nears its go-live date. Those last few days are a whirlwind of dotted i’s, crossed t’s, and closed brackets as all the final pieces come together. Sometimes during the push to publish, site owners get so focused on the details that they forget to step back and look at the big picture. When this happens, it becomes our job as a web partner to help bring things back into perspective and give the site one last review for anything that might stand in the way of conversion.
Blayzer has designed, built, and marketed hundreds of websites big and small over the last 20 years. Among the lessons we’ve learned are seven things to avoid on your site if you want to raise your website conversion rate and capture more leads and sales.
You’ve heard of the “Seven Deadly Sins?” Let’s see how they apply to website conversion optimization.
Belief that one is essentially better than others, failure to acknowledge others’ accomplishments, and excessive admiration of the personal self
Is your website all about you? It shouldn’t be. Your visitors are the star of the show. Tailor your website content around them — who they are, what they need, and what they want. Less “we,” more “you.”
Intense and uncontrolled desire; can mean money, fame, power, etc.
Just because your website’s goal is to generate leads and revenue doesn’t mean you need to be desperate about it. Are you bombarding users with pop-ups and forms and calls-to-action (CTAs) at every turn? Slow your roll! Be focused and tasteful with your conversion calls.
As web specialists, there is nothing that makes us cringe harder than clicking through to read a blog article and getting instantly blasted with a newsletter signup or similar conversion pop-up. Can you chill out a minute and let me do what I came here to do, please? Yes, I’m a great target for your newsletter, but I don’t know you yet. Maybe I clicked your link by mistake. Maybe I’ll disagree with your viewpoint. Could you at least let me read the article before showing me how desperate you are for followers, fans, subscribers, or customers?
A smarter strategy in this situation would be to trigger your pop-up after the user scrolls to a certain point or has been on the page for a certain amount of time. Better yet, catch me on the next click or second visit. There’s a lot to be said for playing it cool, especially in your early-stage sales content.
Overindulgence and overcompensation to the point of waste; can be interpreted as selfishness or placing one’s own needs above the interest and well-being of others
Is your website a bloated mess of plug-ins and widgets and modules and more? You might want to scale back. All that clutter could be hiding your core message. You end up with something that acts like a European intersection – confusing, overwhelming, and discouraging.
Take a deep breath and repeat the following mantra: “’Just in case’ is ‘Just a waste.’” It’s okay to use those cool widgets and spice up your pages with media and interaction points where it makes sense, but if there is no immediate purpose to the widget, plug-in, or whatever else you’re cluttering the space with, get rid of it. Instead of doing all your tricks at once, show them off in stages throughout your defined conversion funnels. (You have set those up, haven’t you? If not, we should talk.)
For an even more advanced strategy, perform some slick A/B testing to find out if and how each element impacts your site, user experience, and conversion results. The data will likely surprise and enlighten you. Anything that doesn’t have a positive effect should be either eliminated or reconsidered.
Another way to identify conversion gluttony is to ask yourself a simple question: Once you get your coveted conversions, what are you doing with them? Are you collecting email addresses, but not using them to stay in touch with customers and prospects? When is the last time you touched base with those 500+ LinkedIn connections? Are you clogging up your CRM with useless information fields that waste screen real estate and slow down your business processes? What about your leads? You’d probably be shocked to know that a 2011 study by Harvard Business Review found that 23% of online sales leads are not responded to. All that work to get the lead, only to ignore nearly one quarter of them? Sure sounds like gluttony to us.
Excessive desire and pursuit of material possessions; an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth; can inspire such actions as hoarding, theft, robbery, violence, trickery or manipulation
We’ve talked about conversion lust; now let’s take things a step further with conversion greed. Many websites not only desperately drive you towards conversion, but once they get you there, they don’t know when to stop.
Some common examples of conversion greed include:
- Bloated forms that ask for entirely too much information. Do you really need to know my gender? I’m just trying to read this article.
- “Newsletter” subscriptions that spawn endless streams of webinar invites, weekly recaps, and conference invitations. It’s even worse if they all come from different senders.
- Channel-hopping chains of CTAs. When I follow you on Twitter, please don’t immediately auto reply with a DM thanking me and asking me to like your page on Facebook.
Gratitude is letting someone know you appreciate what they’ve done. Asking them to do more is Greed.
Simultaneous discontent toward and desire for another’s traits, status, abilities or rewards; sorrow for another’s good
Unlike most other items on this list, envy isn’t something you can easily detect from the surface of a site. Its roots typically take hold during the development of your overall website conversion strategy. When designing a new site, one of the first steps you should take is to evaluate your market and look closely at competitors.
Where most sites go wrong is by viewing these sites purely as comparables, not contrastables. Your competitive eye should be looking for places to innovate, differentiate, and dominate – not imitate. Does your competitor ask users to sign up for an email newsletter? Ask for a Twitter follow. Is your industry flooded with eBooks? Consider a short video series instead. It’s all too easy to fall into the “me-too-marketing” trap and end up with a website that’s one big cliché.
Laziness; failure to do things that one should do; failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts
Up to this point, we’ve thrown our shade at websites that overdo it when it comes to conversions, but they’re not the only ones going against the gospel of good sales and marketing practices. Equally sinful are the sloths – the sites with lazy or nonexistent CTAs. Have you ever landed on a site, then watched its intro video or read a few lines of copy only to be left hanging with a “so what?” lack of direction? Chances are, your next click wasn’t a conversion – it was X-ing out of the tab and moving on to the next option.
Similarly, if your path to online lead conversion is paved with little more than, “Here’s a thing — take it,” then you can expect equally underwhelming results. You don’t need to go over the top, but you should spend some time and effort to create a compelling CTA. Use copy and imagery to explain the value of taking the action. How will your users benefit? What will they get? What will happen next? Uncertainty is not a feeling you want to trigger during your conversion process.
Inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger; can manifest as impatience, revenge, and self-destructive behavior
We’re not too proud to admit that our excellent, creative, unique article theme was put in a bit of danger when we first sat down to brainstorm examples of wrath in web conversion optimization. But, the more we discussed the previous 6 items in this list, the more conviction we had that the topic must stand. In fact, the solution to our challenge of finding an example of anger, rage, and wrath in the conversion process can be found within each of the points above.
The wrath element isn’t within any messages communicated by the business to the user. It’s in the frustration the user feels during their overall conversion experience with your website. Does your conversion push, impede, or interrupt the action a user is trying to take? Examples here include:
- Broken links
- Eye-straining fonts and colors
- Pop ups that cover critical content
- Forms that make users jump through hoops with required fields and user-unfriendly captchas