Presentation is everything. You wouldn’t walk into a business meeting with sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt, right? Because you know they wouldn’t take you seriously seeing you in those.
Trust me I know… cause I’ve done it.
…but oddly people don’t treat their website design the same.
If you know that people are going to judge you and your business within the first 3 second of visiting your website then wouldn’t it just make sense to make sure your website is optimized as possible?
Of course, it does, but before I show you how you can Let’s first talk about…
Note: you can also download the complete website optimization checklist here with 18 conversion design tips.
What is Website Optimization?
Check out this heat map for a typical website…
Don’t worry this isn’t some high-tech stuff that you won’t understand. It’s actually pretty simple.
A heat map tracks all the user’s mouse movements and assigns a heat signature (color) to various spots on your website.
The more people hover their mouse over an area the hotter it is (red). Get it?
But what do heat maps have to do with website optimization?
As you can see a typical user never visits your site and just looks at a single spot on your website. Their eyes are constantly scanning and looking for something that will grab their attention.
And the whole point of optimizing your website is to design and structure your website layout in such a way as to achieve a certain goal or result.
At this point, you’re probably wondering
Why is this important and how will it help my business?
First, an Optimized Website Can Increase Your Leads.
If you’re a service-oriented company, then wouldn’t it be great if your website will generate more new leads even when you’re sleeping?
Well… with a well-optimized website designed to generate more leads, you can do that. And if you’re already generating leads on your website than good for you!! You’re already way ahead of most of your competitions.
But wouldn’t you like to get 2x or maybe even 3x a number of leads than what you’re getting right now without you spending a penny more?
Of course, you would, we all would.
And this is why website optimization is so important because it can do just that. A well- optimized website can sometimes double or triple your lead conversion ratio.
Just imagine if you’re paying for your traffic. For the same $10 you pay per one lead now you can get 2 without any more work on your site.
A Well Optimized Website Can Increase Sales.
Just like a website optimized for lead conversion a well-optimized e-commerce website can double or trouble sales.
Look at Amazon… How much do you think they spent on optimizing their website? I can tell you it’s a lot maybe even billions!
Which company do you think came up with the idea of related products? You know “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”.
Lastly, It Can Increase User Engagement.
A good website should keep users around and keep them engaged. The longer a user stays on your site the better and this is for 2 reasons.
First, the big G (Google) keep tracks of your website’s bounce rate. The bounce rate measures how often a user would come to your site and click the back button or go to another site. And the longer that users stay on your website the lower the bounce rate.
A low bounce rate usually tells Google that on average most users who visit your website like what they see and is meeting their needs. As a result, Google just might decide to rank you higher in the search results which means more free traffic for you!!
Second, and the more important reason. The longer a user is willing to engage with your website the more likely hood that they will become your new client.
Do you see why it is important to optimize your website design? Good…
Now. Let’s me show you how you can optimize your website to get more leads, sales, client, and customers without spending a lot of money on testing.
Have a Modern Looking Website
Frankly, it is kind of sad that I should have to even put this as a key point here.
But unfortunately, I’ve often come across too many websites that looks like they’ve been in a dormant since the birth of the internet.
Design expectations have been raised!!
With so many great designers and beautiful websites out there. Your website has to be modern and beautiful too.
If people feel that your site is not visually up to their standards or outdated they are just going to hit the back button and leave. No engagement equals no new leads or sales for you.
Here look at how Amazon solved this problem.
This is Amazon’s first website back in 1995… I think. Even if this is not their first site I’m pretty sure that it is certainly one of their first.
Fortunately, you don’t see many of these websites out there anymore.
This is Amazon’s website starting maybe 2010. But look at the difference. It looks better, has better images, better navigation, better fonts and clearly, Amazon has learned from their users.
This is Amazon today (2017). Simple, clean, user-focused and beautiful.
Have a Mobile Optimized Website
Again, another fundamental basic but you’ll be surprised at how many websites out there aren’t mobile optimized?
To make this point let’s take a look at this Internet Usage, Growth, and Engagement chart below.
As you can see, in 2008 an average user would spend around 2.7 hours of their day browsing the web with only 12% coming from mobile devices.
Fast track to 2015 not only has an average user double his or her time browsing the web, now mobile devices account for 51% of that time while desktop only accounts for 42%.
Yikes… if your website is not mobile optimized then you’re losing more than half of all possible visitors.
Clear Benefit Statement
The term “above the fold” actually came from newspaper and tabloids. It simply means the part of the newspaper or tabloid that is visible to you before you’ve to unfold it.
This is intentionally done to get you to buy the newspaper. This is also where the editor would place the most important or entice headlines, news or photograph.
In website design, the “above the fold” idea also applies. But it’s really more like “above the scroll”. It is the part of your website where the user does not have to scroll to see.
Since this is the part of your website every user will see before anything it only makes sense to for you to pay the most attention to it.
Let me show you some great examples
This is Infusionsoft’s home page and “above the fold”. What you want to achieve with your “above the fold” is to articulate “what you do”, “how you can help the user” and a use a “Call to Action” (which I’ll explain a little bit later).
It is even better if you have a unique proposition, basically explaining what you can do for the user in a unique way.
If we look at Infusionsoft… their headline says
“Build better connections with leads and customers”.
This right away tells the visitor if they’re looking to build a better connection with their leads and customers then they’re at the right place.
Right after that you see their sub-headline and it says
“Sales and marketing automation software build exclusively for small business success”
This is a great sub-headline. As it explains exactly who they’re and who their software is design to help.
Here is another great example of “above the fold” from Unbounce. Again, a great headline that explains what they do, follow by the sub-headline and a call to action.
Use Call to Actions
I’m sure you’ve heard of the idea of using a call to actions. But if you haven’t let me explain what they are and why they’re so damn important.
Basically a “call to action” is just some element, be it text, button or form that instructions the user to take an action. Get it? Calllllll to action… you’re making a call to tell the user to take an action.
Anyway, once the user gets to know what you do and how you can help them. The next logical thing you would want the user to do is to take some sort of action. It could be to make a sale, or show them your new products, or enter their name and email.
This could really be whatever you want. The point is to get them to further engage with your website and your business.
Here are 2 popular company and their call to actions.
Here is Uber’s call to action for signing up drivers on the left. It’s a simple form that asks the drive to fill out some information. And that’s exactly what a good Call to Action should do. Asks the user to take the next step.
Here is Airbnb’s homepage. Why don’t you guess what their call to action is?
If you guess the button that says “See what’s new”…. Nope that’s not really their call to action.
In my opinion, their call to action is the destination search right below the top banner.
Think about it. Once you know what Airbnb do the next logical setup that Airbnb would want you to take is to find out whether they have a good property that you would want to rent from them right?
Use Social Proof
This goes back to the whole idea of increasing user engagements.
Back 6 to 8 years ago, most people aren’t using the internet heavily yet, there aren’t that many websites, especially quality ones.
And chances are, your website might just be the very first website the visitor has seen for your niche and their expectation is not a whole a lot. As long as they find what they’re looking for it is good.
Now. People visit your website with the expectation of having a great experience. They really want to see that there is a community going on, or a sense that there are other people interacting with your business.
Here are two great example of the right way to use social proofs
Hubspot shows a lot of impressive numbers. 3.4k Agency Partners, 4.5m Monthly Blog Visitors, and 2.3m Social Followers.
This shows the visitors that Hubspot has a lot of social engagement, a lot of people likes interacting and working with their business. It creates a sense of happiness and belonging.
Here is one from Instapage. If you don’t have impressive numbers to show like Hubspot testimonials are always a good way to show social proofs.
One thing to keep in mind is to use real testimonials that are not too long. Nobody likes to read pages of testimonials even if it is very good for it. And the second key to having great testimonials is to have photos if you can.
Alternatively, if you’re a service base company who deals with other business. Having their logos will also work.