Brain dump: top aspects of a site to optimize
I sat down recently to brainstorm common optimization ideas for a course. This is not complete or definitive, but these are the first things that come to mind when I look at a page. I’ll be hard pressed to find any site that couldn’t brush up in all these areas.
Core message, value proposition, and benefits
- Page heading is too abstract. Can you make it concrete? No jargon, just plain English: “You can do something, get something, avoid something”.
- Is your value proposition focused on the user rather than the features of your product? 99% of the time when a client gives me their statement, it’s about what their product does, not what the user needs it for.
- Top benefits at a glance… Are they tangible, concrete, user-focused, goal-oriented?
TIP: A good exercise is to pretend someone asked you “So what do you do?” or “How does it work?” or “How is that unique?”. Talk naturally and record yourself. Then literally take some of what you said and turn it into headlines, paragraph copy, or visuals to test. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a client say something, and then said immediately, “That! Say that on your website!”
Implicit, missing, or scattered content
- Is there something “too obvious” that you’re not saying that might not be obvious? For example, one client of ours tested saying “this is a one-time order”, because it was important but not obvious. Sometimes you need to say “it’s free” or “it’s not free”.
- Sometimes you say something partially here and there, but you never come out and just say it. You can test putting it clearly right into your headline, for example, or adding a prominent badge. For example, some companies have guarantees, but they are afraid of advertising them prominently. Some never come out and say whom the product is for.
- Some content is spread over multiple places or pages, so visitors have to piece it together. Can you consolidate all the different benefits in an easy to real comparison table, for example?
- See what you can do to tighten up and clarify your product descriptions, clarify your prices, and so on.
Enriched content and demos
- Test graphs, infographics, and videos – things that will draw more attention to important content and make it more likely that people will absorb some of it.
- Show the product image to scale, use authentic photos from real users, show it in use.
- Show competitor comparisons.
- Show samples of content.
- If you sell information, add easier navigation, provide the low-down.
- Try interactive content:
- one guitar pedal website actually has a virtual pedal on its website, so you can play with the knobs and try it out.
- instead of describing how something works, start the process.
- Let your happy customers do some of the talking – use their actual words.
- Show ratings, reviews, comments, show most recent buyers or items purchased.
- Show authentic product photos uploaded by users.
Call to action
- Move it to a better location, repeat it, make it central, make it float, etc.
- Inject buttons or links into content, linking blogs to your paid content or products.
- Change the label, change the verb
- Try a different action altogether, change what it does. For example, if the download button isn’t working, try a benefit label like “Start Meeting People” on a dating site, or try “Review your order” instead of “Checkout now”, etc.
- If your action is very aggressive, try to slow the process down, don’t push people to buy or sign up right away. Or if you’re too soft, try to push some action more strongly instead.
Layout and sequence
- Make a long page concise or turn a short page into a long-from sales page.
- Organize a long form into multiple steps or screens. Try modals, try separate pages, try accordions.
- Remove, remove, remove. See if you can cut fields or steps or delay them till later.
- See if there are important pages with low traffic. Maybe you can get more traffic there.
- Think of high traffic pages that don’t have a call to action, like blog posts, and add calls to action there (and invest in content marketing).
- Link to important blog content (and make sure to have CTAs there to relevant products).
- Use Google Analytics to find your highest visited pages as well as see where people are dropping off in your funnel.
In short, it usually goes back to the basics: What do you do? Why should I buy from you? Show me.