As a marketing coordinator here at Skyhook, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate websites for businesses of all kinds – law, healthcare, technology, and everything in between. All of these businesses are in very different fields of work, but they all have the same needs when it comes to what will give them the highest conversion rate and return on investment from their site.

If you want to start getting real results from your website, here are a few tweaks you should try:  

Add mobile responsiveness

In 2016, this might go without saying, but all websites today need to be mobile responsive, meaning the site will adjust to the screen size of a mobile device. If you can believe it, we still see many sites that don’t include this feature. It’s almost like seeing someone walking around with a hair style straight out of 1985 — not pretty, and very noticeable. A site that is not mobile responsive will be incredibly annoying to anyone who is trying to access your site from a mobile device (pretty much everyone).

Additionally, Google has now started penalizing sites on page rankings if they aren’t mobile friendly. That should be an extra incentive to make your site mobile responsive, otherwise your ROI continues to diminish. If only we could penalize bad hair styles the same way; my old guitar teacher and his mullet toupee would certainly be in trouble…but that’s another story.

If you want to learn more about making your site mobile friendly, check out Google’s walkthrough on how to get started.

Use calls-to-action (CTAs)

The call to action button creates the connection between messaging and conversion.

The call-to-action button is the whole reason your site exists. It is what turns your visitors into customers. For that reason, your site basically needs to be built around these buttons; this is how you get results.

Imagine for a moment that on your way home you see a new grocery store that you’ve never heard of before. The logo looks great, they have exactly the groceries you like to buy, and the staff is super friendly with up-to-date hairstyles. And best of all – the store is right by your house! Now imagine you’re walking into the store for the first time. Looking around, you see no signs, carts, or registers. Where do you start? Where do you collect and pay for all this great stuff you found? You can’t even find a customer service desk to help you out. No matter how great the store seems, you would probably give up and have no desire to return.

The reason I share this imaginary experience is that like this grocery store, a website that doesn’t show you where the next step is, or that doesn’t make it as easy as possible to checkout/sign up for its services, doesn’t really fulfill its purpose. Nobody wants to click around endlessly for answers. What really works is having simple directions on where to go next and a nice big “Sign Up Today!” button.

According to Likehack, on any given day the average user is exposed to 54,000 words and 443 minutes of video. Amidst the overwhelming amount of content they skim over every single day, consumers will only notice the things that really stick out. If you don’t have clear calls-to-action, your website will not perform as well as it could.

If you’re interested in learning more about CTA best practices, I would recommend this article.

Use that real estate wisely!

I’m sure that if you told your web designer to make your site look like a billboard, they would probably facepalm (or maybe even facedesk). But I’m about to tell you why implementing a couple billboard design principles on your site isn’t such a bad idea.

If you bought a billboard, presumably spending quite a bit of money on it, would you only use the middle one-third of that billboard? Or would you make sure you used every inch available? It’s disappointing to see a website waste valuable screen space that could be used to create a greater impact on its visitors. A talented designer will help you determine the best use for every pixel of your site.

Back to the billboard — knowing that a driver passing by that billboard only had three seconds to see what your company was about, would you have a huge block of small text for them to read? Or would you have five or six large words that will really leave a lasting impact on that person? A website is no different. An overwhelming amount of text is not what your visitors want to see. Instead of using multiple lines of text, consider a large image with a short meaningful message. According to Kissmetrics, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without them (source). There is power in simplicity.

So work with your designer, and use that real estate wisely!

Cut out stock photography

We all love the Snickers commercials that illustrate the idea “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”

Similar to Snickers’ message, you’re not you when you have stock images! Why upload generic pictures of people you don’t know when you have real employees, a real culture, and a real story? These things you already have will sell your product or service in a better, more authentic way. If you really want to provide the best, most personalized experience for your customers, show them what you really have and what your company is really like. Invest in a professional photographer to take real photos of your people and your products.  

Clean up your URLs

While many people spend a lot of time and money getting their website to look great, I’ve noticed that too many sites are published without clean URLs. If your home address was 1840 W. Highland/wA6C9dbsd?JQF-JgX53_ldU95, that last part would seem a little unnecessary, right? And if someone had to enter that address into their GPS to get to you, they’d probably just give up. 

If you’re spending your precious time and resources to make your site look nice and clean, that URL bar should get some love too.

Conclusion

Every website has a purpose, but not every website is set up to best fulfill that purpose. The good news is that the changes listed above can be made relatively easily, while greatly improving your user’s experience. This will ultimately lead to having more success in the form of conversions on your website.

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