10 Ways to Enhance Your Business Website in Under an Hour
Let's face it, even with the outstanding reach of social networks or the professional pull of directory listings, your own site is the center of your digital universe. While those other online spaces and places can do a lot for your business, there's nothing quite so direct - or with as much depth of knowledge and expertise to convince a customer - as a website you own. Everything you say, sell, and service can be reflected in your own site, making it a unique digital home that will shelter customers and colleagues alike for years to come. But most sites start life in a basic form that needs to be developed over time, as you learn how to serve your customers online and what new visitors are looking for. Some changes require a lot of thought and testing, while some demand coding skills and perhaps even a complete redesign. The ideas that we'll explore today take none of that. In fact, they're so simple and quick to implement that we think you'll be done with each individual one in under an hour! Even though the type and talents of your webmaster will vary, these are suggestions easy enough to integrate with what you already have, but which will start to pay off almost immediately. So what are you waiting for? Pick a place to start and dive right in!
10 Ways to Easily Enhance Your Website1. Drop some deadweight Before you add, subtract. It might sound counterproductive to improve your site by removing existing "features," but the reality is that every site has something that no-one uses or, worse still, is actively pushing visitors away from your pages. Perhaps it's a high resolution picture that drags down your load time, or an entire section that very few people visit. Whatever you find, it's time to remove elements that don't add anything to the overall experience. Start by using your analytics tool to look for the least visited pages of your site and start to make a list of what to drop. 2.Include an incentive You probably already have some form of sign-up or contact form for potential customers to fill in, so why not make it an offer they can't refuse? By adding something of value in exchange for their information, you can increase conversions on our site and get an idea of what really interests your visitors. Something as simple as exclusive content, a study or white paper, or perhaps even a gift card if the action is very valuable to your business, can make all the difference. Often these incentives are very easy to add - you might already have a lot of content that can be quickly compiled into a very good ebook, for example - and they'll pay you back in the form of generating both leads and return visitors to your site. 3. Add more personal images If you have a site stuffed full of stock images, this one's for you! While these widely used visuals are fine in their place, they make it harder to create a distinct impression of your unique brand qualities for potential customers. They also miss an opportunity to do what everyone else is trying to do online: stand out from the crowd. Take up the challenge of reviewing one image every day and translating it to a scene from your own business. Try to capture the essence of your business in the replacement image, perhaps by including your employees, facilities, or local area. Stick to the challenge and in no time at all you'll have a site that reverberates with your brand identity, rather than just another uninspiring gallery of industry images. 4. Change up your "CTA" In case you hate marketing lingo, CTA stands for call(s) to action, and they're probably spread throughout your site. Without you even knowing it, in some cases. Whenever you ask someone to do something like click a specific link, sign up for an email, and browse or order your products, you're giving them a call to action that either requests or requires them to take a next step. Depending on your audience, there will be certain ways to ask that bring better results than others. If your visitors are knowledgeable about your industry, for example, longer calls to action that spell out the advantage can work well. For less experienced audiences, short and simple text often works best. Try running tests that vary the text and formatting of your key calls to action and track conversions during each test so that you can keep what works and ditch what doesn't. 5. Say hi to Hello Bar As ridiculously simple as it seems, Hello Bar can make a significant difference to your on-site conversions with one small addition. The upper area of your site can easily be wasted by standard templates that leave a lot of white space. Hello Bar makes use of that void by inserting an unobtrusive message that you can change as often as you want. It could be used to announce news, promote your most recent post, or even just restate an offer that exists somewhere else on the page. Because of this flexibility, it makes for a versatile tool that takes no time at all to get up and running. 6. Think about thanks In a similar sense to incentives, there are a lot of actions on your site that probably warrant saying thank you to your visitor. Signing up to your email list, downloading a document, submitting a contact form and even purchasing all require a note of thanks, which tends to be the page you pop the visitor back to once they're done. (If you don't have a dedicated thank you page right now, put it to the top of your list!) Most of these are a simple sentence that ends the customer's experience on the site, but a quick tweak can change that to suggest further reading, provide another interesting resource, or even ask how you can help with the next step of an order. What can you add to your thank you page to keep customers interested? 7. Make errors more amusing This tip is more style than substance, but it affects a page familiar to any regular web browser: the 404 error page. As with the last tip, most site have a standard page that pops up when a visitor clicks a broken link or searches for something that cannot befound. Why waste that opportunity, though, when you can use it to suggest alternative content or, better yet, lighten the mood of your audience? It could be a simple tweak to the page copy to make it more personal, adding an amusing image, or getting creative with a page that we all know exists, but prefer not to encounter... until now! 8. Revisit your categories How do you divide up your site? Take a look at the navigation bar and the main options to move around the site that visitors see when they arrive. Now consider the top twenty to thirty pages (again, your analytics software can help here). If any of these are unreachable via the main navigation options that people see, it's time to revise those routes. Think about what people want when they arrive on site, then how you can add elements like menus and buttons to bring them through to the areas you'd like them to land. If you're struggling to empathize with new users in this way, you might want to jump forward to tip number 10, which involves calling in your own personal cavalry to test for changes. 9. Add an extra contact option We use this a lot here on the RingBoost site, but then we do have a dedicated team ready and waiting to help you navigate the world of vanity numbers! But even if you don't have a sales team to man the line, live chat software is a great addition to any site where you can reasonably expect customers to reach out. We know potential customers prefer to call, but if they're unable to find a phone or get a signal, this software helps them to instant message an expert. It helps you cover all the basis between a call and a contact form, as not everyone is willing to wait for a response. Our choice Olark, or Zopim and LiveChat are all market-leading options to add chat functionality to your site. 10. Try the "friends and family" test Take a handful of those closest to you, up to ten people at most, and ask them to spend five to ten minutes browsing your website. Afterwards, ask for their feedback on overall ease of use, navigation, quality of content, and whether it makes what you offer clear to understand. This small sample testing will give you a wide variety of ideas for improvement, including many . Furthermore, you can have the same group come back once you've made the changes, and any of those you choose from the list above, to get a feel for how much progress you've made. Just make sure the people you choose aren't too polite to give you brutally honest feedback. After all, you need to know what's going wrong in order to improve it! Enhancing the experience your site offers users is inevitably a long-term project. Incorporating some of these quick and easy ideas here and there will help you to get where you want to go that little bit quicker. What ideas have you had that added to your site in almost no time at all? Let us know on any of the social sites you see below.
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