Simple Website Fixes – Part 6

Welcome to the latest edition of our newest weekly blog series, Simple Website Fixes. Each week we will identify and explain one easy change that you can make to your company’s website in order to improve performance. Last week’s fix was – Add a Phone Number.

This week’s fix = Use Shorter Forms

Many of your websites have forms that you want people to fill out. Forms can take many different…forms (sorry).

  • Sign up forms
  • Contact forms
  • Lead generation
  • Checkout/Payment

The point of building these forms and hosting them on your website is to get people to fill them out. Presumably, when someone fills out one of these forms, it is a good thing. You have gotten them to take an action.

If the above is correct, then it stands to reason that getting more people to fill out more forms would be a good thing. This is conversion rate optimization. And a great way to do that, when it comes to forms, is to ask for less information.

A more streamlined form (read: shorter) means fewer fields and faster completion times. It speeds up the time to conversion, and also gets over some people’s hesitation to share too much information online.

Take a look at all the forms on your site and get rid of any unnecessary fields. If you do this, you’ll get more people to take action.

Have an idea for a simple website fix? Submit it here and maybe we will include it in an upcoming post.

Use Your Website

Too often, as marketers we are ignorant of real problems that consumers are having.

We spend our time focusing on new projects. What products can we launch? What new advertising channels can we test? How should we follow up with all those leads we got?

That’s the fun stuff. That’s what we like doing.

But we never take the customer’s point of view. If we did, we would quickly identify some simple things that would make their experience a whole lot better.

Today, I challenge all marketers to use their company’s website. Pretend for a second that you’ve never seen the site before, that you are your potential customer, trying to solve the same problem they are having.

This can be difficult to do, so be honest with yourself. Try to experience the website like you don’t know where everything is already. Chances are, if you are able to do this correctly, you will find at least one thing (probably more than one) that needs to change right away.

Either a form is functioning correctly, or a page is missing, or a link is wrong, etc.

No website is perfect. That is why many large companies employ people whose job it is to constantly test the website for quality assurance, looking at analytics and traffic patterns and user behavior to make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.

Chances are you don’t have time to make this a top priority all the time. But at least once a month, you should use your website the way a customer would, and make the necessary changes to improve the user experience.

Note: I use a tool called Mouseflow, which records real user visits to the website and lets you watch them. This is a great way to learn how your users are actually interacting with the site, and whether or not it varies from how you expect or intend them to.

Top 5 Website Usability Fixes

Some people will tell you that they know all the answers when it comes to designing, building, or fixing any company’s website. But ask two of them for their biggest tips, and you’ll get competing answers.

“Make it faster.”

“Use more keywords.”

“Add a blog.”

For years, marketing experts could not agree on a single set of to-do’s when it came to making your website the best website it could possibly be. But here’s the good news: times have changed.

Experts agree, usability is the most important thing for your website.

When you make your website more usable, you make it better. That’s a promise.

Great, you’re thinking, but how do I do that? Glad you asked.

  1. Make it faster – your site needs to load in an instant. Today’s users will give up on you if it doesn’t.
  2. Design it for mobile – for most companies, at least 50% of their traffic now comes from mobile phones and tablets. If you don’t have a mobile-compatible version of your site, you’re falling behind.
  3. Simplify the navigation – there must be a clearly defined set of steps someone will take when they get to any page on your site. Use the navigation to help them find it.
  4. Eliminate distractions – anything that is not absolutely vital needs to go. I don’t care who wants it there, if it’s not serving a critical function, remove it.
  5. Clear and easy contact info – when in doubt, help your visitors get in touch with you. Phone numbers, email forms, and live chat options are all must-haves. Not only that, but they should be staring your visitors in the face when they first arrive and anytime they get lost.

If you do the five things above, you are setting yourself up for improved results. When people can use your website to find what they’re looking for, you’ve created the best possible version of your website.