I gave my readers a Christmas present: free public feedback for their site. I got a ton of submissions and I won’t be able to cover them in a single post, so there will be many. This is the first post in the series, covering the first 6 websites.
Before we start
Here’s a small disclaimer.
- I did NOT conduct a super thorough analysis on every single website submitted; it would have taken me weeks. I spent perhaps 10-15 minutes per site which is enough to discover the biggest problems.
- Everything I say is because I want to help you. My criticism is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I only kick the ball, not the player.
- Some websites that were submitted were just terrible – in those cases I replied personally via email saying they should just build a new site (didn’t see a point posting them here).
- My feedback is an educated opinion, nothing more. I draw upon my years of experience optimizing sites, but ultimately you have to test everything I say. I am not your user.
- A portion of the reviewed sites were in a language other than English. If I didn’t speak the language of the site, I used Google Translate to get an idea what’s going on. I know its shortcomings, hence my feedback on wording might not be accurate.
Your website needs a goal
I asked people to submit their website along with a business goal – the #1 action they want people to take on their site (or else no feedback).
Why? You can only evaluate a website against a goal – how effective is it in achieving it? If you don’t have a goal, there is no way to improve the site. You can only improve what you can measure.
Some people told me their goal is for people to “read about their products”. No. That is not a business goal. A goal you should go after is an action other than reading: sign-up, purchase, clicking something, ordering something.
If your goal is for people to read the text on your site, you need a new goal.
Let’s get to it
Some websites have more problems than others, hence more recommendations.
Goal:” increase the number of leads from those looking for video production services.>
- No clear value proposition. What is this site about and how do I benefit? How is it better or different from the competition?
- The site has no clear call to action. This is critical. What is the one action you want them to take on the home page?
- Your menu is an overkill. There are way too many items there. Either split it in two and move some of it (about, contact etc) elsewhere and leave just the services you offer, or re-group them.
- The videos are on autoplay. Not a good idea. I also noticed the video was different on every refresh. If it’s on random, stop. Pick 2 or 3 and test which video actually works! (=gets people to click or sign up) Are you measuring how people watch the video? You have to.
- Fix CSS problems
- Don’t speak in absolutes (“the best voice overs in the country”), people don’t believe hype. Back your claims up by proof (did you win #1 place in some competition etc?)
- Re-write the copy of your key pages, e.g. your video production page does not talk to the user, but seems rather random.
- Every page that describes a service should end with a call to action. Make the call to action specific to the page they’re on. Right now you’re using anonymous forms in the right, which is not good. Move the form under the body text. Also, mention who exactly is receiving the form submissions (show photo) and how long is “right away”.
- People want to know how much it costs. Yes, every case is different, but give a range or sample prices. People don’t have time to submit quote requests and wait for the answers. Everybody wants instant!
- Share more proof: examples of your work, case studies, testimonials.
You seem to have an awesome business, so if I were you, I’d get a facelift to the whole thing. The current website is outdated, has poor usability and is generally messy. I don’t think the current web developer built this with business results in mind.
Goal:%C2%A0Employers” post their jobs.>
- I like the value proposition, but can you explain / prove the #1 part? I won’t believe it just because you said it.
- I’d experiment with a different call to action on the site. Right now you’re expecting them to post a job based on very little information. If they’ve used the site before, that’s fine, but first time visitors need more convincing. I don’t know how many first-time users you get, but I’d experiment with adding another call to action along the lines of “Why post here?” that takes them to a page where you sell them.
- Add a missing sales copy page with testimonials and proof. At the moment you drag them right into the posting process and tell them the price BEFORE communicating the value of your service. Sell value first.
- People compare you to your competitors, like it or not. Your price is $175, but if I’d pay $195 on LinkedIn, could I get a better result? Don’t make them wonder, compare yourself with your competition before they do.
- Add photos and videos to testimonials to improve their credibility.
Goal:%C2%A0Have” more readers sign up for the newsletter.>
- You are currently NOT selling people on signing up. Free updates on what? Free mini-ebook on what? Make them WANT to sign up. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Your free signup offer should be so good they can’t believe they’re getting it for free. Sell them on that e-book (or if the current e-book is not that great, make one so good that you should charge money for it).
- Test different lead magnets (the offer you make in exchange for their email). It’s impossible to know in advance which one works the best. Develop 2-3 different options and split test them. You can start with writing down a list of 5 or more possible ideas and then ask your current subscribers which topic they’d want a free e-book on. Pick the winning topic and write the book, make it your offer.
- Make the signup form stand out. It currently blends into your background and is hardly noticeable. Read my post on designing signup forms.
Goal: Complete estimate contact form on sidebar.
- Move the value proposition up, and the 2 services boxes somewhere else. Right now it seems your value proposition is “House Painting Services”, and that doesn’t work.
- Give a clear reason why people should buy from you instead of the competition (people ALWAYS shop around, so make your case well).
- The bottom part is way too text-heavy and hence people won’t read it. Add images and videos. Read this post on improving readability.
- Show more testimonials on the home page, along with the photos of actual work completed. Show photos of customers.
- Improve your sign-up form. “Humanize” the form. Put a picture of your staff member Bill there along with a text along the lines of “Bill has painted houses for 20 years and would love to give you a precise estimate. He will personally get in touch with you within a couple of hours” – you get the point. Play up to your family owned business angle.
- Rename the call to action button, it should NOT say ‘submit’, ever. Make it benefit and action oriented.
- Once they submit the form, it only says the message was sent. Not good. Say that Bill has received the email and will give you a call right away. Provide your phone number so they can call you if they want.
- Add contact info to the header.
- Dramatically improve your contact page content, add text that speaks to humans!
- You’re a family owned company? So show me the family! Put up the photos of all of the staff, including the historical pictures. Make them fall in love with the story. And tell a story to begin with.
- Show videos of your crew working. Use instructional videos in your blog posts.
Goal:” getting people to buy stuff>
- What is this store, who is it for and why should I buy from here? Give a clear value proposition
- Who is it for? Build a connection with your buyers.
- You have a public visitor counter that serves as social proof. At the time of my visit the numbers displayed were very low, so I bet that hurts your credibility.
- Product descriptions are very short. That’s okay for people who know what they want, but less savvy customers won’t get enough information to make a purchase decision. IDC estimates that as much as 50% of shopping carts are abandoned due to lack of information.
- Specify the expected delivery time (very fast is vague)
- Adding a product to the cart takes you to the shopping cart page, but ideally they would still remain in the product page or do what Amazon does (small shopping cart table, lots of additional recommendations).
- Make the search more prominent. People who know what they want should be easily able to locate the search box.
- Increase the font size, it’s difficult to read.
- Get a new logo for yourself and use better quality logos for the brands you carry. Small things can make a difference.
- Your checkout screen has table in 2 columns. Use a single column for improved usability – this will reduce friction and possibly shopping cart abandonment.
- All small e-commerce sites struggle with building trust. Add more trust elements. Read here how to build trust.
Goal:%C2%A0To” get people to sell their mobile phone on the website.>
What an interesting idea!
- Since the business is tied to a geographical location, mention it! Does it work all over India or just in some parts?
- Your slogan “paid then, recover now” is weird, I’d recommend a clearer statement
- Your main obstacle is overcoming trust-related friction. You’re asking people to give you their phone, but they get paid some time later. How do they know you won’t run away with their phone? Explain why that won’t happen. Use trust marks. Mention how many happy users you have, play on social proof.
- Add more and better testimonials with photos and videos. Plain names are not that believable.
- Try a different call to action instead of “Search” which is vague (why would they want to search?), rather use something like “Get a quote” or “Get an offer”. Add a line above the search form “See how much you’d get for your phone” or something like that. That’s a safe step and plays on the curiosity of people.
- Add tons of trust elements to the checkout page. Use a single column form. I’d add Groupon style questions “What happens after I check out”, “How do I know this is safe” etc.
- Why use your service instead of selling the phone via classifieds or whatever is the most common method? State your advantages.
- Add contact to the footer (email, phone).
- Use live chat. It’s the best way to get around trust issues, you’ll also uncover the most common objections.
- Do you offer a fair price for the phone? Say it up front and compare the price offer with average prices in the market.
Next feedback posts coming up next year (next week even)
Once it’s all done, I’ll do a summary of common problems (and solutions).
Happy new year!