For years we have been advising our clients to have us install lead capture forms on their site with a large emphasis on making the process quick and painless for the user. We put the forms in specific areas that will get a lot of eye traffic and make sure that we are only asking for the bare minimum information. You don’t need a fax number to consider the visitor a lead, so get that information once they are more engaged in working with you rather than making the first contact seem like a chore. There is an inverse relation between the length of a form and the number of people that will fill it out. Less equals more.
Additionally, we recommend catering to both primary personality types out there, meaning your assertive go getters that only want to get in and get out with the quick form, and then also cater towards those users that are more detail oriented and may not feel like they are getting their interests addressed by the quick form asking for only Name, Phone, Email and Comments. For these users we put in the more in-depth ‘Request more Information’ forms so that they can fill us in on all the info that will help us cater to their needs specifically on follow-up.
We recently came across another blog preaching similar concepts to those that we’ve been advising for more than a decade! The great part about this post is that he offers specific stats on how the conversion rates change with different styles of forms and different content requests. I would definitely take these with a grain-of-salt, just because there are always other factors in play, but I still think that this is enlightening:
Contact forms are something that we all have on our sites, but it is something we don’t give much time and attention to. I know I used to think very little of them until I boosted my conversion rate on NeilPatel.com by 26% just from removing 1 form field.
I know a 26% boost in conversions doesn’t seem too big, but it will impact the site’s revenue well into the 6 figures each year.
For that very reason, I thought it would be fun to create an infographic that not only explains how you can boost your conversions by modifying your form fields, but also shows you the results well known companies achieved through a/b testing their forms.
Click on the image below to see a larger view:
As marketers and business owners you probably spend the majority of your marketing efforts driving traffic to your site. But you shouldn’t just focus on the top of funnel because the greater opportunity may lie with boost your conversion rates. And if you are able to boost your conversion rates, it will open up more opportunities for traffic acquisition channels that you once couldn’t afford.
The rumors of global web improvement include a number of promising upgrades between; the eventual arrival of HTML 5 (with all of it’s bells and whistles), jQuery’s continual growth into cross platform interaction, and the integration of loading custom fonts into the type on your pages. The world of web will soon become a very different ‘type’ of design experiment.
The trouble is that some of the limitations found within the web are, in some ways, its greatest strength. And while I have spent as many occasions shaking my fist at the screen in frustration, I also know that the most backward restrictions of using Hypertext create an – at least somewhat consistent environment for the user. Keep it simple – keep it readable – get to the point. These are the most markedly different aspects of browsing online versus any other media source.
The online landscape is changing to become a more engaging, animated, socially networked arena and it is in the control of the web designers how to balance between the flashy shiny advertising space that it is moving to and the succinct raw information source that underlies it. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the new toys as much as the next guy, but I do wonder which direction the trend will go.
We at VisionFriendly.com have been designing websites for nearly 12 years now and it is always interesting to look back at how drastically far things have come and wonder where they will be in another 10.
Most website users today -no scratch that, everyone is moving to fast to take the time to casually stroll through your website. Not at least until you’ve convinced them that it’s worth their while. This means that in the top 768 pixels (browser navigation bar included) you had better make your stand and show them why you are worth more than just window shopping.
So look at your website and at what important aspects are above fold. Are you showcasing large attractive imagery that speaks to your audience? Are there unimportant taglines or obvious statements - why are they on your page? You have about 10 seconds (being very generous) to entice most visitors to read/skim on. Expect that of your home page content maybe 3-4 sentences will be read, so make sure that your designer is taking the most important tag lines and highlighting it bold and at least 5 font sizes bigger than your body text.
For your internal pages it is not quite as important. For example, visitors who’ve reached your About us page or your blog are probably interested enough to spend some time actaully reading. But for pages like a protfolio or other gallery focused page it is still important to see where the page breaks in the 1024 x 768 pixel arena to make sure that the page is delivered in a user friendly manner.
Would you rather bombard your customers with everything available to them and make them scroll to find the part that they are interested in, or would you rather get them focused on the best specific offering(s) that you have.
Less is more. The only thing your website really has to do is entice people through the use of strong photos and headlines (just like the dinosaurs of the newspaper industry have know for decades). Your business or organization likely has a niche -something you do really well that your audience would be ready to sign up for if only they knew about it.
You just need to help them get the ‘picture’ (not the text)
At long last our new website is online!
We have been in the process of building our new site for well over a year (off and on). Over 13 people were directly working on the content and layout work and a multitude of people provided input from inside and outside of the company. To all of those involved we are very grateful. Their impact has been immense. We had settled for our previous website design for far too long due to being too busy with current clients to get to our own site done. But, we finally bit the bullet, put a lot of work on hold and dove in to get this redesign to happen for the New Year.
With the redesign we’ve added new products and services; such as our new Podcast Station, improved Construction Site, Social Media and Mobile Website design services, plus much, much more. We scrutinized the navigation to try to deliver the large amount of information that we’ve developed over the years in the most intuitive way possible. From the hidden Easter eggs incorporated into our homepage campus graphics to the depth of content that we provide regarding all of our services, our intent was to provide a website that showcases the modern design style that we are capable of while delivering a wealth of knowledge specific to the services and products that we create all in-house and still have the site be fun to look through.
We’ve posted all sorts of videos to help our customers get to know our staff and learn a little about what we do. So come on in, have fun and learn how we can make your business’s online presence and experience as well.
Now that we’ve finally gotten our website upgraded I want to continue to improve on our efforts, so please let me know what you think about the design and content on the site.
Eric Kinsey – Director of Design
OK, this is not my original content, but the concepts presented are part and parcel to the discovery phase questions that we try to go through with every client to ensure that their website is created with the correct voice to the message presented to the right audience.
This came through my SitePro News email subscription which is generally pretty basic information, but every once-in-a-while they strike gold:
What Do You Know About Your Clients and Prospects State of Mind?
When visitors land on your website, they have very little time to read what you say. They have a need for information or a product and don’t want to listen or read verbose descriptions and comments. You have about 8 seconds to engage them and get them to take action.
Do most visitors land on your website wanting:
2) A “quick fix”,
3) A bargain,
4) A large selection,
5) Or a telephone call, etc.?
It is imperative to know the answers to these and many other questions BEFORE you design the pages within your website.
Do You Make Website Visitors Feel You Can Satisfy Their Wants and Needs?
Landing on any page within your website [especially the Homepage] must make the visitor know that you understand their needs, business, wants, and desires. The more you put yourself into the “mindset” of the website visitor, the better chance you have of converting their visit into something you want to happen i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you or any other method of measurable conversion.
What Approach Do You Take When Developing Pages Within Your Website?
What do you think you would want from your website if you were the prospective visitor or client? Assume you don’t know as much information as you want in order to make an informed decision. Talk to these visitors in a language they will understand. If visitors want more insight or information, tell them to click on the more info link or give you a call. They will follow your direction ONLY if you have built some level of trust or understanding.
What are You “Selling” to the Website Visitor?
Are you focused on telling them about your product or ervice or are you making them understand that choosing your firm will deliver that special feeling they are seeking by making the purchase? Are you sure that you made the visitor know that you understand their needs, wants, problems, etc.? What techniques did you implement to get your points across?
How are You Going to Get the Visitor to Stop and Think About Your Service or Product?
Remember… they are ready to pass by your website in a blink of an eye. What are you going to do to engage them? The answer you come up with will be critical to the success you have in gaining their confidence enough to buy or call you. Make sure what you say is NOT the same old thing they are used to seeing or reading on other websites. Be boring and you lose! Address the issues that appeal to the visitor and they WILL STOP! This is hard work… but worth the effort.
What Kind of “Call to Action” Statements are You Placing on Your Website?
Turning a visitor into a prospect or client is one of the most critical actions of your website. How will you engage them? Once they know that you understand their needs and wants, they are more inclined to follow your CTA direction. Call to Action statements are critical to the success of any website’s conversion. Guide them in a manner that is more telling, rather than selling. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.
How Does Your Website Address the “Who Are We” Issue?
Again, it is about making the website visitor feel confident that they are choosing a reputable firm or organization with which to do business. They need to read about your success. This can be done by exhibiting your affiliation with associations, awards won, satisfied client statements, client success stories, examples of your work, etc. Show them you are a “player” in your industry.
Are You Prepared to Answer: “What Makes You Different”?
What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? Have they applauded you for your approach to doing business? Did they say you made them feel like you understood their needs and wants? Think back to the reasons clients buy from you. How did you meet their needs and wants? Give your prospective clients reasons to do business with your firm.
A final thought…
Make it your primary goal to understand the potential client. Look at your website through that client’s perspective. Who are they? What makes them different? What do they individually want and need? Be informative… do more telling than selling. They will “get it” and appreciate that you have made them an educated buyer. Finally, tell them what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and be ready to deliver on the expectations you have set throughout your website!
Finally, be sure to hire Internet marketing professionals to do the job if you don’t have the capabilities in-house. Too much is at stake to leave this part of your business to chance! We are pleased to provide you the insightful comments contained herein.
(By: Internet Consulting And Coaching, Inc.)
So, in conclusion; no matter who you have create your website, be sure that these concepts are being addressed at your initial discovery meeting. because it defeats the purpose to have a great website design that doesn’t cause people to act on the information you are providing. Just like having a site that gets the message across without presenting it in a professional and exciting way. Good website design needs both the sophisticated design and thought process to seperate you from the millions of other distractions online.
I have found that no matter how ergonomic your mouse is or how many levels of sensitivity one’s stylus has, there is nothing to make your work go faster than good use of keyboard shortcuts. So I thought it might be useful for me to present some of the lesser know Photoshop shortcuts for your review.
First and foremost, the simple ‘tool switch’ shortcuts are the most essential in my process and these are also the ones that I never see my designers using. This allows you to skip the mouse moving over to the needed tool and back to the canvas. I recommend printing them off and having them next to your screen until you’ve internalized them.
The Tools Are:
‘M’ - Marque Tools
‘V’ - Move
‘L’ - Lasso Tools
‘W’ - Magic Wand
‘K’ - Slice Tools
‘J’ - Healing brush Tools
‘B’ - Brush Tools
‘S’ - Stamp Tools
‘Y’ – History Brush Tools
‘E’ – Eraser Tools
‘G’ - Paint Bucket/Gradient
‘R’ – Smudge/Sharpen/Blur
‘O’ – Burn/Dodge/Sponge
‘A’ – Path Selection
‘T’ – Text Tools
‘P’ – Pen Tools
‘U’ – Shape Tools
‘N’ – Notes Tools
‘I’ – Eye-dropper Tools
‘H’ – Hand (temp shortcut – Spacebar)
‘Z’ – Zoom
Additionally, any tool can be easily switched with the next in it’s series by holding the ‘alt’ key and clicking the tool. And of course, the spacebar temporary hand tool is essential for moving the document while using a different tool as well as all of the functionality of the ‘shift’ and ‘alt’ keys within nearly every tool and function in the program, if you are unfamiliar with these, just try it, that is what undo is for.
- Happy designing.
I think that just about every designer out there would agree that the biggest problem we run into without exception, is fighting with time. To really be able to create stylish modern designs, we have to be able to not only clear the deck of inturruptions and distractions, we also have to be actively seeking inspiration. This is also very hard to find time to devote to simply browsing the net for new ideas to pull into our own visual vocabulary.
Once properly inspired, most of us will likely lean towards creating something new – outside of our comfort zone, because this is what really makes design intrinsically rewarding. Although, going outside of ones’ comfort zone often leads to project time over-runs. Which of couse means more time in meetings about why this happens and more time that we are taking away from other creative endeavors.
Time is the enemy and a good designer is as much artist as juggler. Being able to keep all the elements of a design; marketing message, content collection/creation, inspiration, new approaches, customer contacts, etc., etc. in line with a project timeframe is a feat that should be commended in its’ own right. So I commend you sucessful designers/jugglers out there.
I will continue this particular train of thought to elaborate on methods I have found effective for design-time management. Stay Tuned!
One of the hardest task, I imagine for any design company is getting copy from their clients. The project starts out of the gate at a full sprint as logos, color schemes and button styles all get created revised and approved then the site has it’s empty shell and it is time to fill in the blanks with relevant blocks of copy that are tailored for both the human visitor and for the search engine spider. Suddenly the project will grind to a screeching halt.
One of the methods that we’ve found useful for helping our customers understand what needs to be written without presenting it as an overwhelming mountain of work for them is that we will break it up into bite sized chunks’ that we sometimes even ask for one at a time. This keeps some momentum and keeps from the customer feeling like we’ve left them adrift.
Here are some samples of the outlines we give for the more common pages that we find difficulty generating content for:
This page should give an overview of who you are, what you do, why you do it and how you do it better. Generally the best way to get your message across on the home page is with short sentences and bullets that support the graphics on the page that really tell the story of what you do. Visitors have a very short attention span especially on the first page of a site and so these quick ideas should be the only text on the home page outside of the call to action telling them to “Buy today” or “Call Us Now!”
This page should really be more of a quick list than anything especially if you offer a large variety of services. People click this page because they want to be sure that you do X, Y, or Z and so you should confirm that for them without adding a lot of excess info. A brief sentence or two about each service is good enough and then if you want to describe each one we should add detail pages further inside the website (these detail pages can then be added later if time is a factor).
This page should have 3-4 paragraphs that talk about your business’s unique identity. Maybe start with a paragraph talking about your company history, a little info about the staff, work environment or general information about what you do. Then move on to talking about what makes your business different than the next guy, things like the quality of your work, quickness of response, lowest prices, philosophy, or anything else that your competition can’t match – you should point out to the visitor. Then wrap it all up by simply asking your customer to call or fill out the form or whatever it is you want them to do at the end of the day to make the next step in building a relationship with your company.
This page usually can be copied and then modified from pseudo-standards out there which cover the basics of how you handle the information that customers submit to your site. In some cases it can get rather involved and legal assistance may be required, but for most businesses a basic overview of the fact that you aren’t going to sell them up the river is sufficient.
Website content flow will, of course, vary for each company but the above guidelines do apply for a majority of the sites out there and when you see websites that don’t write their copy in this fashion it shows by a muddled message that leaves no brand impact for the visitor leaving the site. Your website is not doing it’s job if your visitors walk away not knowing what your message is.
More to come on this one in future posts…
We’ve all read articles on what makes a good website design worth it’s salt, but I wanted to let out our ideology of good website design. It all revolves around understanding our clients marketing message, and creating a website that embraces that message the best it can, and making sure there is a call to action the visitor is compelled to take. By organizing the information in a simple, easy-to-read method, along with graphics that emphasize the marketing message and make the site interesting, the site should lead to more knowledgeable and qualified visitors.
Look at website graphics in the same way you would look at the interior decoration of a retail store, -while the decor realistically has little impact on the quality product line of the store it is still an important aspect to the customers overall experience and part of what they will walk away with. Therefore, your decor should be bold and colorful to make sure that it has an impact on the visitors, rather than look like the current trend in design which leans towards the more minimal, all white site designs.
You also want the buttons to be big and touchable rather than just text links. You want your user to remember your site by brand colors that appear outside of the logo and try to get large crip heading pictures into every homepage to help tell your story without saying a word.
Your visitors are looking for a site that gives them the sense that they are looking at a professional company that shows them, rather than tells them, what they do, and how they do it better than the rest.
While good, quality text and graphics is crucial, having related content and images organized in a way that it becomes a cohesive visual unit will convey that message much clearer and faster. In addition, having well organized navigation with the intuitive placement of the ‘home’, ‘about’, ‘contact’, and other links makes for a much smoother customer experience overall.
So, in summary, a good design is one that incorporates:
My name is Eric Kinsey and I am the President of VisionFriendly.com and I will be your online source for various topics relevant to; Website Design, New Techniques and Technology within the World Wide Web, as well as News announcements for our company and the local community as it relates to our business. I will work to keep these posts lively and relevant and encourage any comments to be sent to me to help make this resource more current and interesting.
We make websites that make a difference by applying three primary goals; make it attractive, make it easy to use, and make it have a clear message. So these will be some of the primary topics we will be posting articles about, design, interactivity and marketing on the web plus a few other oddities just to keep it fun.
So sit back and enjoy the show as VisionFriendly.com shares some of its secrets and some of what we learn as we keep moving forward.