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When It Comes to A/B Testing, Identify Your Goals First

Posted on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

When it comes to designing the right website to get the customers you want, don’t take chances on gut feelings or worse, the personal preferences of your web designer. With A/B testing, you don’t have to. Test your site’s performance to optimize for success.

To evaluate your site effectively, however, you must identify the key goals that you’re trying to achieve. Without this information, you won’t be able to determine what works, what doesn’t, and how to make the changes necessary in getting you where you need to go.

First, who do you want as leads? Who are the site visitors you’re hoping to turn into customers? Remember, the more general your answer, the less likely you are to create a website that meets the specific wants of a particular demographic. Generic website designs designed to address everyone’s needs usually end up satisfying none.

Second, what do most of your consumers want when they get to your website-and what is the “essential” experience you would like them to have? For example, your company may sell more purple widgets off your site than anything else, and you may want them to buy blue widgets instead. Both these facts are critical pieces of information as you test.

Understanding the answers to these questions will allow you to effectively evaluate site content and refine for even more conversions. Evaluating what makes a good website isn’t just about looking at graphics or content. Base decisions on goals and hard data to ensure your success.

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Button Text and Conversions: A Table for Two

Posted on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

Captain Marketing Website Design

Photo Credit: fodor

 

In many ways, a website is like a blind date. You’re greeting many customers for the first time, and in doing so, need to make a great impression. Nevertheless, you’d be surprised how many websites are the equivalent of a nightmare first meeting, complete with an unattractive, less than hygienic appearance and rude table manners. Many sites also fail to communicate to consumers just what they’re looking for in a relationship as well-leaving visitors confused about what to do next or why they should bother.

Along with a clean design and well chosen images, a website and its home page need to have a strong call to action. Many businesses interpret this as simply a phrase that says, “buy now!” or “sign up!” included in the copy. Some take it one step further with a call to action button at the top of the page, something that lets the customer click immediately to a “contact us” or “order now” form. As you might imagine, this is a good thing.

However, many call to action buttons, despite their format, are still too weak. Like a limp handshake or limited eye contact upon meeting someone for the first time, they’re not conveying the energy necessary to inspire a consumer to take action. As an example, consider two call to action buttons from a PR company that were recently A/B tested for conversion rates associated with their use. One read, “Click here to read more.” The other was “Make me famous!”

Would you believe there was more than an 8% difference in number of conversions for a single month using the second call to action button? Good copy makes a difference. And like a great first date, they could lead to a lifetime of fantastic results!

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Web Design That Works: Simple Gifts Are Best

Posted on August 23, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

So it turns out that the Shakers, an eighteenth century religious sect known for making simple but beautiful furniture along with writing a popular hymn, were right when it comes to web design. While they may not have been thinking about the Internet when coming up with the idea, they were definitely on to something. Simple gifts, in fact, are better when it comes to a website that not only works- but works with Google too.

The reality is that Google doesn’t handle a quirky website well. Apple found that out recently when the search engine reportedly had trouble crawling their website, resulting in problems linking to the company’s iTunes preview pages. After much publicity, changes were made on both sides, but unless you’re based in Cupertino, California, it’s unlikely Google will accommodate your company website’s uniqueness in quite the same way.

As a best practice, stick to the simple and straightforward instead. The product pages and eCommerce shopping elements of your website need to be especially easy to navigate. Avoid the unusual design choices that make it harder for Google to “read” them.

In return, you’ll gain better rankings and as a bonus, more conversions from people who otherwise might walk away from a website that necessitated a PhD to sort through. Remember, the average consumer spends 4-6 seconds on your homepage before deciding whether to continue or click away. Capture them with an intuitive, uncomplicated design, and you’ll reap the benefits with Google as well.

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Reaching Consumers on the Move: What You Should Know About Mobile

Posted on August 9, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Turn to any blog or magazine writing about what matters in digital marketing in 2013 and you’ll read about the mobility of the modern customer. With smartphones and tablets everywhere, today’s consumer is accessing the web from just about anywhere other than a desk.

And yet, reaching this demographic is still a challenge. Clearly, the same old techniques used with the customer on a desktop browser won’t always work, and yet, the degree of difference between a mobile consumer marketing campaign and a traditional one is still being debated.

Here’s what we know. First, don’t eliminate tried and true strategies for your mobile campaign, just modify them for your mobile customer. Emails, newsletters, and links to infographics are still extremely effective. However, shorter subject headings, mobile friendly graphics, and designs that make it easy for your customer on a cellphone or tablet to access and see what you’re selling is essential.

Consider utilizing location based data as well in your mobile strategy. Using the smartphone or tablet’s GPS device can help you provide targeted information for the right customers who are poised to take advantage of a particular offer or store location. Capture them by taking advantage of the information a mobile device provides you.

Mobile doesn’t have to mean a sea change from the marketing you’re already doing. Shifting your existing strategy into one that provides the maximum ease and convenience for your mobile customer is the key element in developing a successful strategy.

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Test for Conversions on Low Traffic Websites

Posted on August 2, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

For many small businesses without SEO optimization, it’s a hard truth. Your site traffic numbers, particularly for businesses catering to a small local clientele, may be not be in the thousands. In fact, they may be in the hundreds, or worse, even the tens. If that’s the case for you-then quantifying your conversion rate will be all the more essential in determining what changes you’ll have to make to get more customers, stat.

For a low traffic website, this can be a challenge. With a website that gets huge numbers, obviously multivariate testing is effective. But with only a few site visitors per day, getting the answers you need can be a long, slow process. Speed up your results by testing for one variable at a time.

Next, beef up your website’s user experience. With more internal links, stronger content and compelling page headlines, you can improve engagement and lengthen the time each potential customer spends on your pages. This will improve conversion numbers, fast.

Finally, take a look at what the visitors you have are doing once they get to your website. Consider asking them directly if they found what they were looking for with the help of a review service, or a chat function. Their feedback can provide insights you may have missed previously. You can also employ a mouse movement capture function to record exactly how consumers behave on your website. Where do they go? What do they click on? This information is invaluable in creating content that works for you.

With testing, content changes and ultimately, the help of your consumers, a low traffic website can increase its conversion rate. Remember, feedback is your friend when it comes to successful online marketing.

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Important Design Terms for Any Website

Posted on July 12, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

With any design project, it’s easy to get intimidated by the creatives when they talk about your new kitchen or your new website, especially when they toss around unfamiliar terms with the authority that comes from doing hundreds of them a year. But like a well thought out new kitchen, a great website must reflect its owners tastes, habits and preferences to justify the expense in creating it.

Here are some useful terms to help you communicate with your design team so that you can get exactly what you want during the process:

Analogous Colors: This refers to the colors next to one another on a color wheel. Used together, they’re generally complementary to one another and pleasing to the eye.

Dots Per Inch: DPIs refer to the resolution of a printed digital image. More dots per inch=greater image resolution, fewer dots per inch= less image detail.

EPS: This file format contains both texts and graphics.

GIF: Steve Wilhite, the man who first created the Graphics Interchange Format, says a “GIF” is pronounced with a soft “g” and never in a “jiffy”. The term refers to a small moving image, photographic or animated.

HTML: The computer language programmers use to create your images, content and links for the web. Imagine it like the actual two by fours, nuts and bolts used for a construction project.

JPEG: Refers to an image file used with photographs for maximum clarity.

Kerning: Knowing this phrase will impress your friends-and the design team. It refers to the space between individual letters in any copy. Not to be confused with Leading, the space between the typed lines of copy.

Visual Hierarchy: The way in which your content is prioritized by the actual design. Your company’s phone number and logo, for example, would probably come first in the visual hierarchy of your page, with their bright colors and large size.

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Content Experiments: Clarity for Your Web Design

Posted on July 5, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Trying to decide between a big headline and only a few bullet points on your homepage, or a lengthy paragraph explaining the ins and outs of your services? Don’t listen to the experts-prove them right or wrong with Google’s Content Experiments feature.

Using Content Experiments, you can actually test which design will work best with your customers. Using a random sample of your site visitors (whether you include everyone or just a certain percentage of them is up to you), you can select an objective to test for and receive regular updates by email on the results.

Imagine you sell grilling accessories and barbecues online. Since the barbecues are your most profitable product, your objective for your homepage design is to sell even more of them, while still letting customers know you have other products in your inventory as well.

For your Content Experiment, you will set up three versions of your website homepage. One page will feature a splashy headline and just a giant picture of the barbecues, one page will feature several paragraphs going into great detail about your barbecues, and one will have a great photo and three bullet points describing what makes them special.

Random visitors will be sent to any one of these three pages-and you can measure which page sells the most barbecues with its design. It’s another way Google allows you to gather definitive data on your marketing campaigns to see what really works. Ask your project manager or web designer to help you get started.

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Website Conversion Rates: Increase Your Numbers With Mobile Friendly Design

Posted on June 28, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

The success of a website is determined by your answers to two questions. First, are you getting site visitors? If not, a solid SEO campaign, paid ads, and social media marketing can address that problem well. However, if you have the traffic but not the conversion numbers, you may need to rethink your website.

Before you panic, consider the basics. It may sound elementary, but you’d be surprised how many websites are missing a call to action and a clearly visible phone number (or other contact information, if you prefer) from the top third of their homepage. By clearly visible, too, we’re not talking about something small and grey tucked away in the corner of the uppermost logo, but a “Call/Email/Order (as appropriate) Today for Your Free Quote/Widget/Etc.” and a large, bright font, placed where people can see it.

Second, is your site mobile friendly? With more than a billion cellphones in use around the world and tablet use exploding among the U.S. population, people are accessing your website from more than just desktop browsers. Aside from the negative SEO complications, a site that doesn’t work, isn’t readable, or plain just looks awful from a mobile device is bad news. As basic as a strong visual with your contact information, addressing your mobile consumers with a responsive web design should be mission critical for everyone in 2013.

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Web Design: Key Considerations

Posted on May 31, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

It can be overwhelming, thinking about a overhaul for your company’s website. Like a remodel or putting in a new swimming pool, the costs can sometimes spiral, with the returns on your investment potentially unclear.

And yet, the data is in. A great website translates directly into better organic search rankings and higher sales. Google prefers sites that are easily navigable, and with plenty of relevant, meaningful content that correlates directly with the search terms for which you’re hoping to appear.

Customers too are now more sophisticated when it comes to making online comparisons between company websites. A clean and modern site with a responsive infrastructure  attracts consumers, while a complicated, messy one will drive them away.

To organize your spending, divide your website into tasks to be accomplished. Visual design, usability, SEO optimization, content, and integration (with both mobile and desktop browsers, as well as social media) are regarded by most creatives as the five most important categories in which any website must pass muster in order to succeed with consumers.

Know your goals. Going in with clear ideas about what you want from your redesign will allow you to communicate effectively with both current customers, and potential ones. In 2013, a  great website has never been more important.

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Psychological Effects of Good Web Design

Posted on May 10, 2013 in Coupon, Web Design by cmblogger

Colors and images set the mood of a website more than you might imagine. Blue is a trustworthy color, which is why so many banking institutions use it for their website designs. Green is often associated with nature and rebirth, and you’ll often find it used on websites touting health related products.

But it’s more than just “feel good” psychology when it comes to the layout of your website. Your design choices are not just about fostering brand consistency, but can actually provide the measure of encouragement your customer needs to make a purchase, or reach out for contact.

You have only a short time, most analysts say only 4-6 seconds, to “hook” a consumer who visits your website, and transform them from a casual browser into an active customer. Just as you would want an impressive storefront and well groomed employees no matter what your business, your website must have visual appeal as well as solid content.

Call us today to discuss your particular goals and challenges. Captain Marketing’s experienced team of web designers and copywriters can help you set just the right tone with an effective, consumer friendly website, formulated for success.

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