Showing posts with label website. Show all posts
Showing posts with label website. Show all posts

Mobile web use edges out mobile apps

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mobile Web Users vs Mobile App users

Twenty-three percent of consumers use mobile web browsers to access content, outpacing the 15% that use mobile apps, CodeFuel reports. The researchers found that users prefer the freedom found on mobile web browsers, which gives greater ability to browse than do their app counterparts.

How to avoid a stale website by fixing these 8 mistakes

Monday, April 25, 2016


Designers need to consistently update sites with new content, architecture and innovation such as responsive design. Successful sites also need copy that addresses the customer's problems and offers clearly defined calls-to-action.

We know that a website is the hub of all our marketing efforts. So it’s critical to maintain a website that is up-to-date and filled with valuable, quality content to attract, convince and convert visitors into leads and eventually into sales. But if you’re website is making any of these mistakes, you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of opportunity to generate leads and drive revenue.

Outdated Design/Architecture

When is the last time you looked at your website? Like, really looked. If you don’t know the answer of the top of your head – you’re already making one of the biggest cardinal sins of having a website. Unlike the past when simply having a website was enough to outshine you from the outside competition, today websites have a self-life of about 2-3 years.

If you can’t remember the last time you considered the state of your website, the next question you need to ask yourself is when was the last time you spoke with your website vendor? If it’s been longer than you can remember, it’s time to do a quick check-in, or possible start the search for a new vendor.

Poor Messaging

Many websites lack when it comes to their messaging. They are usually generic and stale, rather than appealing and convincing. Your messaging should be more about how you can solve a user’s problem, and less about how amazing you are. When your message is filled with self-proclaimed accolades, it gives visitors the impression that you only care about yourself. That doesn’t solve the problem that they are coming to you for and doesn’t show how you can help.

“Sell a happier life. Not a product.” – Kaleigh Moore 

Successful website messaging should immediately resonate with your visitor and complement the design of your site. This requires using words that show empathy and evoke emotion.

No Contact Information or About Me

When a first time user lands on your website, they are in search of two things: credibility & trust. Unfortunately, too many websites lack the thorough contact information visitors are in need of. This can make or break your next sale, especially if it was a hot lead that you were convinced you were going to close. If they can’t reach out to you with any questions, they are more than likely going to head over to a competitor who will answer those questions.

Even more, a website that lacks a descriptive and informative About Me page immediately decreases the credibility of your business – especially if your messaging is boosting all your accomplishments. Show your team members and allow them to show a more personal, human-like side in their bios and head shots.

No New Content

Like the previous three I’ve already mentioned, the fact that websites still aren’t keeping their content up-to-date seriously makes me cringe. There is absolutely no way that any company can find an industry update, an internal company update, or simply spruce up or refresh a previously page of cornerstone content. Incorporating a blog or news center is a great way to add consistent new content that will educate visitors and position you as a thought leader.

Slow Page Load Times

With our users at the forefront of everything we do in our digital marketing tactics, their demands for a fast loading website are one we cannot ignore. Users don’t want to spend time waiting for your large images to load when they can head back to the search engine and find a site that loads quickly and provides all the information they need. That means you’ve just lost an interested prospect … the clock is ticking, is your site up to speed?

Not Mobile Friendly or Responsive

As of April 2015, responsive design is no longer a luxury for corporate websites. Google has now required it, as it is now a factor that determines whether or not your site will be visible in search engines. Beyond Google, 52 percent of users said they would be less likely to engage with a company if the mobile experience on their site was bad. Using a flexible CMS – such as WordPress – your web developer can ensure every piece of content published can be accessed and easily digested by readers regardless of the viewing device they prefer.

No Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Once a user lands on your site and feels you can provide value to them, they need to know what the next steps are going to be in regards to doing business together. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s cycle, these next steps will differ and evolve as they continue to move each step. In the awareness stage, directing them to a relevant, educational piece of content such as your blog, white paper or case study will provide more information about the problem they are having. As they move down the funnel, the actions you want them to take will continue to change as well, which will require different types of content. These types of format may include testimonials, email campaigns, industry reports, etc. Even asking someone to share a piece of content is considered a CTA and also helps expand the visibility and lifespan of your content.

“People mimic, so run a test showing someone doing the thing you want your visitor to do – like signing up for a trial or tweeting your tweet” – Kaleigh Moore

The ultimate goal is to capture the lead through a form and nurture that lead until they are ready to contact a sales rep. None of this is possible with a clear set of CTA’s that your visitor can follow.

Partnering with the wrong vendor or relying on DIY solutions.

Regardless of the avenue you take with your website, it can only be successful as the team supporting it. If you’re in need of a robust, attractive, compelling and cutting-edge website that stands out from your competitors, it is worth every penny as well as every bit of time it takes to complete it. A website can be built in a day, but it certainly shouldn’t be if you’re trying to gain a credible reputation on the web.

As you may be able to tell, many of these mistakes are minor. But when left unattended, these mistakes can leave disastrous problems that will not only decrease your credibility in your industry, but also decrease your quality and amount of leads and sales made at the end of the day.


(Courtesy of B2C)

10 great UX features from the Airbnb website

Monday, March 7, 2016

Airbnb has been very successful, to say the least. Of course, a disruptive business model has been a big factor, but a great user experience has played a big part.

While travel brands have. in general, been slow to adapt to the web, brands like airbnb (and booking.com) have shown the way in terms of UX.

So, here’s a selection of UX delights from airbnb…

Easy search box

When you head to the airbnb homepage, user attention will tend to focus on the search box.

It’s simple to get started too: enter destination, check in/out dates and number of guest and you’re in.

 Compare this to the ibis homepage (both shots show what’s visible above the fold). The search box doesn’t stand out against all the other elements on the page.


Search results pages

The presentation of site search results is very important. The ease of use, ability to tailor the selection to your needs and find key information can drive more bookings.

Here, the presentation is clear, and there are plenty of ways to sort and filter the selection of homes on offer.

The ability to search by moving the map

I love this, as it suits the way I like to search. Let’s say you want somewhere near the centre of town (Seville in this case) or perhaps near a beach or other attraction – this feature allows you to search around that area without having to start again or amend your search radius.

It also works well too, loading new results quickly and allowing a quick preview of the apartments helps.


Mapping results is a key feature of most travel sites, but airbnb does this as well as any.

Urgency

Airbnb uses urgency well.

This is a useful tactic, as it pushes the customer to come to a decision on whether or not to make a booking.

Here, when looking for a place to rent in New York next weekend, I’m warned that just 11% of homes are left. This means I need to make a decision quickly to secure a booking.



Urgency should be used in moderation – use it too much and customers will learn to ignore the message.
It should convey useful information, like this note telling me I’ve found an apartment which is usually booked up.


Social proof

Social proof helps to persuade potential customers through the wisdom of the crowds.
So, in this case, if other people have booked here and enjoyed it, then that’s a big push for the potential customer.

Here, it also acts as a quality control mechanism for airbnb, as bad reviews will help to weed out the poorer rentals, while the need to attract good reviews offers a powerful incentive for people to ensure their customers have a great experience.



Images

Airbnb works around images. The homepage is image-heavy, but the most crucial use is in apartment listings.

Many travel sites used to expect that a couple of small images would work, but people want to see detail. It’s a huge part of the decision on whether or not to book.
It’s up to the homeowners to take and show a good range of images, but airbnb ensures they are presented well.

There are a few key features here:
  • Plenty of images.
  • Images showing views from apartments.
  • Images showing key features – beds, cooking equipment etc.
  • The presentation. By showing in a lightbox like this, airbnb makes it easy to browse photos.


Clear presentation of information

Home listings require detail – number of bedrooms, cooking facilities, wifi, proximity of local amenities etc.

Presenting this detail without cluttering the page or making it difficult to scan and understand is important.

Airbnb uses features like symbols and bold highlighting to help users scan, while information is laid out with plenty of space.



Price bar chart

This subtle price range chart allows users to instantly get an idea of the range of prices available for their search.

It means they can narrow the price range while ensuring they will generate a good number of results.



Neighbourhood guides

This is a great feature, and very useful for visitors unfamiliar with a particular destination.
The hosts have recommended cafes, restaurants, great places to shop in the area near their apartment, shown on this map.

It’s useful when deciding whether to book, but also when you arrive, so you can find a good restaurant without having to gamble.


Forms/checkout

Forms are well presented with lots of white space and clear information around fields.

There are reminders of total cost, while errors are flagged immediately and field requiring attention are highlighted clearly.


Bad UX

It’s not all rosy, and there are a couple of features which could annoy users.

This bar encouraging me to sign up for instance. It can’t be closed and is big enough that it obscures a good part of the screen.

Perhaps users want to browse first, then sign up if they want to. This gets in the way of that.


Then there’s this, in a similar vein. This time it takes over the whole screen. Maybe airbnb has tested these popups and found they increased the number of logins.


They can work, when applied well, though it’s hard to measure the number of people who are deterred by intrusive methods like this.

The sheer number of adblock users is testament to the dislike for such tactics.

As a user, I’d be happy to sign in if I decide to make a booking, but I’d rather do this when I’m ready, rather than being hounded into it.

Airbnb should rely on its reputation, UX and sheer range of properties to convert customers, rather than intrusive formats like this.

In summary

The last gripe aside, airbnb is a great site to use.

The key processes of searching, viewing and making sense of results, and finding information on rentals is as good as any site I can think of, and better than most.
 

(Courtesy of ClickZ)

Improving value and trust for your brand’s website

Friday, March 4, 2016

A brand’s vitality is contingent upon its ability to exhibit value and maintain the trust of consumers, as this will ultimately drive conversions. Use these six tactics to enhance the trustworthiness of your website.  

Trust matters. In fact, having an open, honest, and transparent relationship with both your audience and your employees is fundamental to your success. The problem is, when it comes to internet marketing, we tend to assume that today’s consumers are cynical, jaded, and skeptical.

To the surprise of many, Nielsen’s latest Trust in Advertising report revealed just the opposite:
“Consumers around the globe are more trusting now than they were several years ago. Trust in online advertising is increasing, as is trust in ads on TV, radio, and movie screens.”
Unfortunately, faulty assumptions regarding consumer trust has led many businesses to focus their marketing on gimmicks, video contests, social media discounts, and visuals that are essentially aimed at tricking prospects into buying.

The fact is, earning the trust of your visitors really just comes down to providing a trustworthy and valuable online experience. To improve the value and trust of your website, one needs to ditch the bells and whistles and instead focus on these six tips:

1. Speed

If there’s one aspect that any website should hone in on to develop trust, it’s speed. The reality is visitors care a lot more about speed than any other superficial fluff you may feature on your website.
It’s also an important component for search engine rankings. Research from Kissmetrics shows that bounce rates exponentially increase after about five seconds.
Kiss Metrics Graph

In fact, you can verify this with Google Webmaster Tools.

According to research from the Aberdeen Group, even a one-second delay in load times can lead to an 11 percent dip in traffic and a seven percent drop in conversions. With attention spans at all time lows and the soaring need for instant gratification, your bounce rates will skyrocket and your visitor’s trust will plunge, if your website isn’t fast enough.

Here are a few tips to improve the load time of your website:
  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests. Use CSS instead of images, add scripts at the bottom of your page, and minimize the size and number of the multimedia elements as much as possible.
  • Optimize the images on your website by keeping them small. Use .JPEG or .PNG and delete empty “img src” codes. Nearly two-thirds of a website’s page weight comes from images, so using these image types and condensing their size will reduce this weight by at least 20 percent.
  • Get rid of multiple tracking codes and extraneous share buttons or video embeds whenever possible.
  • Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDN). CDN has servers worldwide that are strategically deployed to shorten content round-trip times, allowing it to be served more quickly to users in places all over the world. It also reduces the likelihood of crashes, enhances SEO performance, and improves the user experience.

 

2. Mobile optimization

Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm has been lovingly referred to as Mobilegeddon. As of last month, the mobile friendliness of a site no longer just affects the user experience, it influences a site’s rank too.

Fear of losing prominence on Google appears to have made an impact. As of April 2015, there were nearly five percent more mobile-friendly websites than there were in February.

Why is Google placing such importance on being mobile-friendly? The answer is in the numbers:
When it comes to bounce rates for mobile websites, you have to be careful about what you do and what you don’t do; mobile visitors have nearly 10 percent higher bounce rates than their desktop counterparts. Samuel Scott, a digital marketing consultant, explained this phenomenon in a comment on Quora.
“The thing to know is that when people are on mobile devices, they are generally more impatient because they are on the go and looking for a piece of information quickly.”
Again, this all comes down to trust.

How do you increase the mobile friendliness of a site? Assess these features and functions:
  • Responsiveness: Does your site automatically resize based on the screen size of the device being used? For example, a Mac computer screen resolution might be 2560 by 1600 pixels (16:10 ratio), but the resolution of an iPhone 6 screen is only 1334 by 750 (16:9 ratio). Your website needs to be viewed legibly on both without the need for horizontal scrolling.
  • Font size: It may sound funny, but are your fonts large enough to read easily on smaller screens? Google recommends a base font size of 16 CSS pixels.
  • Spacing: Are your buttons and interactive content far enough apart to avoid what’s been called “fat finger syndrome”? Again, Google recommends spacing of at least 48 CSS pixels between elements.
  • Navigation: Do your menus automatically minimize to take up less space?
  • Multimedia: Is your multimedia content optimized to play across mobile devices (that is to say, is it not Flash)?
  • Plugins: Are your site’s plugins outdated? How many are you running? Are any of them redundant? Which should you disable for mobile users?
  • Pop-ups: Are your pop-ups obstructing the view of your site on mobile devices?

 

3. Visuals

Psychologists at Princeton University recently discovered that it takes one-tenth of a second to make an initial judgment about another person – and the same is true for your website. In fact, a 2006 study concluded that visitors create an opinion of a website in just 500 milliseconds, or half a second.

Because the human mind processes visuals 10,000 times faster than text, concentrating on the visual components of your website is essential. British researchers found out that design and content dramatically affect the perceived trustworthiness of online health websites. A staggering 94 percent of respondents’ comments were about design elements like color schemes, pop-up advertisements, and busy layouts. Just six percent were about the content itself.

Here are a few tips for applying visuals to your site:
  • Never add images for decoration – make sure they have a purpose.
  • Keep your pages as uncluttered as possible. An example of a quality page is one that answers who you are and what you do, includes a few call to action opportunities, and has an overall superb design. A bad page layout example would be a site that appears outdated, such as in the image below.
Ugly website example
  • Refrain from using stock photos. Instead, use images of real people or your products in action.
  • Use images to direct visitors’ attentions to certain parts of the page, such as an image of a person looking at something or an image with an arrow pointing. Eye Tracking reports that the image below prompted more readers to look at the text than another image that just had a baby looking directly at the reader.
website eye catching

4. Navigation

The primary objective for your website’s navigation is to enable your visitor to locate what they’re looking for right away.

How does navigation impact trust and a website’s overall effectiveness?

Forrester Research studies have found that 50 percent of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information, and 40 percent of consumers do not return to the website if they can’t find what they’re looking. What’s more, according to a report from Keynote, 44 percent of mobile users often complain that navigation on mobile websites is difficult.

To test your navigation, apply the rule of three; it should only take your user three clicks to find precisely what they’re looking for.

Unsure if you’re making mistakes regarding navigation? Here are some common navigation errors that can hurt audience trust:
  • Placing navigation in unconventional places on your website.
  • Installing drop-down menus that make it hard for search engines to crawl.
  • Maintaining too many labels in your navigation.
    • The fewer labels you have, the better. Then visitors are less likely to miss important aspects. At most, a navigation menu should have seven labels, but try to aim for five.
  • Typing in generic labels instead of detailed descriptors.
    • For example, “products,” “services,” or “more” are just too generic and won’t help the visitor. Instead, use labels that consist of popular keywords or key phrases.
Remember to always be consistent, clear, and concise.

5. Value proposition

Why should this customer buy from you instead of the competition?

This is where your value proposition matters most. Trustworthy value propositions condense the reason as to why a customer should purchase your product or use your service. Despite its importance, QuickSprout’s research shows that, at 54 percent, more than half of businesses do nothing to optimize their value propositions.

Not everyone can be the master of the pen, which can make it difficult to craft the perfect value proposition. The key to the perfect value proposition requires being clear in order to differentiate yourself from others, then making the results known and easy to understand in less than five seconds.

When writing a value proposition, make sure it is reflective of the following qualities:
  • Relevancy: Outline how your product or service solves customers problems.
  • Uniqueness: It is important to justify why the customer should buy from you instead of your rival.
  • Value: Show value by listing the specific benefits that your product or service offers. It is also important to identify specific benefits for specific customers, as this will facilitate targeting.
  • Measurability: Be sure to cite data that verifies the results of your product or service.
  • Simplicity: Keeping things simple will ensure that your prospects will understand who you are immediately.
There are also strategic locations to place your value proposition, such as in your headline, your header, or within a video or image.

Having a quality value proposition is vital for a website. Researchers at MarketingExperiments concluded that value proposition is key to your conversion rate. Using its “conversion heuristic,” they found that value proposition was second in importance, just behind a consumer’s motivation when visiting your website.

website strategy

6. Testimonials

Testimonials aren’t just essential to earning trust, they one of the driving forces behind 20 and 50 percent of purchases, according to research from McKinsey. And yet, fewer than half of businesses are proactive in collecting this valuable data.

We all understand the importance and value that customer testimonials can provide to any brand, company, or website. It’s human psychology; if others are satisfied with your product or service, then visitors are more likely to be converted into customers.

The best type of testimonial is to have a paragraph complemented by a name, company logo, and a photo of the client.
Testimonials for your website

Although the most common testimonial format features a past customer writing something positive about the business, video testimonials are also an effective way to validate your trustworthiness.

Other strategic suggestions for properly showcasing testimonials include:
  • Social proofing your website via the use of features such as Facebook badges that show the number of fans or likes, Twitter badges that highlight number of followers or shares, or RSS badges that prove number of subscribers.
  • Taking advantage of “as seen on” badges to gain credibility. Feature a few of these badges from the likes of the New York Times and CBS on your homepage.
  • Placing the most prominent clients first, such as big brands, executives, or founders.

It’s all a matter of trust

Black hat tricks never do a website any good. Internet users are getting smarter and search engines are getting better at catching onto these practices.

Remember that less is more. Developing trust requires a fast site, mobile friendliness, purposeful visuals, easy navigation, a prominent value proposition, and customer testimonials. A strong reputation and effective website will do more for your business than all of the fancy ad gimmicks out there.
 
 
(Article courtesy of ZClick)

Free Seo and Marketing Tools to Monitor Your Website Health

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You have Google Analytics installed, you work hard on your social media and you are dedicated to your SEO. But do you know what search engines are really seeing?

These tools will help you find your place online in terms of seo, ranking, marketing, code quality and social media.  They are absolutely invaluable for measuring your marketing, seo and web design efforts.

Hubspot's Marketing Grader

Website Marketing Grader


Formerly Website Grader, Hubspot's Marketing Grader goes beyond simple seo. Enter your website or blog URL and your email address, and press go. Marketing Grader will give you an overall score for your website, based on five categories:
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Lead Generation
  • Mobile
Each section has a checklist of items as well as grades for individual aspects of the category.

Why it works:

In addition to the impact (or lack thereof) of your marketing efforts, you get a good overall view of your site popularity

Nibbler

Nibbler website report
The free Nibbler test looks at a slew of site characteristics. With more than 24 items, you get an overall score (on a scale of 1 to 10) and a list of improvements ordered by priority.

Why it works:

The information in this report is so detailed and so well categorized, you'll see items that need improvement where you never thought to look. You'll also understand where your efforts need to be increased.

Woorank

Woorank website review


WooRank’s free Website Review tool tests seven aspects of your site:
  • SEO
  • mobile
  • usability
  • technologies
  • social
  • local
  • traffic
This is an SEO powerhouse review. Your site is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 and a even has report that you can download as a pdf or slides to share with your marketing team.

Why it works:

In addition to seeing where your SEO efforts are going right or going wrong, WooRank analyzes the keywords on your site, letting you know how they rate and if they appear in the right places, such as title, meta tags and H tags.

Quick Sprout Website Analyzer

Quick Sprout offers a number of comprehensive results. You will get a breakdown of your most popular content, keyword ranking, shares and much more.

In addition, you will see this information for any competitors you want to add.

Why it works:

Know your competition, know your strengths and see what needs improving.

LXR Website Analyzer Tool


The LXR Marketplace Website Analyzer tool is a good one for looking at the core elements of your page (and competitors, if desired). You'll get all sorts of information from the page type to the header tags used. You can also see your web page content, links on the page, image alt tags and anchor text. All with recommendation on how your on-page SEO factors can be improved for ranking in natural search results.

In addition, they offer other free tools for analyzing other SEO factors.

Why it works:

Helps to identify which key on-page SEO factors are directly affecting your organic rank and provides recommendations based on these factors.

Conclusion

What can you learn about your website, blog or online store?

Do you have someone tracking the performance of your content?

Let me know what you learn from these tools and what you did to improve your site!