3 Ways to improve your website right now

3 Ways to improve your website right now

Small website changes can make a massive difference. Start by analyzing your website's navigation, calls-to-actions, and make sure you're incorporating solid, authentic social proof.

I'm a huge proponent of avoiding website redesigns. They are necessary in some cases, but for most small businesses, they aren't.

Don't get me wrong; there are exceptions. Some businesses need to start from a clean slate for many reasons. But for those who only get so much value from their site, I'd rather see them make small changes and gather feedback. Go for the quick wins and see the impact they have.

So, if you're looking for low-hanging fruit, here are three easy website improvements you can make right now.

Simplify navigation 

Your website's navigation bar is an essential feature. It's like a map to the vital pages that assists the visitor in locating what they want. It also helps to boost your ranking on search engines. 

If your navigation bar looks complex or disorganized, visitors might get disoriented and overwhelmed - wasting time and losing patience. 

Simplify and organize your navigation bar to contain important categories featured on your website. For instance, you can have tabs describing your business or what services you offer. 

Additionally, the tabs on the navigation bar should appear logically. For example, the "contact us" section should not appear before the products tab or the "about us" tab. Think about it this way; the visitor usually considers looking for the contact information after going through your website. The first tab should lead to the second one and so forth. Think about the visitor's journey and what information is important to them first.

Have a maximum of seven items on the menu to simplify navigation and keep the navigation bar fixed. Research shows, having too many choices affects people's ability to select just one option. Fewer items on the menu help the visitors stay on the site for more than five seconds. 

Evaluate the wording on the bar to ensure it's relevant to the page it's linking to. Avoid abbreviations or generic words and use descriptive ones that the visitor is likely to use or search. Doing this can improve click-through rates of pages and help search engines determine your relevance, improving your rankings. 

Use clear, attractive calls-to-action

Most people use visual cues to evaluate which content is relevant to them. Calls to action (CTAs) with clear, labeled action words assist your website visitors in navigating your site. Use them to your advantage.

When creating buttons on your website, color should be an essential consideration. Different colors provoke different reactions and communicate additional messages.

For instance, research suggests having orange-colored CTA buttons increases conversion rates by up to 32%. In comparison, red buttons increase the rates by 21%. Before selecting a color, consider the message you'd like to communicate to the visitor, be it intelligence, experience, or trust. 

Another consideration to make is the actual words on the CTA. The wording should start with an action word or a verb that prompts the visitor to take the next step. Ensure you use first-person narrative (my, me, I) to guide the user. Alternatively, you can use the WYLTIWLT (Wilty Wilt) test on every button you create.

In this test, the idea is to use words that apply to what users are likely to say and what you're asking them to do. For example, the phrases should answer "I would like to" from the visitor's perspective and "would you like to" from your perspective. 

When creating the CTA buttons, ensure they are the right size and have only a couple per page. The CTAs should be brief, easy to understand, and obvious.

Selecting the right words depends on the level of emotional relativity that the words evoke. For them to be effective, the visitor has to create an emotional connection. Choose words that show confidence, are time-sensitive, and are action-focused.

Add social proof

Most online shoppers prefer products with four or five-star ratings from other people familiar with the product. Reading these reviews brings confidence and trust in the commodity and is proof that the product will function as intended. It helps to nudge the visitors to proceed with the purchase.

This same concept applies to your website and product or service. If visitors see positive testimonials from actual people, some studies show a 58% greater chance they will purchase from you.

The first step is deciding the format you'd like your testimonials to be. Video testimonials are the best option for one primary reason; they capture the visitor's attention longer than five seconds. It also helps create a human connection with your brand if visitors can see and hear real people. 

Every video should have a header and a description of the user's result or benefits of using your product or service. It gives the visitor context of what they are about to hear in the video. 

If you cannot use video testimonials, have a page dedicated to case studies or go with the text-based testimonials. Have cards with detailed information on what you did specifically to assist your clients. Include an image from your team instead of stock photos or plain logos to build trust on every card. 

For text-based testimonials that have no case studies, you need to pay more attention to the design. For example, if the testimonial is just a name, the visitor will have more questions than answers. They are likely to doubt whether the person is real, as your brand has no connection.

It would help if you also considered the layout in which the text appears. The goal is to have as many reviews as possible. However, ensure that every testimonial has a photo and the person's or company's name to legitimize the information. 

It's also essential to be strategic about where you're placing the testimonials on your website. You can have them on your home page, the page showing your services, or a dedicated page that's available on your navigation bar. Anyone who visits these pages is already interested in learning more about your brand, so it's easy to convert them. 

There are plenty of improvements you can make outside of the three I mentioned. I hope this serves as a conversation starter. Look for low-hanging fruit and quick wins to see if they give you the results you need before considering a comprehensive website redesign.