The premise of dating apps is simple. You generally swipe one direction for the folks you're interested in and the other direction for those who you're not.
This determination happens in 1/10 of a second.
When it comes to your website, your visitors form their first impression in half that time.
Our challenge in today’s digital age is to build rapport and trust with our first-time visitors even before we have a chance to have a dialogue with them. As Stoney Degeyter with Pole Position Marketing indicates, “Your website is one of the first impressions that someone will get of your business.”
As anyone who has gone on a blind date probably knows, there’s a lot that goes into a first impression. For your website, it’s even more complicated.
We’ve laid our seven hacks to help you get started.
No. 1: Make people want to “swipe right”
The popular phrase -- “build it and they will come” -- doesn’t really work with websites today.
If you created a website in 2001 and haven’t touched it since, it’s probably not winning over anyone from your competition.
You have to make people want to “swipe right” and engage with your website. According to research from Adobe, one-third of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
In other words, your website should make it easy for people to want to click around your website. By evaluating changes and testing changes, you may find unexpected results.
Earlier this year, we tested a new landing page design:
Version A: Our traditional landing page with an explainer video and a longer page
Version B: A shorter landing page focusing more on the logos of our customers
Basing both variations on conversions and engagements with the page, we discovered that our visitors are more interested in what we did rather than who we did it for.
No. 2: New visitors require a great first impression
When you bring a date into your home, you make sure they are comfortable. You tell them where to hang their coat, where to find the bathroom or where they can find the forks.
Think about your website using this same concept. You want to roll out that red carpet for your visitors to make them feel welcome and “at home” on your web page. They want to easily find the information they want to know, whether it’s what your company sells, common answers to your questions or how to check out.
One of our users, TaylorMade, aimed to find better ways to help their visitors do just that. They used dynamic heatmaps and session recordings to evaluate where people were clicking and how they were navigating across the website.
Using this information, TaylorMade crafted a new website design that brought in the elements their customers loved with navigation that made it easier for someone to find a product and check out.
No. 3: Use the right feedback
If you’re wanting to gain valuable feedback to improve your dating life, you could ask your grandmother for her opinion. However, she might look at you through her rose-colored glasses and skew the results.
When you’re looking for feedback, you need to make sure you’re gathering the right feedback.
One of the best examples of this is from the Shopify store My Bait Shop. Like many e-commerce stores, My Bait Shop struggled initially with a lower conversion rate. To find out what customers wanted, My Bait Shop went straight to the source - its customers.
In a poll, My Bait Shop asked, “What additional lures would you like My Bait Shop to carry?”
An overwhelming 55% of respondents voted for vintage lures. After expanding its vintage lure inventory, conversions jumped 450% in 103 days. Traffic also grew by around 30% each month while conversion rates remained high.
No. 4: It’s you; not me
Do you know the classic breakup line, “it’s not you; it’s me?” In the case of your website, it really is YOU, the website, and not ME, the visitor.
Even if it’s not our intention, sometimes we just make it too hard for someone to convert.
For example, let’s talk about the forms on your website.
If you have a low form conversion rate, you may be tempted to make tweaks to your form. You may change the color of your submission button or update the font.
A better move would be to use form analytics to take a deeper dive into the form issues. Instead of a design issue, it could be a form validation rule instead.
If your visitors don’t know that they need parentheses around the area code, they will never be able to successfully submit their form.
No. 5: Know your target audience
Just like in dating, you need to know your target audience.
Looking at your website, you too need to look at your target audience. While buyer personas are nothing new, it’s still something that is crucial in identifying the target customer profiles.
Let’s say you work for a senior assisted living or retirement community. Your target audience is likely going to be the children of the seniors looking to move. Creating a persona for these decision-makers lets you better understand how to message and where to market to them.
If you need a place to get started, HubSpot has great resources including the Make My Persona generator.
No. 6: Use the right tools
Let’s not beat around the bush - the technology tools you use to analyze your website are important to understand your visitors.
With more than 7,000 marketing technology solutions available today, it can be an overwhelming decision.
There are a number of helpful questions to ask as you evaluate options, including:
Does this technology integrate with the platforms I currently use?
Would my data be sampled, or would all of the data be collected and reported?
Do I need to set up an experiment to use heatmaps?
Does the technology include many features, or will I need to use several different tools?
Depending on your visitor life cycle, you may use technologies or features at different times. For example, here is Lucky Orange’s technology stack:
No. 7: Share with others
We all need friends who help us weigh in on life decisions - maybe that guy or girl isn’t right for us. In the world of website optimization, it’s your teammates and co-workers who step in to help.
The thing about website optimization and web analytics is that isn’t not restricted to one department. With as much time as you take to figure out your business needs and find the right technology, it doesn’t make sense to not share them.
The way someone in sales may view and interpret a heatmap will be different from someone in marketing or customer service or development.
By letting multiple departments come to the analytics table together, there can be a clear direction for action that draws on the expertise and unique interpretation of each department.