7 Quick fixes to optimize a cluttered website for conversions

The fact that you are here shows you have already taken a big step in the process to fix your website design or landing page. Recognizing you have a busy, cluttered, non-optimized website is the first step to fixing the problem. Now, what should you do about it? Start by reviewing your page or site and asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the goal of the website or page?
    First thing’s first; to optimize your website, you need to know what you are optimizing it. What is are you trying to achieve? Write it down. Every decision you make going forward should be decided with this website goal in mind. Ask yourself, does this help us accomplish our goal of xxxxx? Your goal should be as specific as you can make it. It should not just be “increase sales” or “capture more leads”. A good goal provides context. An example of an effective lead goal is: Increase the number of email addresses of our primary target audience of male students 18-21.
  2. Is that paragraph necessary?
    Once your goal has been determined, start reviewing the content on your page and deciding if it is necessary to achieve your goal. Is the information needed to convince a potential customer to fill out the form? Or is it on the page because someone within your company would like it mentioned? Too much information can confuse a website visitor and sidetrack them from completing the intended goal.
  3. Is it logical?
    Your website should lead visitors down a path that is logical and answer their questions along the way. They should be able to quickly find the information they need. If they are confused by the website navigation or page layouts they are more likely to leave the website for another easier-to-use site.
  4. Is it easily skimmed?
    Research shows the majority of website visitors skim the content on the page. Headlines, sub-headlines, lists and bullets are great ways to break up the content and make it easier for your customer to quickly find the information they need. This makes them more likely to make the decision to convert.
  5. Is there a cohesive system to the colors?
    Having a clear color system allows your customers to quickly consciously or subconsciously understand the order of the page. The more organized and familiar the page, the easier for the brain to understand what to do next. Whether they notice it or not, an example is if green buttons always move the customer forward through the process. A system like this causes the mind to start looking for the next green button to continue moving forward.
  6. How many fonts are on the page?
    Similar to the color system mentioned above, having a clear order to the type on the page also helps simplify the content and make it easier to skim. Streamlining the headlines with a standard font, font size and color quickly simplifies and organizes the page.
  7. Can the user find all the information they need to make a decision or do they need to contact you?
    In some industries, the best way to increase leads is to provide the visitor just enough information to be interested and feel confident enough to reach out to you—but not enough that they can do all their research without ever giving you their information. Depending on your business model and industry, you may need to provide more information so the customer can compare you to competitors. Going back to your main goal determined at the beginning, put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes. What information do they need? What is extra information they don’t need to convert?

Conclusion

When in doubt think: simpler is better. Too many fonts, colors, content and photos can distract the potential customer and keep them from converting. Just because there is space on the page for something doesn’t mean it should be there. Not sure where to start? Hire an expert to help organize and reorganize your pages to increase conversions.

Google Introduces AMP for Email

This month, Google announced a revolutionary step forward in email marketing. They are bringing their Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) to email. With the announcement, they released AMP for email examples created by several of their preferred partners and general documentation. There are still many questions on this new form of email, but we have gathered information on what is known and what we would like to know before this new type of email is rolled out later this year.

What is AMP for Email?

Google launched AMP in 2015 to improve the mobile web experience. Basically, it is a simplified lightweight webpage that loads quickly on mobile devices. AMP for email brings the lightweight interactive AMP code to Google’s Gmail platform.

Google’s Goals

Google released the video above on AMP for email explaining its uses and their goals to modernize email. The main takeaways are Google is trying to reduce friction for simple tasks by allowing the user to RSVP, fill out a form or browse a gallery without needing to click to a landing page. They created AMP for email open-spec with the hope others will integrate it into their platforms to push the “email ecosystem” forward.

How Can Marketers Use it?

The AMP for email documentation has the code sectioned into three main sections. Those sections are media, presentation and dynamic content.

The dynamic content is what Google focused on during the announcement, showing how people can fill out a form or answer a question directly in an email.

Examples

Doodle created a stunning example of how users can answer a survey directly in one of their emails. Getting users to take surveys can be a tricky task. Allowing them to quickly respond in an email may lead to more participation.

Booking.com created an email showing off the new website carousels, allowing a hotel to show off multiple images without increasing the length of the email.

Drawbacks

To utilize AMP, marketers will now need to design and code three versions of an email. This includes AMP code for Gmail users, HTML for the majority of other email users and plain text. This is an extra step that will take time to execute and may not be cost-effective for smaller email lists. Current email statistics show that currently 26% of emails(1) are opened in Gmail or the Gmail app. For a list of 1,000, only 260 recipients would have the possibility of seeing the AMP version.

Practical Ecommerce reviewed the different transactional uses of AMP for email and pointed out a potential flaw. “If recipients do not realize the email will be dynamically updated, they could delete it and thus miss subsequent vital information.” We currently have no way of tracking when or if a customer deletes an email. If they delete, “AMP-delivered transactional emails, such as order confirmations and shipping statuses, presume that the recipient does not delete the original version.” (2)

Our Burning Questions

Email marketing enhancements have been moving at a much slower pace than other fields. Only recently has more user-focused interactions, such as rollovers and animations started being integrated into the majority of email platforms. This new proposed code is a huge step for email marketing. We have several questions about how it works and what this means for the future. As more information is released, we will update this post with answers received.

  1. What email clients support AMP now? Who is working on integrating it?
    Currently, we know it will be released in Gmail later in 2018. No others have committed to adding it to their platform at this time.
  2. Does this cause any legal issues? Email is currently used as a record in legal cases. AMP for Email can be dynamic and content changed after a person has received and read the email. AMP for email is designed for marketing and transactional emails, not personal, but this could still be an issue.
  3. How are interactions tracked? Currently, marketers are able to track clicks and interactions through different sending software. Will AMP for email allow more elaborate tracking?

Community Reaction

Overall there has a been a split reaction to this announcement. Some of the most vocal feedback providers have been very negative. TechCrunch has concerns about changing the fundamentals of email. “Email is designed and overwhelmingly used to say things, while websites and apps are overwhelmingly designed and used to interact with things.” Others are concerned this is a step by Google to try and take over email by forcing others to utilize their code. (3)

TJA’s Take

We are excited to see AMP for email in action. We feel there will be many uses for it in the coming years. Once the community has had a chance to really work with it, many great user experiences will be created. User experience design is all about reducing the friction and making a task as easy as possible for the user. Eliminating the need for a landing page for simple tasks will allow for a better customer interaction. Customers that have a great experience are more likely to interact with the brand again and become a brand advocate, recommending your business to their friends and family.

However, if other platforms do not pick up AMP for email, we will be selective on what emails and clients we recommend it for. Since only Gmail users will see this new code, the ROI on coding a separate email just for Gmail may not be cost effective for most cases. Outlook has committed to improving the email experience by partnering with Litmus and the email community, but they may not be willing to work with Google on this.

Marketers will also need to be smart on when it is important to send the user to their website. While reducing friction is important. Sending them to your website is also important for some companies.

Let us know what you think about the update or ask how this could apply to you in the comments.

Sources
1. http://emailclientmarketshare.com/
2. https://www.practicalecommerce.com/does-amp-for-email-impact-ecommerce
3. https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/13/amp-for-email-is-a-terrible-idea/
4. https://www.blog.google/products/g-suite/bringing-power-amp-gmail/

The Current State of Email Marketing

It’s almost 2018. Should I still be focusing on Email Marketing?

With the prominence of social media, pay-per-click advertising and websites, is email marketing still a thing? The increase of social media caused many to predict the end of email marketing; however, that has not been the case. Email marketing is stronger than ever with roughly 5 billion active emails worldwide and roughly 269 billion emails sent and received each day in 2017.

How to create successful email campaign?

Step 1: Review historical data

It is essential to analyze all available data before creating a new email strategy. If you have existing email data, review your campaign results and pay close attention to open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribe rates. This will give you a good idea of the overall list health and provide you a benchmark to compare future emails against. If you don’t have prior campaign data or don’t know if your data shows a healthy or unhealthy list, use the resources below as a reference.

Resources:

Email Benchmarks by Industry

How to Interrupt Your Email Reports

Step 2: Define your audience

This step is a combination of determining your current audience (if you have an existing list) and your ideal target audience. Utilize your customer demographics and interests to research what else they may be doing online. For example, if you are selling bowling balls, check out other blogs on bowling and sporting website where people who buy bowling equipment frequent. See what messaging is on those sites to help determine the right way to talk to your customer.

Step 3: Develop a strategy

After reviewing the past data, and determining your audience, the next step is to develop a strategic approach to email. Your strategy should not be a stand-alone plan that is separate from all marketing efforts. Instead, it should be one piece of your full online marketing puzzle. Start with determining your email goals. What do you want your emails to do? Some emails can be general to create brand awareness, announce new products, sell your company’s services or invite people to events. If you have multiple goals you may need to separate your emails to each accomplish different goals. After you have defined your goals, ensure your company objectives align with what the email recipients are interested. An email will not be successful if it is sent to accomplish a company mission and does not align with what your customers want to hear. Make sure you are providing content your email audience finds valuable and engaging. If you send the wrong message to your audience or appear too self-serving, they are likely to leave your list.

Step 4: Plan your content

Now that you’ve determined who your customer is and have a comprehensive email strategy in place, it’s time to figure out how to speak to them. Each type of email can have a different content strategy. For example, if you have a conversion goal like to “buy this bowling ball”, having one focused call to action will help increase the chances of them purchasing the bowling ball. With conversion emails and high intent customers, avoid having multiple messages and calls to action. Don’t have a lot of copy and links to other webpages and sites when you just want them to click the purchase button. Not all emails are conversion emails though. It is a valid content strategy to have a goal of educating your customers on your bowling ball foundation and want the customer to go to the website or social media channels to learn more. Every email should have a measurable digital action. That way you can monitor your email analytics to you know what’s working and what’s not.

Step 5: Write a compelling subject line and preheader text

An email subject line is the main determining factor on whether or not an email will be opened. It is important to have an enticing subject line. Avoid common SPAM phrases and characters to ensure your email makes it to your customer’s inbox. And never forget the preheader text. The preheader text is the first line of copy that shows in your inbox with the subject line. This can help convince your customer to open the email and provide more context about what they’ll find inside.

Step 6: Design

Don’t underestimate the importance of good design. The color, layout and headline all play into the success of your campaign. To make the content easy to digest, keep the design simple. Ensure that the look of your design is on brand and consistent with the style of other marketing efforts for a cohesive marketing strategy. Each email should contain a clear call to action, such as a button or call tracking number, to monitor the overall success of the email. Lastly, engaging imagery often keeps the audience’s attention and increase clicks.

Step 7: Coding

Now, on to the technical side of things. The development of emails is extremely important when executing your strategy. Emails can look completely different depending on what program they’re opened in. For example, an email opened in Apple mail may have all the text be centered and the same email opened in Outlook 2016 may have all the text left aligned. It will also look different on your desktop versus your phone. Each coded email should be tested on multiple desktop and mobile email clients before sending. At TJA, we test all emails in more than 70 different programs to make sure everyone will receive the email in it’s intended form.

Step 8: Send it!

After your email has been fully tested and reviewed, it is time to hit send. With a new or old list, you should set up A/B tests. These are experimental campaigns to determine when the email has the best results. One effective way to do an A/B test is to try different sending days and times to find the optimal time for your customers. To find these peak times, send an email to half of your email list, and then send to the other half at a different time. Based on email reporting, you can tell which email had a higher click-through rate and if there is a time or day that performs better. Other common A/B tests include different subject lines, button text, images and messaging.

Step 9: Results

After an email is sent, it is important to look at campaign analytics to learn what was successful. After 72 hours, analytics give us a clear look at how the campaign was received. We review at open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribe rate. By doing this, you’ll gain a better idea of how to optimize future emails.

Email marketing in the future

The future of email marketing is bright. When executed correctly, email campaigns can be extremely beneficial for any company. There are many platforms that you can use to streamline this process such as MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, and Fishbowl.

Easily Move Your WordPress Website

Moving a WordPress website from one host to another is not as simple as moving a static website. Luckily, there are tools available to help with the migration.

In this tutorial, we show you how to migrate your WordPress website with the Duplicator plugin.

This plugin works for transferring a live website from one host to another or to launch a WordPress website that has been developed locally on a computer.

Megan Leese | Senior Web Developer

How to Design a Mobile Friendly Website

Designing for Mobile

With Google reporting that the number of mobile users has surpassed desktop users in the United States and nine other major countries, having a mobile friendly website is more important than ever. The mobile browsing experience is very different than that on a laptop or desktop computer. Understanding these differences will help you design a superior site and accomplish your website goals.

Responsive versus Mobile

When designing and developing a mobile friendly website there are two main ways to go about it: 1) You can build a separate smaller mobile website or 2) You can code your full desktop website to be responsive. A responsive website is a website that is built on a fluid grid to resize based on the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. You must know your business and identify which option is best for your target users.

Examples of successful separate mobile websites:

Examples of successful TJA designed responsive websites:

There are pros and cons to mobile and responsive websites. For most sites, The James Agency recommends building a responsive website. Responsive websites’ fluid grid systems make them more “future proof” for the ever-changing technology and screen sizes. With the rise in the number of mobile users, many expect to be able to view all content on their mobile device and are frustrated by smaller mobile sites. From a company and time management prospective, responsive websites are easier to maintain. Instead of updating content on two websites (the mobile site and desktop site) you only need to make edits in one place and it will display for all website visitors.

Tips for a well-designed mobile site:

1. Know your audience and their browsing behavior patterns

There are two main types of mobile users: users looking for specific information and users that are casually browsing. The users looking for information have a task in mind and want to get from point A to B as quickly as possible. Creating a pathway for them to get to the information as fast as possible helps this type of user to complete their task. Calls to action are important with this demographic since “80 percent of online shoppers admit that mobile purchases are impulse-driven and that they’re more likely to purchase from and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience.” (Huffington post)

The other main type of mobile user is an information gatherer. Information gatherers are often casually browsing through the Internet looking for information on a given topic. This user wants to be able to access the information as easily as possible and will leave your site quickly if they cannot find what they are looking for.

Identifying what type of website visitor your website is catering to will help you map out your website content and navigation to create the best mobile browsing experience.

2. Keep the design simple

Cut the clutter on mobile design. Trade small detailed design elements for larger simple features and easily digestible bites of information. Mobile websites have much less space to work with and simplified sites can better utilize the space available without sacrificing legibility. Simple designs load faster and help the user accomplish their website goals fast and easily by using the least amount of data.

With responsive websites, not all functionality needs to be accessible on the mobile version of the website. When designing how the site will look on mobile screens look through every element and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is this necessary?
  2. Does this enhance the design of the page?
  3. Does this function on a touch screen?

If you answer no to more than two of the questions above, hide or remove it from your mobile layout. Some common website functionalities, including pop-ups and hover elements, do no work well on mobile. Pop-ups are successful on desktop computers because they have space to open an element larger on the screen. With a small screen there is no room to open an enlarged element. Often with the pop-up border, the content within the pop-up is the same size or smaller than before it was opened. Without a mouse, all hover states must be accessed differently.

organos mobile website

 3. Font size

Content on a mobile website should be simple and easy to read. Ensuring all the text is large enough to read on a small screen, and has enough contrast, can make a significant difference in how the website visitor interacts with your website. All fonts vary in “x” height but Google recommends the base font size for mobile text to be at least 16px.

4. Large buttons / Click space

Easy to click buttons and links are key in a mobile website. Don’t frustrate users by making links and buttons small and hard to click on you mobile website. Plan for people to have make mistakes when trying to click on specific links and buttons. Mobile and tablet users do not have a mouse that can click on small spaces. Having multiple small text links close together is difficult to click and can cause the user to move on to an easier site to accomplish their goals.

 5. Navigation

There are two common mobile navigation styles typically used in mobile web design. The first is a dropdown menu. When using dropdown navigation, you need to make sure you have large enough click space allowing for ease of use. We recommend dropdown navigations with only one to two levels in the vertical dropdown menu. The second is “hamburger” navigation. This is the small three-line icon that opens a menu on click. Hamburger navigation is a great option for larger websites with multiple levels of page navigation. Either method is successful when implemented correctly.

TW Lewis Dropdown Navigation Example

Capital Place Hamburger Navigation Example

6. Load time

Mobile users are mobile. They may be connected to a free low-speed WiFi or cellular service. Users get frustrated by slow loading pages and will likely go to a faster site. Every second counts when it comes to website load time. Kissmetrics reports that 47% of mobile web browsers expect a website to load in less than two seconds. 40% of users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Designing a mobile friendly website is more important than ever. Take your time to think about how you interact with websites on your phone and design your website with that in mind.

Megan Leese | Senior Web Developer

So…you’re going to build a website.

What makes a good website?

1. Informative.

What is this? Why am I here? What can I do here?

2. Goal Oriented.

Before the website is created, the keys stakeholders in the project need to clearly define the goals of the website.

For example:

  • Increase awareness
  • Generate email leads
  • Purchase a product or service
  • Visit a location
  • Etc.

Once the goals are defined, there needs to be a way to determine if the goal has been met.

For example:

  • Website tracking
  • Goal number of emails lead generated a month
  • Track revenue / foot traffic increases

***A website is only successful if it accomplishes the stakeholders goals.

3. Engaging.

A good website is engaging. Visitors should want to read the information and interact with the website. All content and images should be relevant and interesting to the website’s target demographic.

4. Usable.

The site needs to help the user accomplish their goals. They need to be able to easily navigate the website and find the information they are looking for. 

5. Pretty.

Lastly, aesthetics are important. A well designed website will help the information be communicated, forward the website goals, engage the user and help them find the information they are looking for. A poorly designed website can frustrate a user and cause them to leave the site for a competitor.

Megan Leese | Web Developer

So…you're going to build a website.

What makes a good website?

1. Informative.

What is this? Why am I here? What can I do here?

2. Goal Oriented.

Before the website is created, the keys stakeholders in the project need to clearly define the goals of the website.

For example:

  • Increase awareness
  • Generate email leads
  • Purchase a product or service
  • Visit a location
  • Etc.

Once the goals are defined, there needs to be a way to determine if the goal has been met.

For example:

  • Website tracking
  • Goal number of emails lead generated a month
  • Track revenue / foot traffic increases

***A website is only successful if it accomplishes the stakeholders goals.

3. Engaging.

A good website is engaging. Visitors should want to read the information and interact with the website. All content and images should be relevant and interesting to the website’s target demographic.

4. Usable.

The site needs to help the user accomplish their goals. They need to be able to easily navigate the website and find the information they are looking for. 

5. Pretty.

Lastly, aesthetics are important. A well designed website will help the information be communicated, forward the website goals, engage the user and help them find the information they are looking for. A poorly designed website can frustrate a user and cause them to leave the site for a competitor.

Megan Leese | Web Developer

Planning a Successful Email

Before writing an email, you should ask yourself five basic questions so your message can be used as a successful marketing tool. If any of these don’t have an answer, you are not ready to send an effective email that will benefit your business.

1. Why are you sending this?

The million dollar question. Why? Are you announcing a new service, offering a special or simply sending an email because you haven’t sent one in a while? You need to clearly define the reason for this email and come up with a goal you would like to reach.

Some industries support sending emails for brand awareness purposes, but recipients may quickly mark your generic emails as SPAM or unsubscribe from your list. Having a clear reason as to why you are sending an email helps focus the content and creates an interesting email.

2. Who are you talking to?

This is not who you WANT to talk to. It is – Who ARE you talking to? It’s important to know who your audience is to successfully capture their interest and complete your goals. If the audience in the list is not who you want to talk to, it is time to use different tactics to start growing your list specifically with your target audience. Studying the data from past campaigns can help you determine what content your audience is interested in and how to talk specifically to them. For example, if you have a 50% click through rate on an email about a monthly special and only a 4% click through on the email announcing a new hire, you can discern your audience is more interested in finding a deal.

3. What are you accomplishing?

What is the point of all this? Is the person who receives the email supposed to call and make a reservation? Are they clicking to a landing page where they will get more information from your website? Knowing what the endgame is will help create a clear call to action and define the content needed to support it.

4. When? (Why then?)

When is this email sending? Tuesday through Thursday between 8am and 10am? Why then? Did you hear that was the best time to send email, or did you test the highest open rate times? Every audience is different. It is important to know when your audience opens emails so you can be first in their inbox. With shifts in email marketing trends and smart phones being more prevalent, many companies are noticing a shift in their open times. We always recommend testing your audience to see what they respond to.

5. How?

How do you measure the success of an email? You need to clearly define your objectives. For example, “We would like to have 14 people book a room at this special promotional price.” This goal should coincide with the primary call to action and shape the email content.

Measuring Success

After every email is sent, research should be done. What was the open rate? What was the click-through rate? What was the percentage of unsubscribes? And, was your goal reached? We recommend strategically testing your audience by changing small things in your email campaigns. Measure the email results to see whether you can positively affect your email marketing and your business.

– Megan Leese, Web Developer

Source: Megan attended the 2014 Litmus conference where she learned email marketing trends and information. The concept of the 5 W’s is from the “Process This! How to be Successful by Design” session with Jay Juhn and Megan Merrifield.

©2020 The James Agency. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy