Unlearning your Website: Thinking Like a Pre-Customer

Unlearning your Website Thinking Like a Pre-Customer

Many would consider their industry expertise to be a competitive advantage. What if I were to suggest that your knowledge about your products and services can be the greatest hindrance to the success of your website?

Tappers and Listeners

Consider this fascinating study, highlighted in the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

A group of people are divided in half. The first group, the tappers, are assigned with the task of tapping the rhythm of a well known song, such as Happy Birthday to You or The National Anthem, on a table. The listeners are assigned with the task of identifying the song that is being tapped out by the tappers, based on the rhythm.

Read more

Website Redesigns: Breaking the Cycle

Website Redesigns Breaking the Cycle

Website redesigns are expensive, time-consuming, and hugely popular. Why? Because unlike website optimization, they’re tangible and exciting. You clearly see the end result. In my observation, companies redesign their website’s quite frequently, typically following a predictable pattern:

The Website Redesign Cycle

1. Company creates website
2. Company grows tired of website, and realizes it doesn’t meet all of their needs
3. Company redesigns website, addresses some of the weaknesses, but damages features that worked perfectly, annoying customers accustomed to the old site
4. Repeat (endlessly)

Read more

25 Web Form Optimization Tips

25 Web Form Optimization Tips

Stop for a moment and consider the goals of your website. Regardless of whether it’s a purchase through a shopping cart, a lead generation, white paper download, or a email opt, I’m going to bet every one of these actions requires a customer to use a web form.

With web forms playing such an important role in the completing goals, it goes without saying that we should optimize the heck out of them. Below are 25 tips for doing just that.

Ditch the Captchas: Captcha’s are great for blocking spam, but some evidence suggests they are just as good at blocking conversions. A little spam isn’t the end of the world, and definitely isn’t worth losing conversions over. If you must use a Captcha, make sure it’s easy to read.

Remove Unnecessary Fields: Do you really need to ask for your customers date of birth and gender? Even if your customers aren’t concerned about privacy issues, odds are they’re lazy and might just abandon your excessively inquisitive form. Here’s some great advice from Get Elastic on registration forms.

Keep It Simple: Just because we can use CSS to do all sorts of fancy things with text boxes, doesn’t mean we should. Keeping form fields simple will ensure that customers understand their purpose and won’t confuse them with design elements.

Read more

Avoid the eCommerce Low-Trust Tax

Avoid the eCommerce Low-Trust Tax

What’s one thing that all successful e-commerce sites have in common, regardless of their industry, technology, or experience? Their customers trust them.

E-commerce in particular lends itself to a low trust environment. After all, when you make a purchase online, you’re giving money to someone you can’t see, for a products that you can’t touch. Needless to say, trust is a crucial aspect of transacting business online.

Duct Tape Marketing recently interviewed Steven M.R. Covey on his book The Speed of Trust. Covey speaks of a “low-trust tax” which makes all business processes less efficient. Inspired by this concept, I came up with 10 ways to avoid paying a low-trust tax with your e-commerce site. If you have any ideas of how to inspire trust on your website, please leave a comment below.

Have a Real About Page: I’m not talking about a vague paragraph describing what you do. I’m referring to a personal, detailed explanation of who you are. Share your mission, your passion, and your vision with customers. This information becomes a powerful word of mouth tool when customers are telling friends and family about your products or services. Consider even showing pictures of yourself and your staff to add an extra personal touch.

Read more