Your website is the most valuable piece of digital real estate you own, and it should be a sacred place where your potential and returning customers can connect with your brand. One mistake I see time and time again is businesses taking the Kevin Costner in 'Field of Dreams' approach - “If you build it, they will come.”
Breaking News: They won’t. Field of Dreams was fictional. If this happened in real life, Costner would be institutionalized.
Just because you’ve created a beautiful website doesn’t mean that your work is done - you need to continually update and innovate to keep your audience interested.
Here are a few ways you can combat boring on your website:
1. Scrap That Ugly 404 Page
Pause for one moment and ask yourself this simple question - 'what is the most boring, predictable part of your website?'
For many of you, I’d assume the answer will be your 404 error page. 99% of businesses use the same format for these pages. They look something like Apple’s:
This is the standard online - Apple isn’t really following it’s “think different” philosophy here.
On the other hand, look at what Amazon is up to.
Every time you go to a 404 page on Amazon, you get to meet a new dog that helps out around the company headquarters. It’s a simple idea, but it grabs your attention immediately. What could have been a disappointing interaction with a website has turned into a happy accident. It endears visitors to the brand, and humanizes the online experience.
'Surprise and delight' is a philosophy that all brands should embrace.
2. Stop Questioning Everything
While filling out a credit card application online, I once overheard my dad quip that the process was “so boring it could put an insomniac to sleep.”
Forms are not exciting. Filling them out is definitely a chore. If you’re going to ask people it give you their information, the least you can do is try to spice things up a bit.
Get creative with any forms you have on your website. We added a check box that says “I just like checking boxes” on all of our forms, and just shy of 95% of people check it off when filling out a form. We get tons of comments on the silly thing. If you can make your customers smile while giving you their information, you’re doing something right.
3. Make Your Thank You Pages Thankful
If someone is landing on a 'Thank you' or confirmation page on your website, you should be very thankful. Likely, this is going to lead to something good for your business.
Take your gratitude and put a little bit of effort into building your next confirmation page. It doesn’t have to move the world, but don’t go with the generic page.
Add a picture of your team members giving a thumbs up, show off your company culture, or do what my company does - add a picture of a puppy wearing sunglasses saying thank you. Surprise and delight.
4. Monitor Your Analytics Closely
In particular, you need to pay attention to your bounce rate on any pages you’re promoting. If you’re seeing a high drop off rate on a particular page, it’s time to make some changes.
Here are five metrics you need to pay attention to if you want to strengthen your bond with your website visitors:
1. Bounce Rate Bounce rates show you how many people go to particular page on your website and leave—literally bouncing off—to another site. Ideally, you will want to keep your bounce rate low, but this really depends on what kind of page you are tracking.
2. Exit Rate Check out your visitors exit rates to determine site interest. Track which pages on your site are getting the highest exit rates. These are the pages that your site visitors are viewing last—which means you can now easily check if there are things on these pages that are prompting them to leave.
3. Time Spent On Page This tracks the amount of time your visitors spend on a particular page. For certain pages, low numbers don’t necessarily reflect negatively on your site. Cart pages for instance, where the goal is to offer a streamlined process for purchase, lower time spent means that your site works efficiently for its desired purpose.
On the other hand, for blog sites, where you will likely have articles, videos, infographics - essentially material that requires time to get read - you will want your audience to spend a significant amount of time on these pages.
4. Traffic Sources Traffic sources is technically referred to as a “dimension” in Google Analytics. Tracking your traffic sources tells you where your site visitors are coming from. Finding this out means you can now tailor fit your strategy in the interest of getting more traffic on your blog or site.
Review your sources and review which source is sending your most traffic. Knowing that, you now have the option to focus your marketing campaigns on a platform that proves they can drive traffic to your site.
5. Unique Sessions Sessions are the page views that a site visitor makes on your site. What you want to track are the unique sessions (since the same visitor might view the page multiple times). Take a look at the page and try to pinpoint what made people visit.
Hopefully with these tips, you'll be on your way to a more exciting website. It's important to remember that people visit much more than just your homepage, and it's often deep in your website where you'll convert a customer or create a fan.