Are visitors to your website getting the good stuff, the trick-or-treat equivalent of a king-size candy bar, or are they taking away an experience more on par with grubby little ghosts made of kleenex and dryer lint? When your website has so much potential to impact conversions, every decision you make becomes important.
The terrifying thing is, sometimes those decisions may seem perfectly legitimate, but they’re actually scaring off your website visitors and driving conversions down. Some seemingly innocent website design decisions are doing real damage and should be avoided. For example, does your website use any of these creepy clowns?
-Pop-up ads and interstitials: You open a website. You know what you want and you’re ready to engage. Then, out of nowhere, some marketing message pops out like a haunted-house ghoul. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet? As tempted as you may be to use these kinds of ads to draw attention to your latest promotion, refrain.
Pop-ups interrupt the user experience and the numbers show that adding one to a website can increase bounce rates by 15 percent and reduce the number of page views by over 10 percent. Put simply, people don’t like them, and search engines are taking note. Google has made some unequivocal statements indicating that pretty soon those pesky ads will start dinging your SEO rankings. Instead, find alternative ways to call attention to your marketing message.
-Unnecessary and untested visuals: You’ve got form that you want visitors to fill out. The page is clean and simple, but maybe just a little too plain. ‘No problem,’ you think, ‘Let’s just drop in a nice stock image of a smiling customer service rep.’ Problem solved? Not so fast!
A/B testing on websites has shown that something as simple as using an unnecessary image on a form actually reduced the number of completions by nearly 25 percent. Another website replaced the text navigation at the top of their homepage with icons and saw drops in both page views and conversions. There’s nothing wrong with images and icons, per se — visual elements can often work in your favor — but when it comes to their impact on user experience, you can’t afford to just trust your gut. The solution: test everything!
-Form field madness: Nobody likes filling out forms, but they’re a lynchpin of e-commerce and the foundation of our websites’ lead management functionality. So how do you handle a necessary evil? By making it as small as possible, of course.
Take a closer look at each required form field and ask yourself the tough questions. Is this information I really need? If the answer is no, let it go. Now look at what’s left and ask the second question: Can I collect this information later? If so, you know what you’ve gotta do. Our tests show an online application sweet-spot at somewhere between 15 and 29 required fields–max. Taking your guest-cards and applications and shrinking them down to size can do wonders for your completion rates.
Your website is capable of some really impressive work when it comes to converting leads to leases, but it’s important to remember that you need to treat visitors to your website with as much care and respect as the visitors to your property. Putting regular A/B testing into play and keeping a close eye on your analytics can help you turn clicks into cash more effectively.
Looking for more tips? Join Entrata’s ProspectPortal team and Taryn Silva from Paradigm Management for a free webinar on October 25 with an in-depth discussion, including tips for pitching ideas and website changes to your executive and operations team. We hope to see you there!