I’ve Got an Idea
In the world of content marketing ‘best practices’ are king. We’re as guilty of it as anyone. 7 Top Tips, 13 Best Kept Secrets. And on and on. There are lots of ways to write a best practices article because there’s an almost limitless list of best practices for anything, nothing more than website design. But are they really best practices?
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Website design can be a contradiction. It is complicated and simple at the same time. The are some very simple things you can do like create a simple website, make sure it loads quickly but a lot of best practice emails will suggest more specific tricks and tips than that. But they won’t always work for every type of business.
So what are some common “best practices” that might not actually be best practice?
Remove the Header – Landing pages should be focused on one thing. Conversions. Because of that you will see some advice suggesting that you remove the header from your landing pages. However, doing this can create issues with Google. Google prefers a website to have a navigation bar. So balance which is more important to your site? The SEO juice from your landing pages or a perceived increase in conversions from your landing pages.
CTAs – Put it at the top of the page! Put it at the bottom of the page! Make it orange. Make it green. There is no ideal place to put a call to action. You need to test what works for your website. Try it above the fold, try it below the fold. Test everything and eventually you’ll find something that works.
Popups – Putting a popup on your site can be a good way of getting visitors to take an action. Asking them to sign up to a mailing list, or try a new product, the popup gets in users faces and makes sure they see what you want them to see. But, that doesn’t mean it will work for all companies.
Keep Forms Short – Keeping a form short is logical. Everyone is busy, so let’s try and keep things as simple as possible. Don’t add any extra friction to the conversion process. Short and sweet. Except that isn’t always the case. One of our clients has an extremely successful form that has over 20 sections to fill out on it. This form works because of what it is for, and where it sits in their ‘sales cycle’. If they were asking 20 questions and only offering a PDF of Website Best Tips, it wouldn’t get any submissions. But because it’s for something valuable, users will take the time to fill it in. There’s a time and a place for short forms, and equally, there’s a time and a place for longer forms.
What Not To Do
What’s the moral of this story? Test everything. There aren’t best practices for something as broad as designing a website. There are too many choices you can make so don’t get hung up on doing the ‘right’ thing, because it might not work for you. Do what you think is best. Then come back in 3 months time and change it. Then repeat that step again until the end of time. Done is better than perfect.
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