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Creating a website that sells

Gentleman with a laptop shaking hands in business setting
September, 2022

There are all kinds of websites out there. Some are intended to just be a digital brochure. Others are created with the hopes that it will perform lead generation for the business. Others, such as e-commerce carts, should provide information, interaction and ultimately also transaction.

The million dollar question is: what makes a website good at selling? Because you can invest a great amount of money in designing and developing the site to basically throw the money away if the website doesn’t convert.

In my opinion, websites should become “transparent” to the user. In other words, people don’t often go to websites because of their design or because of their features. Instead they end up in a website because they have a personal need that they want to fulfill. They aren’t concerned with questions such as if the design is contemporary or if it has an analog color palette. They are there to find what they are looking for. They want it as soon as possible, they want it as inexpensive as possible and effective in dealing with their need.

So in a way, the website should be able to disappear behind the intent. The person shouldn’t even notice it. Instead the presentation of the information that they are consuming should be front and center.

When a person goes to a concert, most people are not interested in knowing what wattage they are using for the speakers or how far the projector is from the screen, etc. They are there for the entertainment. In fact, if you start to notice the sound system, or the screen itself, those are signs that the technology is getting in the way of the experience.

Now don’t get me wrong, beautiful design isn’t secondary. In fact, it is essential because of its ability to present the information and the interaction with a particular feeling and emotion. Websites should be well-designed, they should work well and they should be effective for the organization.

What is better a website or a funnel?

So much has been said about websites and how different they are from funnels. You can actually find lots of content on people debating why use one or the other. I see them as the same thing. A good website is always a funnel and a funnel, at its minimum is a one page website.

A website should have a clear goal and help people that are interested in that solution, to find it easily. If a person is browsing for new products, they should be able to easily find them and jump from one page to the other. If they are there for a particular product, they should be able to find and purchase that product quickly, even from their phone.

I think it is best to see a business website as a funnel. At the top you have all traffic, and your intention should be to move them down the funnel until they perform the action you are after.

But what makes a website good at selling?

Strategically speaking, I think that websites that are good a selling have a few components that are always present. Here they are: a very strong brand presentation, they have consistent and effective navigation, they are mobile friendly, they invite people to convert from different parts of the site, they use analytics and they act on those analytics to improve their performance.

Let’s look a bit in detail:

  1. Strong Brand Presentation. When you go to a website for the first time and you find grammatical mistakes, small tweaking of the logos, off-colors or anything that makes you feel off-brand, it will create distrust. If you don’t feel safe, you won’t interact. So the foundation of a good selling website is to have a strong brand representation.
  2. Consistent and effective navigation. The navigation of a website serves the purpose of knowing where you are and where you are going (or could go.) But, when the navigation changes position or even changes items without reasoning, it then becomes useless for its original purpose. Now, you don’t know where you are or where you are going. Same as before, now it creates distrust.
  3. Mobile friendly. We live in a mobile world. Everybody and their mother, literally, are on their phones constantly. Statistics show us that websites are now visited much more from mobile devices that desktops and those visits lead to transactions as well. If your site is not designed for a good mobile experience, it simply can’t perform well.
  4. Calls-to-Action from everywhere. Thanks to search engines, people may arrive at your website to any page, not necessarily to the homepage. And therefore, you may not know where they are starting their journey. If they are in an informational phase, they should be invited frequently to move to a transactional phase. If they are already in a transactional phase, they should find it easy to do so.
  5. Measuring and acting on those measurements. Using analytics is simply not an option. And most business owners know this. What is the problem that I see? Business owners have analytics but they don’t check them. Or they check them but they don’t quickly act on the information they gather. I’ll give you an example: We had a website that had a nice CTA (call to action) in a banner section. It was nice and big, inviting people to convert. When we checked the actual recordings of what people did on the site, we would notice that people where clicking on the button but nothing would happen. They would click again and sometimes just leave. After that we looked at the website and noticed that at certain sizes, a transparent image was interfering with the button and therefore not allow it to be clicked. Immediately, we changed the interaction with the transparent image and obviously fixed the problem right there and then.

If you are looking to improve how your digital media marketing assists your business in growing and thriving we want to hear from you. Contact Merkados today.

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