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Undeniably, websites are powerful marketing tools. They play a crucial role in almost every business's marketing strategy, whether it's a massive global company or a one-person-operation.

That's because websites are pivotal to successful buyer journeys. They offer potential customers a single point for gathering relevant information on products, services, and the company itself. In the case of e-commerce businesses, websites also provide customers an opportunity to buy.

It is hardly surprising that businesses heavily invest in websites. Yet, big investments can often lead to marketers' getting lost in the latest trends and technologies, distracting them from their ultimate goal.

This article explores five elements of your website that may just need rethinking.

Use Your Data First

When assessing which parts of your website may need rethinking, data is the best place to start.

Website data is easy to access. In fact, you are probably already familiar with where you can find data on your own website. Many website builder platforms such as Shopify offer built-in data analytics, whereas other content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress require external plugins—e.g., Google Analytics.

Assessing visitor behavior will help you see which elements of your website are wellused and which are not. That knowledge is a good starting place, but it must be applied in context before reassessing your site.

For each website element, you must ask yourself...

  • Does this element add or detract from our ultimate goal?
  • What would a user do if I were to remove this element?
  • Could I redesign this element to help it perform better?
  • Could I move this element to help it perform better?

For example, you may notice that your contact form is performing poorly. However, removing the form from your site is likely not an option. In that case, redesigning or moving the form would be the best route.

On the other hand, you may notice an element of your website is performing well, but it ultimately detracts from your goal. For example, you may have an external link on your website that takes visitors to a different site to learn more about a specific topic. Although that link may be popular, it is driving traffic away from your site, limiting your ability to convert that visitor into a customer.

Five Website Elements That May Need a Rethink

1. Popups

Popups on websites are a controversial subject.

In theory, popups can be a great way to push important messages and drive crucial actions among your visitors. Yet, in reality, if badly executed, they can be intrusive, disrupting the visitor journey and leading to visitor frustration.

If done correctly, popups can drive desirable results. However, few popups have high conversion rates. In an assessment of over 1.5 million popups, the average conversion rate of the top-performing 10% was 9.3%, whereas most popups had a disappointing 3.1% conversion rate, a study by Sumo found.

Popups need to tick three boxes to be worth keeping on your website:

  1. They promote an action that is highly valuable to your business.
  2. They have a high conversion rate.
  3. They don't have a negative impact on website performance, such as increased bounce rate.

Removing popups from your site can drastically improve the user experience (UX) and help you drive conversions in other, more desirable ways. So, even if they don't meet all three criteria, you should consider removing them.

2. Blogs

Blogs are great for business. They can improve search engine rankings, educate customers, communicate marketing messages, and position you as a thought leader in your niche.

So why would I suggest rethinking your need for a blog on your website?

Because blogs are valuable only if you regularly publish posts that are highly relevant to your niche. In fact, only infrequently publishing on your blog can harm your brand image by making it appear like nothing is going on with your business.

When establishing search rankings, search engines tend to assess content recency and regularity of updates. So, unless you are posting regularly on your blog, your search engine traffic is unlikely to benefit.

If your blog is looking a little empty and your data is telling you that visitors aren't loving it, you need to make a choice between increasing your blog consistency or removing the blog from your site entirely.

3. Contact Forms

Unless your website is built for e-commerce, contact form submissions are probably the most valuable action a visitor can take. Yet, low-performing contact forms will clutter your website and disrupt visitor journeys.

Use website data and contact form submissions to assess which contact forms perform best on your site. You may also experiment with other methods of customer contact, such as providing an email address, listing a phone number, or using direct chat.

Finding communication methods that work well for your customers is a simple improvement that can drastically increase satisfaction and sales.

4. Carousels

It is easy to see the benefits of using a carousel on your website: It allows you to use prime site positions to communicate multiple messages. Yet, in reality, using a carousel can dilute your messaging, making it hard for any single message to be truly heard by visitors.

Only 1% of website visitors click on a header image, a study on the University of Notre Dame websites found. That small percentage was then further diluted through the use of carousels: Most clicked on the first image, and clicks drastically decreased with each image after that.

Those statistics show us that header images typically aren't a good place to drive action.

A better strategy for that section of your website is to deliver simple and clear messaging on what your company offers and why that is beneficial to the reader. That will compel visitors to engage with more of your website, pushing them further through the journey to becoming a customer.

5. Social Media Icons

Social media icons have become super familiar. So familiar, in fact, that we now associate them with entertainment, socializing, and the dopamine hit we receive every time we click on them.

Businesses often include social media links in their website menus to help drive traffic to active social pages where visitors can follow them for updates. However, those icons typically act as super-compelling exit signs, enticing visitors to check out their latest Facebook and Twitter updates.

Because most businesses use their social media to drive traffic to their website, placing social icons in a prominent position to drive traffic back to social media is clearly counterproductive. If your data shows that many website visitors are leaving your site via social media links, try moving them to the website footer—or remove them altogether.

* * *

Websites are valuable, but they need to be frequently tested to ensure continued success. Most marketers spend their time seeking out new elements to add to their websites to drive higher conversions. However, taking the time to assess the applicability and success of your current elements can be a quick and easy way to boost success.

More Resources on B2B Website Elements

B2B Websites: What Visitors Value vs. What Marketers Value

Your Guide to Incredible Landing Pages: 5 Must-Have Elements, 10 Great Examples, 5 Best-Practices

Passive-Aggressive Popups and Other Acts of Marketing Self-Sabotage

Continue reading "Does Your Website Really Need That? Five Elements to Rethink" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Owain Williams

Owain Williams is a content writer, marketer, and agency owner. He is the founder of MAKE IT MANA marketing agency and editor of Better Business Tools online magazine.

LinkedIn: Owain Williams