5 Things to stop doing on your website right now to make it more profitable, and what to do instead.
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5 Things that you can get rid of right now, on your website to make it more engaging and more modern.
We are talking about your website today. I’ve been chatting with some entrepreneurs and they’ve been asking: What are things to update, or spruce up, or make an update, or make more modern for my website?
If you’ve built your website any more than two years ago, maybe even just 12 months ago. There’s probably old school tactics processes and things you’ve been doing on your website and we want to fix that today.
Five things that you can get rid of right now, on your website to make it more engaging and more modern updated and in tune with what’s happening in the landscape of the internet.
You might be surprised at some of these. First up is going to be remove, wait for it, your social icons! What?! Cue record scratch! Errrrrrch! Yeah.
So, most folks are quite proud of their. Well, maybe proud or embarrassed about their social but if you’re putting your social on there, you’re probably proud of it right. You want people to go look at it. However, what’s the point of your website? The whole point about social is to engage people where they are. But then, like the goal of it is to get them off social into your world. And your world is your website. When you go from the social world, to your website you want to get them into your ecosystem and engage them. A couple of the things I’m going to talk about today are ways to do that we use to engage them.
That’s why I picked and put this first because it’s counterintuitive. People go “I want people to see me!” But here’s the thing here’s the nut: In a staring contest, who’s gonna win?
Have you ever had staring contest with kids or one of those blink contest? So who’s gonna win here? Social is gonna win every time. So what you’re doing when you put those social icons, and there’s a popular app because I see it on tons of people’s sites, I don’t want to say who it’s from but you probably know, and it puts those social icons wherever you scroll on your website it just locks them right there. Are you kidding me?!
Here’s the reason why. Then we get to it, social platforms have been created to cause, I’m going to use a powerful, maybe controversial word here, but you’ll get it, it’s "addiction". We are all and I’m gonna include myself and I’m not a very social guy on social media, I’d rather be IRL like in real life. But those social media sites are meant to be addictive. And in a staring contest between your website and those little icons that are sitting off to the side, your visitors to your site are going to go to those websites those social sites those other little eye-candies that you are prominently presenting on your website.
What’s the point? You’ve got them to your ecosystem and your website. You want to keep them there, not entice them away. Because in their mind, psychologically they’re thinking, I really need to go to Facebook and check that post that I just did to see if somebody liked it yet, or just see if someone’s commented, or to see… Oh, I haven’t checked Instagram for a while and I see the Instagram icon right there, right. You’re immediately, taking them out of your ecosystem, not a good idea.
So, what to do instead? Put them down in your footer and change the colors to make them greyed out. Just saying. If you want them available, make them available. If they seek it, let them find it. But don’t dangle it out there to satisfy any addiction they have. Because in that staring contest, the social sites are gonna win every.single.time!
So put them down in your footer grey them out, or put them in the color of one of your accent colors, or a main color of your website so it kind of blends in. You’re not trying to hide it. You’re just trying to mute it, make it available if they’re seeking it. If they wonder where there’s this person’s Facebook or where’s your Instagram? I wonder where it is, are they gonna go? They’re gonna scroll to the footer and say hey, people usually put stuff down in the footer and Oh, there it is! There’s the social. I’m curious what their feed looks like okay great. They decided on their own to go seek it out, versus you dangling the carrot of that social thing that’s ever present wherever they scroll. It just stays there. Not cool. Not good for you and your website or your ecosystem.
Number 2: Here’s another distraction in the same vein. I just see this all the time, videos that you have on your website, that you may have on your YouTube channel, that you haven’t unchecked, the suggested video thing, right. So it’s in the same vein of video viewers. It plays. Awesome. It’s great you talk about something on your page that’s relevant that’s right there. And then at the end of it, boop, boop boop, boop, boop. Oh, look at this?! Cat videos. Oh look it! Like, it fills with the typical, because that’s YouTube’s purpose is to get more eyeballs on to videos and serve up more videos. There’s 6, 8,10, 12 video selections that are complete distractions from the moment you just create it in their mind psychologically.
You have them on a, maybe it’s a landing page. Maybe you’re explaining something about how to get started with you? Maybe it’s one of your signature offers and they’ve gotten to the point on your website and discovered and they’re looking at this explainer video that you’ve got awesome! Great! They’re in your ecosystem, in your world… and the video ends. And then they have 15 other choices of distraction. Whooosh! They’re gone.
In their mind, they’re gone. And they have to pull back from, again I’m going to use a strong word an “addiction” of clicking on something else, instead of staying in your ecosystem and following through to that next step. Your conversions just tanked!
What to do instead? What to do instead is, on that video that you’ve brought into your ecosystem, that you have on your YouTube channel, you’ve grabbed the embed code to put it on your site or your web designer person has done that. What you need to do is have them, uncheck in the YouTube world, the link, not the link but the checkbox that says “present suggested videos”. They need to uncheck that first, which changes the embed code. And then grab that code, and put that as an embed code on your website to stop that from happening.
The result. When you come to the end of that video, it’s just a blank black screen. Nice! The person has just stayed in your ecosystem. Everything you just explained is still washing in their brain and kind of rolling around in there and just on top of mind for them. And then they’ll scroll or whatever you have happening on your website next will happen. So uncheck that box before you grab the embed code
Number three: This one, not quite as… I’m not quite as intense about but it just shows up so much: stock photos. Sure, we want to show a photo and photos are good to have on your website but particularly about people. Stock photos with people in them. We want to have our sites, our website ecosystem with visuals, and photos are a great way to do it and stock photo companies take lots of pictures to do that. However, it’s not authentic. People see it like a mile away. And they see, oh, stock photo.
And what I’m going to suggest here, what to do instead? Don’t be so lazy. Put more effort into what you have as visuals on your site. Just a little more effort can go a long long way on creating a more authentic experience, a more warm experience, a more relevant and intuitive experience to what your content is and what you’re trying to accomplish on your site what you’re doing there. So, stay away from the stock photos, particularly with the people in them. All those folks with those posed larger than life smiles with all models set up, folks in the background, someone in the foreground. Right. Get more creative. Put a little more effort in.
Number four is: dead-ending thank-you pages. I compare this to, in older days when we use business cards instead of digital versions of connecting with folks. Whenever some give me a business card, not immediately to be so obvious about it, but I would flip it over to glance and see if they use the real estate on the back of the business card. It’s 90% of the time a blank page. Of that 10%, 8% more folks do some kind of cheesy thing on the back that’s over the top salesy. Because those are the types that have had the creativity to do something back there. And then there’s 3 maybe 5% of folks that use it well. Tastefully, right. Be a person that uses these opportunities on your website tastefully… that are similar to the back of the card.
10:11 So here’s an example. When someone fills something out there’s usually some kind of success-indicator that your site will do. Your programmer will put in place or that you’ve put in place if you’re DIY’ing do it yourself. Get more resourceful with this. So similar to the last one. Don’t be so lazy here. So, with the stock photos, don’t be lazy put a little more effort in. And the same thing here. When someone fills out a form, and sometimes it’s just the word success, or successfully submitted, or, Thank you, right. Just this little indicator might pop up. Do more with it than that.
For example, go to literally an entire thank you page. This is the equivalent of doing something meaningful and tasteful and useful as putting something on the back of a business card. So create a thank you page. Get an explainer video on there, spend more time with the eyeballs. People that have come to your website. A little explainer video of you saying: “thank you for filling out my newsletter form (my opt in form). “It’ll be coming to you soon. “Here’s a couple things to do. “Move it out of spam.” Like have a little description of how to get it out of a spam folder and then… present another offer.
Don’t make it cheesy. Add more value. Say hey, here’s another free thing. Maybe do that right. Maybe he just signed up for some free PDF or a report or something that you have. That’s pretty typical. A freemium. A lead magnet. These types of things are used. Have another page that’s the landing page that’s the thank-you for filling this out. And, oh, I wanted to give you… add something else. Maybe do a 10 minute video right there on that thank-you page, the little explainer is like a 60 second… Hey, look at this thing below. But there is also this thing that I also gave you. Maybe it’s training on the PDF. If they’re interested in the PDF, they’re probably interested in the training. And then in your email, put a link to that [page] as well. Link back to this web page that has the 10 minute, 12 minute, the 7 minute, whatever it might be, instruction that adds more value that walks them through that PDF.
It adds more value. Your reputation your goodwill will ratchet up. You just gave them more free stuff. I’ve seen tastefully, folks will do an offer on that thank-you page. Don’t waste the opportunity to engage and connect with people more with these dead end thank-you pages. Other places that you can use it on your site just look around and see where are these dead end streets? Cul-de-sacs. Threads that go nowhere on my site where I can Oh, flip that into a page. Do a little explainer video. Talk about getting my free thing! Talk about getting your latest offer. Whatever it might be.
Number five: I’m going to talk through two more, I’ll do a bonus one for number six. So number five is: long paragraphs.
I see this, so often. And what I find is the challenge here is you as a business owner will write out copy for a page, and then you’re giving it probably to someone in your team. And yes, they’ve loaded it up on your site. Yes it’s there. However, it is difficult to sort through think a little more of the psychology of folks hitting a wall of text. Boom.
Here’s this wall of text that they’ve just hit. We scroll. We’re used to social sites where we scroll through with a thumb. On websites we scroll and we move forward quite quickly. And we process information really fast, and to slow… down… and to stop… and have to read… through… tons of paragraphs. [Ugh!] I’m guilty of that. And I’m conscious of not doing that on my websites. I’m a DIY’er. I built my own sites. If you go to TomBirchall.com or TheProfitableMaverick.com, I’ve built it all myself.
What I try to do is create space. I learned this from a few places, I’ve got an advanced psych degree. I specialized in cognition, how people process information. And I know that that is a challenge cognitively for people to hit a wall of text and try and synthesize it all. So, create whitespace.
Here’s what to do instead: add whitespace. Either you yourself, or have your team do it. Be more conscious. Tell them, add more headers. Do more bulleted lists. Create more whitespace visually on the page so that, here’s the phrase: the words and the text can “breathe”.
What that does is gives a little mental breather of being able to consume and follow along as you look down that website and follow the words and the headings. And one thing will lead them to the next. And they will want to move forward with it. I know some academics, lawyers, are terrible for text. They are used to text. They live in text. They document everything. They are reading documents all the time. Their websites are usually just document-rich. It’s just all a wall of text. I mean, you can see it there, right? Well, no!
You could have five headers inside that wall of text there but you [only] have one at the top. That needs to be spread out. Broken down. More whitespace put in. So that’s long paragraphs.
Number six, I’m going to do as a bonus. And this one is not, everybody has these, it’s becoming a little more popular but: testimonial pages.
So testimonies are fantastic and good. However, again, here’s this challenge and I think this is where it happens. Is business owners will give their team or their web designer, here’s my testimonials, and they go, Hmmm, I’m thinking SEO. I’m thinking practical. I’m thinking it’d be great just to have these all in one spot! So they make a testimonial page. Oh my gosh, nobody’s gonna look at it. Why would they? Just to… self-promoting. Hey you’re wonderful kind of thing? Which testimonials are… but you made a page on your website that’s actually a testimonial page? Doing that people are gonna go Yeah, no.
What to do instead: intersperse them throughout your site. And this leads to another bonus-bonus. I’m going to add this to the conversation here: advertising of your own stuff on your own site. Okay, errrrch, cue record scratch. What?! That too is getting lost in the noise.
People are attuned psychologically and cognitively to ignore ads. Banner ads. Widget ads on the side. I keep putting my hand up kind of like I’m picturing the computer screen, and the interface, and then the ads, off to the right, right. Or down at the bottom.
What to do instead is: make them native, in your experience. If it’s on a blog post, just talk about it in your text of what your offer is that you might want to have an ad for. Just talk about it in a paragraph as it naturally comes up in the conversation of what you’re posting about. And then have a link to it. Make it native, inherent, a part of your content.
If you’ve got a landing page that is offering out a freemium that you have. As you’re dialoguing about it your other offers are naturally going to come up in it. Which is the point of the lead magnet right. Just talk about it. Put a link to it. Maybe you want to have an inline, a little, possibly a banner, but make it subtle not flashy and overt, make it more covert, just naturally occurring inside your text.
So that’s where testimonials can be done as well. And what to do with testimonials is, there’s a number of plugins if you’re a WordPress person and most folks are, or find out whatever your platform is that hosts your site of how to do this. There’s a number of WordPress plugins out there that are managing testimonials. And you can go and tag them for different topic areas. And then on your different articles you can configure that plugin to say, Well, at any time show three testimonials, in this spot right here. So you might have an article or a blog post or something that you’re talking to, or training about, and you want some testimonials.
You can configure it to have six show up, or two show up. And whenever you’ve tagged them in the back office with kind of in the background, they will show up there. That plugin will either rotate them, or as you tag them and organize and put some effort into your testimonial experience, those testimonials will show up in different spots on your website. As you configure it to do. And in this way it’s more natural occurring thing. It’s timely. Because it’s relevant right into that spot in that moment where the person was wondering about Oh, should I be picking up on this offer that they’re talking about, or not, Oh, a little testimonial there. There’s some social proof! Fantastic!
Versus forcing them to go to a separate testimonial page, and just get lost. I’ve seen some people put like dozens and dozens. They’re wanting to make this impression with the impact of their testimonies of, like, hundreds. Scrolling page. That just goes on forever. Really?! Like I’m gonna go to that page? I don’t know. Nice archive. Great monument to how great you are. But I’m gonna say: don’t do it. Don’t have a testimonial page. Catalogue them all. Curate them all. Tag all those. Stick them into a plugin, and have the plugin manage and curate all that information: all those testimonials. And have them showing up in appropriate places that is native similar to that other example I gave of having ads. Have them native in context of what you’re doing.
Well that wraps it up. I’m going to do a speedy summary of what we just talked about here.
We’er talking about things to remove from your website to give it an update and the first one was social icons. You are going to lose a staring contest with eyeballs that have come to your page between social media and your site. The point of social is to get them off social into your ecosystem in your world. You want to keep them there, not entice them away and have them think about social things. So put your social icons down in your footer, and even get rid of the color just make them the same color as what is on your website. If they want to get them they’re there.
Number two: disable the suggested video players situation when you have a YouTube video or whatever platform use maybe it’s Wistia or Vimeo or whatever it might be. Make sure you uncheck the suggested videos checkbox before you grab the embed code. That’s the key thing to tell your developer or to do yourself.
Number three: stock photos. Stop using them. Get more creative, resourceful particularly the ones with people in it, because they’re usually models and that’s not authentic.
Number four: dead-end thank you pages or successful submission pop-ups. Do something else. Get more creative with that. Actually create another landing page with a little explainer video. A 60 second comment by you saying hey, thanks for submitting that. Maybe it’s an email confirmation go into your email inbox, make sure that you pull it out of promos and put it in your regular one. And oh, by the way, that PDF I just delivered to you. I’ve got a 10 minute training on it right below this explainer video. Have a look at that. I just wanted to help and serve and support.
Number five: long paragraphs. Don’t present walls of texts. What to do instead is to get whitespace happening. Use more headers. Use more bulleted or numbered lists. Break up your content so it’s more easily digestible and people will continue to move forward with it deeper and longer and engage with it more.
And the bonus one number six: testimonial pages. Don’t have a separate page for testimonials, although it might be practical or ego stroking thing to do. As a monument to yourself. Stop it. Intersperse your testimonials through your content in appropriate places where it makes sense to have that social proof popping up. And people will consume it then and there. It’s appropriate when it’s available like that.
The last piece is if you want to be a guest on the podcast reach out to me let me know and we can get you on the show. That’s all from me for today, keep moving forward with your website. Make it a beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing that is your ecosystem. Bye for now.
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