17 Tips from Amy Africa’s web critique checklist

Amy Africa, at Eight by Eight Marketing, has been involved with website development since its inception. Her thinking is clear, and her advice includes details you can act on now.

Amy did a website critique at a recent NEMOA directXchange conference. Here’s a list of my take-aways from this awesome session. FYI: I was writing so fast my pen was smoking!If you have questions, contact Amy to find out more.

  1. The #1 thing to watch on your site is not conversion, but ADOPTION. Is the customer using your cart, lead form, email address form? Are they letting you know, in some way, that they were on your site?
  2. Look at your entry pages. Where are your visitors coming from? Your site should change based on where they came from. If they are a past customer, you should greet them by name and show product they might like.
  3. In search, you need a good match between what your customer searched for and what you give them. And this means a VISUAL match. Does your future ustomer see the item they want to purchase? If the customer has to stop and think, you may have lost them.
  4. After a VISUAL match, you need a word connect. If a potential customer sees a headline, “Revolutionary Product“ what does that mean to them without having to stop and think? If they are looking for dog poop bags and you show them Pup Pals you may have lost them.
  5. Give your customers an action directive. ALL views should have “Add to Cart” or “Buy It” buttons. Tell them what they are supposed to do on your site. And give them a deadline to create urgency and focus. Have clear instructions, and clear navigation. Navigation is 85% of the success of your website. When a visitor looks at your product, they look at the photo and the Buy Now button. Then they look at the price and any deadlines. Then at alternative photos. Then at the headand subhead. Then at the delivery info.
  6. Customers want to see clear pricing, your guarantee, customer reviews, and upsells/cross sells. They hate tabs and clutter. A video can actually decrease conversion, so you want to be careful how you use them. Reviews should be weighted, not shown by date. The top two should include an excellent and a not-so-excellent review.
  7. Tell your email story right at the top. 50% of the folks on your email list stop reading after the first 2 lines. And mail more. You are only mailing too much if your unsubscribe rate goes up over 2%.
  8. You don’t get new email addresses if you don’t ask for them. Ask in the first view with a pop-up. Give them a reason to email — Ask an expert; ask a question.
  9. Use a temperature bar so the customer can see their progress during checkout.
  10. The FIRST thing you should ask for is the email address, or if the order is mobile, ask for their text #.
  11. Move customers along with a spreader. As soon as they begin the order process, their body is starting to panic. Spreaders = Chat, pop-ups
  12. When a customer goes to your site, they should be able to tell what your top 10% items are. Show visitors things they will want to purchase. 90% of their time is spent looking at the first 6 items that come up. If they come in via mobile, they’ll look at one item.
  13. Most direct marketers have taken off left nav. If you have an older customer, they may still want left nav. When customers click on your nav bar, the drop downsshould not be longer than the bottom of the screen. Edit as needed.
  14. As soon as a customer puts something in a cart, a cart hopper should appear along the bottom of their screen.
  15. You should have a series of trigger emails ready: for abandoned carts, abandoned search, past purchase, abandoned forms. There should be more than one email for each issue, to send out as a series.
  16. Change your creative on a regular basis.
  17. What’s in a good checkout?
    1. Speed is important.
    2. Carts should never expire — ever. If a customer pulls up a cart later and an item is out of stock, offer them an alternative.
    3. Have guest checkout: the customer perceives this as being faster.
    4. Don’t ask irrelevant questions.
    5. Have clear action directives : “Check Out Now” with big buttons to get them to the next step.
    6. Include your phone number on your site so people can ask questions.

Some of these ideas may seem obvious or easy, but try pulling up your website and checking off each item on this list. Whew! So much to do…

If you would like to have your website critiqued by a Catalog University Expert at our next Critique Week submit your site info HERE.

If you would like to have your catalog critiqued by a Catalog University Expert at our next Critique Week submit your site info HERE.

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The Catalog Blog covers opinions and information on all things catalog. Have something to add? Leave a comment below. Catalog University is devoted to helping you get ahead in the fun and fascinating world of catalogs. If you want even more information about cataloging, including FREE Pub Talks, be sure to sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. We will never share your name with 3rd parties.

Janie Downey
Co-founder Catalog University

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