Why spend hours and thousands of dollars redesigning your website from scratch when someone has already done the work for you?
Millions of businesses turn to website templates to make the design process more efficient. But there’s something almost no one is talking about and it’s a big problem.
Website templates are not optimized for conversions.
Sites that don’t work, don’t convert.
That’s why optimizers conduct quality assurance on sites, landing pages, test treatments, email campaigns, you name it—to make sure they work the way they’re supposed to.
While it’s common knowledge that quality assurance is something you should do, not enough optimizers complete it properly. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many sites that just plain don’t work.
What’s user experience (UX) got to do with conversions? Everything.
There’s no denying that your homepage is vital to your site, especially if you’re a SaaS company. It’s likely one of your most visited pages, acting as a proverbial launch pad.
While you read about optimizing individual landing pages day in and day out, optimizing homepages is less frequently explored. Do the same old rules from 2010 still apply? Are people still visiting and using homepages they same way they were a decade ago?
Several years ago, Jeremy Smith wrote, “Traditional optimization is dead, and in its place is arising a brave new world of mobile conversion optimization.”
I have to disagree. Is mobile conversion optimization a “brave new world”? Yes. Is traditional optimization “dead”? Not by a long shot.
Traditional (i.e. web) optimization and mobile optimization are two separate practices, requiring two separate strategies. One is not replacing the other. Instead, optimizers must learn to master both.
One of my favorite UX quotes comes from Chikezie Ejiasi, UX lead at Nest.
He wrote: “Life is conversational. Web design should be the same way. On the web, you’re talking to someone you’ve probably never met—so it’s important to be clear and precise. Thus, well-structured navigation and content organization goes hand in hand with having a good conversation.”
Can tabbed navigation be clear and precise? Of course it can, which makes it a valid form of navigation and content organization. What matters, as with most things related to UX, is how you implement it and how you optimize it.
Have you ever forgotten a password for a site? What about a security question?
Have you ever spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to think of a password you can remember, but also complies with a list of arbitrary requirements (e.g., seven uppercase letters, four special characters, etc.)?
When these UX problems pop up, they cause friction.
Friction that prevents new SaaS customers from signing up, friction that prevents loyal eCommerce customers from creating an account for next time, friction that prevents current customers from accessing their accounts.
In 1999, David Weinberger, a technologist and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, wrote, “Personalization: the automatic tailoring of sites and messages to the individuals viewing them so that we can feel that somewhere there’s a piece of software that loves us for who we are.”
Two decades later, ironically, personalization is being used by companies attempting to make the online experience more human.