Why Isn’t Anyone Coming to My Web Site
My friend Mills, a set designer, asked me,
â€œWhat do you think of my web site?â€
I figured he was asking me not only as a film producer who hires set designers, but as a person who managed a team of hundreds of people responsible for marketing, design, traffic tracking, conversion, customer acquisition, cross-merchandising and monetization of web real estate for one of the biggest e-commerce sites in the world.
So, I say to Mills,
â€œVery pretty pictures, but hardly anyone will scroll to the right to ever see those pictures.â€
â€œYou see, there are studies upon studies showing that people will scroll DOWN a web page, but not to the right. â€œ
â€œWell, I think it’s pretty.â€
You THINK based on what data? Did you find some data up your butt?
That is not THINKING; it is metaphysics. It is an invention out of whole cloth from your ego.
Sure, you are an artist. Or at least a craftsperson. Often when you do your most successful work, you are driven by an instinct, or knowledge so deeply embedded that you could not explain it. And sure, many times your work is lovely. Or shocking. Or haunting. Or whatever the director wanted.
But, Mills, you are NOT a business person. And a web site is NOT about pretty design. It is about BUSINESS. Getting business, attracting business. A web site is not a film set. It is a sales tool.
So, Mills, when you ask a business person what they think about your web site as a tool for selling you (you, the artistic set designer, are simply the product in this case), you really should take that business person’s advice.
Making sales on the web is very much a science, not so much an art. Everything is measureable. You can find these metrics on your own or you can hire somebody like me to tell you. But when I’m your friend and I tell you for free how to improve your web site, please don’t ignore me. It pisses me off. Then I write about you in my blog.
Everything is measurable
- One can find (or conduct) studies that show how many or how few clicks the consumers prefer to make before a purchase is deducted from their credit card.
- Or before they get to the pictures of your portfolio or before they get a little form to contact you.
- There are studies (or one can do one’s own A/B test) to show whether consumers scroll to the right or down or both or neither.
- There is data (or you can generate your own on your own site) about how image or button placement affects behavior and conversion. At Amazon, for instance, we were able to measure the effect of moving an actionable image by as little as 1 pixel in any direction: moving the actionable images resulted in a measurable change in consumer behavior. Not just clicking, but buying.
- There are studies (or you can do your own tests) that show which color combinations lead to conversion and which only lead to browsing. In your case, Mills, conversion is a phone call to meet with the production manager.
- There is information on how often a home page layout should change to keep visitors returning (if this is important to your business.)
There are gazillions of discussions and papers devoted to how in every way your web site can be a better sales tool for you.
So, Mills, please, please, the correct business response to â€œwhat do you think of my web site?â€ is not â€œIt’s pretty,â€ or â€œIt’s not pretty,â€ or â€œI like it,â€ or â€œI don’t like it.â€
The correct response is: â€œThe layout will elicit such-and-such response from your clients,â€ or â€œWe should study or test how the placement of the artistic elements best helps you get phone calls,â€ or â€œYou are wasting your time & money on this-n-that.â€
Even if you don’t listen to my advice, dear friend, or don’t hire me, please spend a few bucks to hire someone whose profession it is to make web sites work.
Or don’t bother having one.