Tag Archives | websites

How to make your call to action buttons work better

Buttons When I was masterminding at the Ritz recently, Chris Haycock of CliqTo told us how changing the text on a hotel website button increased clicks by 45% in the first ten days. He admits that more influences might be at play, and the long-term results are not yet known.

The original button just said:
Details & availability

The new button includes a calendar icon, and says:
Show availability
Hotel details, map & prices


Before and after

Read the full story on Chris’s website

A 45% increase in clickthroughs in 10 days is pretty impressive. But why is it happening?

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Case study: Launching a new product

Flannel FingersEmily and Dave struggled every time they bathed their young daughters, trying to hold the soap, a flannel (washcloth), and a slippery wriggling child all at the same time.

So they designed some unique bath gloves to make bathtime safer and easier. That’s right. Gloves. Not mitts. They’re made of organic cotton flannel fabric blended with a touch of polyester. So they’re soft, not rough like exfoliating gloves.

They needed an e-commerce website to bring the product to market, so that’s what I created for them, using a simple, friendly and chatty tone of voice* to match the visual branding. I also designed a Facebook header, and am advising on their entire digital marketing campaign.

With my background in home shopping – 18 years at Freemans catalogue – I know how to sell off the page or screen, and writing for B2C retailers is still one of my favourite things.

Launched yesterday, the first orders all went through automatically without a hitch. Phew!

Visit the site at FlannelFingers.co.uk

Who do you know that is launching a new product? I may be able to help them too.

* My favourite style of copywriting


What not to do on your website

Nexus 7“I’m redoing my website,” the caller said. “I’ll probably make it scrollable.”

Do you know what he means by that?

It’s a site designed primarily to be viewed on a tablet or mobile device. It’s usually has a header image, then alternating panels of colour or white that scroll down and down and down.

One of the most common mistakes with scrollable sites is that there is no graphic indicating to users what they should do.

Just as more people cut out a coupon when there is a graphic of scissors along the dotted line with an instruction to ‘cut here’, more people scroll down when there is a down-pointing arrow, with or without a matching instruction.

I wondered whether I ought to make my site scrollable too, so I looked at my Analytics. I found that 95% of my site visitors view it from a desktop device. As that’s the case, I think I’ll leave it as it is. Those scrolling designs are less effective on a desktop or laptop computer.

By contrast, one of my clients gets 58% of traffic from users on mobiles. His is a B2C business, so for him it’s essential that his site is mobile-friendly.

Mine might not be scrollable, but my site IS responsive. The layout and navigation are automatically reconfigured when viewed on a small screen.

What percentage of visitors view your site on a mobile device? Do you need to rethink the format?

People power Continue Reading →


Where most websites go wrong

Printing press

Not the guilty printer

One of my banner printers contacted me to say: “Good news, you don’t have to phone and ask for a quote any more, then wait a couple of days for the email to arrive. We’ve built a new website where you can get instant online quotes.”

Fantastic! I logged on to have a look at the website.

At first glance I was impressed. They had obviously spent thousands on developing this lovely looking site.

Then I realised that, as a user, I had to choose which printing press I wanted them to use, in order to get my quote.

This is sheer madness!

It is the job of the printer to choose which printing press to use. The user only knows they want a banner. They might know what size it is, how many colours, and what the banner says. They might not even know the best size, and would need personal advice from the printer about that.

When I tell my clients this true story, they laugh.

However, lots of websites make the same mistake.

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Website case study: Painter/decorator

Old site


Some years ago, I edited Jamie’s quote letter which increased take-up from 50% to 70%. So he came to me when he wanted to capture email addresses by offering a downloadable colour guide.

He’d built his own website using Joomla (see ‘before’ image), but confessed it wasn’t generating enquiries and he found the interface difficult to use.

I told him WordPress would be a lot easier, that 22% of the world’s websites now use it (including mine), and that we needed to ensure his website would do him justice before we drove traffic to it using social media and the colour guide incentive.

New site


We agreed on a simple WordPress theme, Jamie provided new images and updated information, and I wrote new web copy and structured the site, using tiled galleries to display his work at its best. I then created the downloadable colour guide and added a plugin/widget to capture email addresses.

Jamie will now run a Facebook ad campaign, and we’ll review results in a month.

You can view the site at mintdecor.co.uk.


12 trends in websites

websitesIs your website on trend, or even ahead of the curve? Find out by reading my list of 12 current trends in websites.

1. Content management system (CMS)

A CMS website is one that you can login and update yourself. Most CMS sites include a blog because Google likes fresh content – and so do human beings.

The most common CMS system is WordPress. Almost 20% of the world’s websites are now built using it (mine is). There are two flavours of WordPress – confusingly, both have the same name. Both are free.

WordPress.com is the simplest option. Hosted by WordPress, there are a limited number of themes (templates) you can choose. You can usually customise your theme slightly, but you can’t get at the code to edit it and make your site look exactly how you want. Dot com is great for starter sites.

WordPress.org is the all-singing, all-dancing option. There are an almost infinite number of themes to choose from, as well as masses of plug-ins to add functionality – some are free, some are paid. You download the software, provide your own hosting, and do your own backups and updates (one downside of being popular is that WordPress is often hacked). Dot org is great for professional sites but does need a bit more techie knowledge.

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Is your website losing you business? This guy’s is.

I wanted to buy something particular for the house, so I searched online to find a local supplier.

Website 1 was gorgeous. I visited their (real-life) shop. The site said it closed at 4pm and I got there at 3:45 but found the shutters down. It seems they now close at 3:30 but hadn’t yet updated their opening times online. Rather than risk another wasted trip, I phoned and left a message. No reply so I phoned again. No reply. I emailed. No reply.

I phoned again and finally spoke to the guy. “I’m so busy,” he said, and promised to ring me back that afternoon. He didn’t.

His lovely website has generated so much business he can hardly service it.

Website 2 was ugly. But he answered the phone immediately and offered to fetch what I wanted from his supplier and deliver it to me the same day.

Top tip: Your website forms part of your customer service. Don’t let your website let you down.


What’s the point of your website?

questionSo you have a website, sitting happily in its own little corner of the Internet. Hoorah.

But what’s the point of having a website if no-one ever sees it? It’s not enough to create a website; you also have to drive people to it (that’s why it’s called ‘site traffic’).

Being found by machines

Depending on your business model, you may want to be found on search engines. I’m over-simplifying, but Google is looking for four main things:

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