James Clear hosted a webinar by marketing copywriter D. Bnonn (say “Non”) Tennant last Tuesday titled 10 simple changes you can make to your site to increase online sales. I didn’t know Bnonn, author of Attention Thievery, but I’ve trusted James’s unassuming nature and practical advice on increasing freelance (and any business) income for months. I wasn’t able to attend the webinar live, but I asked James for a link to the recording and received one from the man himself within fifteen minutes. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been impressed by his response time, and I don’t know how he does it.
As I listened to Bnonn’s friendly, savvy delivery of each point (his accent kept bouncing between British and Australian to me, but I was way off: he’s a South African living in New Zealand), I kept switching screens to my own website and noting the things I could do myself right that moment–or any moment. Some things I started doing immediately, and in all there were five changes I think you can also make immediately. So I changed up the title a bit and here they are.
Images. “If your images are not supporting your copy, then they’re distracting your reader from your copy,” says Bnonn. Make people want to find out what’s going on when they see the image. And the only way to do that is to read what you wrote. So make the connection clear. Also, try to place them to the right side of the screen so they don’t push the margin uncomfortably over (insert high-speed video of me frenetically shifting photos on blog posts).
Navigation. Please don’t make people guess what’s behind the door marked “Campfire” and what’s behind the door marked “Matchbook” on your indie film site. They won’t. They will run screaming (I have). Use conventional nomenclature like “Home,” “About,” “Products,” etc. for the main pages. You can get cute on the “extra” pages where people go to really get to know you.
Headlines. Most people have far more confidence in the effectiveness of their content than that of their headlines. Introduce elements of specificity, helpfulness, immediacy, newsworthiness, or entertainment. Try tweaking a headline on a page or blog post, adding one of these attention-getting elements, and share it. See what happens.
Call to action. I ranted about the lack of calls to action on websites last week, and Laura Click wrote the answer to the question I begged this week. A few tips Bnonn added: remember that people don’t come to your site wanting to buy, so gradualize your call to action. Try asking them to learn more about your offer, with specific benefits. Incidentally, large orange “Click Here” buttons test best. I thought, I’m good, mine are red, right next to orange–“red tests badly.” Ohhhhh… They’re silver now.
Footer. You know how you scroll down to the bottom of a site when you can’t seem to find the customer service page or address at the top? I thought it was just me, but apparently not. Put your entire navigation and contact information in your footer. It gives people confidence in your existence as a “real” establishment. Formatting all the links in this theme just didn’t go well for me so I took out everything but my contact info. I’ll be trying it again soon.
Bonus: On the typography front, Bnonn confirms my triumphant post that sans-serif is not “more readable” than serif font, contrary to popular belief. So go nuts. But not with Courier, he says, because it looks uneven since the letters are all the same width.
You can sign up to have the link to the hour-long webinar delivered to your email here. Although there are ten categories, each gets a fair share of attention, and there are some great questions and answers at the end.
Thanks to James Clear for hosting the webinar and giving me the permission to sum it up here, and thanks to D. Bnonn Tennant for making these tips easily applicable to all kinds of businesses with websites. Follow James and Bnonn on Twitter.
Enter your email to get random special notes from me about marketing copy, language, and grammar you can put to work as soon as you read them. It’s not a newsletter–it’s your chance to pull me aside for answers to your own questions, too!