Call To Actions Need To Result in Action

The call to action (CTA) is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to e-commerce. It’s relatively easy to design an attractive page, and you can write great content that gets people pumped. At the same time, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is if your CTA falls flat. If you are having a hard time getting people to buy your product, then use these tips for a better CTA.

call to actions

photo credit: hiddedevries via photopin cc


Make it Distinguishable

Your CTA needs to be distinguishable. Most websites are using CTA buttons so that users know exactly where to click to buy, sign up or do anything else that you need them to do. If you want people to perform an action, then make the CTA button easy to see.

For example, if you have a red website, then make the CTA button blue or yellow. It needs to contrast so that users know exactly what to click.

Use a Consistent Design

You also need to keep the design consistent throughout your website. If the CTA button looks different on each page, then users might get confused about what they need to click. Keeping the design consistent in terms of color and shape will improve the number of users that click the button. It will also keep users from getting confused.

Active Phrases

The CTA button needs to have an active phrase so that users know what to do. Many novice Webmasters write “Click Here,” but this can kill your click-through rate. You need to be more descriptive than this. It lets people know what to expect when they click the button, and an active phrase will persuade more people to buy from you.

For example, you can use “Download Now,” “Get Started,” “Sign Up Here” or “Show Me More.”

Multiple CTA Buttons

You might feel a little pushy if you put multiple CTA buttons on one page, but this can actually help you under certain conditions. If your Web page is long, then some users won’t want to scroll all the way down to find the CTA button. Some users want to buy now, but they don’t know how to go forward.

You should have at least one CTA button above the fold, and then another under a long page of text. This makes your CTA button more visible and accessible, and it should improve your click-through rate.

Use Every Page

Most users will skim through all of your pages before deciding to buy your product. The key to improving your sales online is to make the sales process easy for customers. If you add the CTA button to just one page, then some users may forget where it is. These users will just leave to find another seller.

Conclusion

Many website owners don’t know how to properly make and position their CTA, but you need to learn this quickly if you want to improve your conversion. Just use a good design that contrasts your website, make it easy to find and use active phrases. These few tips on a proper CTA should help you sell more products or services.

How do you use call to actions on your website? Please leave a comment below!

I LOVE My Website (Part 1 of 7)

Every business owner wants to say, “I love my website!” Thankfully many do, but sadly some don’t. On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your website love?

what to love for your website

In my experience with clients, and in talking with numerous business owners, I’ve narrowed down 7 things you need to love in order to truly love your website. You need to love how it looks, love the way it works, love its ability to serve your business, love how secure it is, love using it and love how much your visitors love it. You also need to LOVE your website designer!

Part 1 – Love how it looks

Professional Design

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” -Steve Jobs. When I was choosing a name for my web design company I choose ArtSci Designs to reflect both sides of professional design.

I had some fun trying to turn it in to a dictionary definition.

ArtSci (art-see) adjective
1. the state of being in which a thing is simultaneously appealing to the visual senses and fully effective in it’s technical aspect
2
. harmonious fusion of creativity and organization
3. fun and functional
Origin: 21st Century Geek.

Here are a few things to ask yourself, or your website designer: Is my website designed to work well with all modern browsers? Are we using table-less design with well coded html and CSS styling? Does the overall design work well with the page content? This list could go on and on.

Your Company Logo

Can you picture the logos of these companies? Apple, Nike, Bank of America, UPS, Amazon, PayPal and WordPress? These companies have logos that we remember. Does your company have a memorable logo or signature graphic? Developing one is not an easy task, and if you need help with this there are some great logo design companies who can assist you.

Color Theory 101

website colour“Color is so powerful – it creates emotional impact, makes your designs more memorable and even makes a statement about what your brand stands for.” – Erin Ferree, Brand Style Design.

Whether you are simply adding colored text to an image or creating a new color scheme for your brand or website, a better understanding of color theory and the importance of color will serve you well.

Does your business “own” a color? When we think about the companies above with memorable logos, we can also envision the colors used in their branding.

I think the emotional impact that color can make is fascinating! Here is a short list of colors and feelings associated with them. We all have our favorite colors when it comes to home decor or how we dress, and it is important to consider more than personal preference when selecting business colors. You can read more about the meaning of color at the Color Wheel Pro website.

  • Red: Passion, Love, Anger
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
  • Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
  • Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
  • Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
  • Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
  • Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
  • Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
  • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity

A Match Made in Heaven

Have you ever known someone who was color-blind, or with little fashion sense, who just couldn’t seem to put the right colors together? The human eye seems to just “know” when certain colors look right together.

From Art 101, you may recall the color wheel. Harmonious color schemes are those where the colors are equally spaced around it. You don’t have to guess which colors to use together. There is a mathematically relationship between those that “belong together.” I think it’s really awesome how so many colors found together in nature are also a perfect match mathematically.

Thankfully, we don’t have to pull out our calculators or actually “do math” here because there are several free, fun and easy to use tools online that do the hard work for us. Many of them will help you develop a perfect color scheme from either a starter color or an image. Here are some of my favorites:

Cheri’s Short List of Online Color Tools

Images and Graphics

A webpage with some images on it is certainly more interesting to look at than one that’s simply text. If a picture is “worth a thousand words,” then we need to be sure those 1000 words are saying the right thing. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing images for your website.

  • Tone – Know when to use serious, playful or humorous ones.
  • Uniqueness – Be careful with stock images. Customize them.
  • Relevance – Make sure that your image supports your written content.
  • Audience – Choose images your website visitors can relate to.
  • Image Rights – Always check licensing information.

Sources for stock images:

Font and Typography

website typographyThe day my family came home and found me watching a movie on Netflix called “Helvetica” that I was totally enjoying was one of those days that confirmed that I really am a geek!

Earlier this year Smashing Magazine published an article called, “Typography Guidelines And References” that compiled several of their posts on this topic. If you want to learn more, I suggest reading it. Or, you could watch “Helvetica” and post a movie review!

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is not to mix and match fonts. Choose one font you will use consistently across your website. A common exception to this rule is using different fonts for page titles and headlines.

If you haven’t explored Google fonts yet, check them out! They are “easy” to add to your website and open up a whole new realm of possibility. Caution: these can take as much time playing with as the color scheme tools.

Website Love…

My goal at the end of all web design projects is for our clients to say, “Wow, Cheri, I LOVE my website!” If you aren’t feeling enough website love, we’d be glad to help you. The first step is to request a Website Checkup.

What do you love about the look of your website? Please leave a comment below!

Web Presence and Visibility: Duende “Having Soul”

VISIBILITY: Part 1 – Web Presence

“What is a website?” We can all agree that very few people are running around asking this today? It has become an essential component to our business plan but not so far back there were discussions as to what the World Wide Web was and if it was even possible to use it as an effective tool for our marketing (sound familiar?). Things seem to need to be validated through time and a process to become mainstream but some know right from the onset that certain medias are powerful and they have that insight into directing a successful strategy. Web presence is critical in your strategy but what that presence should reflect is often a mystery.

In prior SteamFeed posts I have discussed the overall different facets that comprise your marketing strategy [Shaping Your Branded Sphere], and solutions on building it out from the branding foundation, [Brand Strategy and Development: Yes You Have Homework!]. The next step is to consider your visibility within your marketing sphere and how that brand should translate effectively in that environment.

Three main aspects of this visibility encompass: Web Presence (part 1), Engagement (part 2) and Search (part 3). Let’s focus first on Web Presence, since this is really the first step that should be undertaken after you mastered your brand development and strategy.

The Web Presence Helix – 5 Effective Elements:

1. Brand Positioning on Your Site – Implementing a strong branded image, message and storyline to your website is singularly the most key part of the process you should consider. This includes placement, location and consistency of the brand within the site. Plus how all the other images, content and functionality support this development and strategy. How your audience connects and the experience they have when they interact on the site. It needs to promote your target audience’s attitude or influence with the brand. They need to become connected with the story the brand is sharing on the site. The preferred word here is ‘sharing’. If you are creating the site to push it out to your audience you can basically guarantee the same response back. Remember the old story of the battle between the sun and the wind and the man with the overcoat. The wind boasted it could get the man to remove his jacket by force and challenged the sun. The man only closed his jacket tighter with every forceful gust from the wind while the sun emitted its rays to allow the man to remove his jacket on his own. Just remember to apply this same methodology of audience partnership with your brand on your site. After all it is the customer’s experience, not yours.

2. Intuitive Over Design – I know many fantastic designers who in their effort to create phenomenal design work just completely lost the audience. Very often fantastic design choices have to be overruled because the audience would not be able to follow. You want them to follow and better yet to lead. Create the navigation the way they would intuitively use it. Don’t make your audience have to think. Don’t decide to trail blaze by being cleaver here, either. Be cleaver where it counts. Be cleaver in how you deliver the solutions to your audience’s pain by bringing awareness to product(s) or service(s). Structure should be simple and a site needs to reflect simplicity as well. Your audience whether they are saying it out loud or not wants ‘what they want, where they want it’. Please stop trying to make them jump over hurdles to get it. If they expect a tire swing don’t pretend that consistently offering them a tree house makes it better. Give them what they want in simple means. Color supports the brand development and strategy not the other way around. Images support the customer’s needs not the company’s needs. The key element in this category is “direct me” (the customer) simply where I need to go (your call-to-action) and remove the hurdles. I rather see a very simple site than one all dressed up with bells and whistles that just flat out frustrates the customer.

3. Content Where Your Audience Wants It – People don’t read! Yes I said it and I mean it. Oh sure we all say we read but what we really mean is we only read what we are interested in and at the exact moment we have the attention to read it. Keeping that in mind don’t write something ad nauseam and expect your audience has the staying power to get through it. They have to have the time, interest and focus to get through it so make it digestible. Dice it up in mini content pieces based on your target audience’s tolerances. This holds true for all industries, for example, if you are creating a site for NASA astronauts perhaps a more in-depth content scope is called for but even then be considerate of your reader. If they are researching the outer limits of a new galaxy don’t have them read the doctorial input from some other category that has little relevancy to the information they are after. You may offer parallel material as it becomes relevant but offer it as a side navigation or brief call-to-action link without impeding their journey to the material they are after.

4. Location, Location, Location – True in real estate and even the high premium real estate (layout) on your site. Where does the brand logo go? Where should I place the opt-in field (newsletter/email sign-up) and where do those social media network links belong? These all have designated areas and real estate being what it is should feature each one contained within “hotspots” on your site. Can you deviate? Sure you can but why are you? Are you affording your audience a better option based on a marketing strategy? Or do you just want a more pleasing design layout. Location trumps all aspects of the other elements listed above, believe it or not and many studies have been done to prove this. Just by reviewing search engine optimization statistics you can see how much location really does matter. So here are the big ones to consider:

    a. Brand mark in the top header portion of the site preferably but not exclusively to the left-hand side.
    b. Opt-in field preferably positioned in the top right-hand side of the site. It can also be added just above the header for differentiation.
    c. Social media network links close to and if possible under the opt-in field. This would be within the top right-hand side of the site as well.
    d. Engagement content (tagline, messaging and transition slides or static support images) below brand mark and reading from left to right. It is not effective forcing the opposite direction (right to left) just to say you made an impact. Giving a negative impact is not supportive impact.

5. Adding “Duende”- This is the part that most sites leave out. They have the technical end structured well and the simplicity of the site with carefully thought out content but they forget the “duende”! What is “duende”? Just as it was mentioned in the title, it is in essence ‘having soul’, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity. It is that element that grabs you and yet you really can’t put your finger on it but you know you just experienced something special. This is the creative piece, the one that needs to start on the landing page and be consistently threaded throughout the site. It does not need to hit you over the head. It needs to be somewhat subtle but strongly presented. It can be represented as imagery, messaging or a tagline. It usually stems from your brand strategy and development, so look to that first. This is where those design types can get crazy with their creative on the site. What is the audience looking to emotionally connect with? How do they feel when they experience it? How do they believe it values them? The bigger brands get it when executing in their other marketing channels but not always on their site. They are so focused on functionality they miss adding in that “duende” experience. Functionality is important, simplicity is effective but having soul brings it to a whole other level.

Web Presence is by far the one task item you must have on your list of marketing objectives. Let’s direct our intentions to reflect that human component and keep it part of the equation, our website DNA so to speak. Build upon each element to create a fruitful web presence that builds visibility for your brand. While remembering that soul always captures engagement and with that admission, “duende” soul connects us to each other!

… Which leads us to VISIBILITY: Part 2 – Engagement

6 Types of Clients You May Not Want to Work With, and How to Deal with Them

More than likely we all come from humble beginnings as workers on the web. We were eager beavers as well we should have been, and took any client that came through our email inbox. Our eyes were definitely on the prize and had tunnel vision for the final payment or building our portfolio. Then, it happens. Almost out of nowhere. The unhappy client. We sit and ponder to ourselves, ” I made them 20 design revisions,  they finally approved the design, developed the site to their 30 page scope of work, uploaded the site to their host ,cross-browser tested it even after they broke that plugin, gave them private training,  continued to edit the design, development,  cross-browser tested it again, and they are still charging me back the full amount in Paypal…WTF!!??”.

The bad news is sometimes there is no avoiding the potentially bad client. We can edit and email to the tenth degree and it still won’t be enough. Then again sometimes bad clients don’t come in just angry form. Sometimes they are as sweet as can bee but your email conversion will say 80+ emails and you haven’t even gotten to the design phase yet. The good news is we can pick who we decide to work with, and if we do work with them how to deal with them.

Let’s look at the 6 types of clients you may not want to work with and tips on how to deal with them:

#1 They Don’t Know What They Want or They Don’t Have a SOW ( scope of work)

At first this type of client is very easy going. In fact they can come across as a perfect client because they are all ears when it comes to your ideas and your imagination can run wild with ideas.  They are just as eager as you are and can be putty in your hands…in the beginning. However, indecisiveness can quickly turn into frustration and with it, revisions. Which can lead to “cha-ching” in your online invoicing system, but not something this type of client wants to hear. This client also has the potential to just all of sudden know what they want and this typically happens once you are over budget. You more than likely will spend most of your budgeted hours in the beginning part of a project not leaving enough to actually complete the project. The clients fire and excitement can turn to hostility as they have a tendency to think you may only be after their wallet when you have to confront them on budget. I find I never even charge enough for all my project management because they like to send A LOT of emails and it is hard to just turn on your timer for every email.

Tips on how to work with type of client: When quoting their project quote a number typically double of what you normally do. This can leave room in the budget to deal with all their indecisiveness and ever growing scope of work. This will save you in the long run and avoid any miscommunication. Try, if you can to write your own clear scope of work. That way when they start changing and adding new things you can always point back to the agreed scope of work.

#2 No Circle of Trust ( They have been wounded by a previous designer/developer)

As with any good relationship trust is a key component. Obviously this type of client you are going to get more often than not, because as is the nature of this line of work. They are highly suspicious of any ideas, edits, and ESPECIALLY your invoice. They will doubt you from beginning to end, and our site- sabotaging. Meaning, they sometimes doubt so much that their finished product can wind up looking less than portfolio worthy.

Tips on how to work with type of client: Score some brownie points by starting small if you can. Do a small project for them first for them to instill some trust in you and go over the top for them. They will need hand holding and lots of details. Keep very good records of your invoice details and revisions as they will want proof.

#3 High Expectations

This particular client comes in all forms especially nice and mean. Maybe they fell in love with you because of your portfolio but they want you to “wow them” too. These types come in amped about your work and expecting you to do ten fold for them because like the title says they have extremely high and more often than not unrealistic expectations. They will always expect that their project comes first, you have no life, and if you do not email them back within 1 hour you must be slacking. Sometimes this type of client has such high expectations that when you send over a first draft and it isn’t what they were expecting instead of working through revisions they become deflated and defeated and lose trust in you instantly turning all sweetness into sour. This client can be a real red flag when it comes to getting paid and a high Paypal chargeback rate.

Tips on how to work with type of client: Google them. Seriously! I had a client like this once and I didn’t Google him. Turns out he had previously been disbarred as a lawyer from working in any state in the United States. That was a learning experience! Check out what type of person they are and what their working history with other designers is. Maybe they have burned through 3 previous designers and developers and now you are their next victim. Try to gauge their personality and not just their project. Their personality will determine whether you can deal with their over the top expectations. Sometimes these projects can turn our beautifully because they can really push you as a designer and developer, but be aware it may be difficult to get there and it may not pan out.

#4 I Need it Yesterday

Ready, set, GO! This client needs a custom design, custom theme, ecommerce, SEO, migrate their site, plus all redirects done ASAP. You think, “ok, I’m up for the challenge!”. But wait, what was that little sentence at the bottom of the email? They need it in 1 week. You think “Cha ching”! I’ll just charge an expedited rate and no big deal. This my friends is a losing battle, because while this client seems like they have their ducks in a row that scope of work will undoubtedly change, and that ETA you both agreed on just got blown out of the water and now it is YOUR fault. This may fall into the high expectations clients, but they are different because they only have one goal in mind….Going Live.

Tips on how to work with type of client: Bend their deadline into something realistic and you can both agree on. Even in they say they need it in a week suggest you don’t want to sacrifice your quality of work, and that the quickest you can do is 2-3 weeks. Which brings me to the next point. Do a date delivery range that way when they come back with edits you can give yourself more time. If they do add to the scope of work just tell them immediately this will effect the deadline and get their approval before moving forward. Open communication with this type is crucial

#5 Tight Wallet

This type is a tough one. I myself am a fru-gal , but there comes a point when frugality can become flat out cheap . Big hat no cattle with this one and they will even try to barter or let you in on being a part of their new hip company. I did bargain once with a lawyer for services actually to deal with the guy from #3, and it was the the best deal ever, but 9 times out of 10 that won’t work out too well. Sometimes they even have the grand idea of making you do a sample for free to see if they want to hire you. In that case I point them to my portfolio.

Tips on how to work with type of client: Stick up for yourself, and tell yourself you are worth your rate. Emphasis your quality of work and let them know if they want to work with you then select a service they can afford. You will not do as good of a job if you know you are not getting paid what you are worth. If they want to work with you they will come up with the money, trust me. For every person who can’t afford you there is a person who can, so remember they are not the only work out there.

#6 Verbally and Emotionally Abusive

You may laugh at this types title, but really this does exist. Abuse in any form is not ok, and it can be draining. Sucking the life out of all the other projects, and can really strike down your creative ability. I had a client one time when I submitted a proposal answered back with the most vulgar email cuss words and all. I was quite shocked and I emailed her back ( yes, it was a woman!), and asked if that email was meant for me because it was uncharacteristic. She apologized and said she was having a bad day, but if I did that when I was having a bad day I wouldn’t be in business. I quickly withdrew my proposal and decided not to work with her. She begged me to work with her but I referred her somewhere else. Just imagine this was the very beginning stages. Just imagine how she would be once you were actually working together.

Tips on how to work with type of client: RUN!!! Honestly, don’t even put up with that type of behavior. Most people don’t act this way right off the bat, but there can be signs. Look again at their personality and Google them. If you  happen to have already started working with them you can always give them an ultimatum that if they act like that again you will discontinue work and keep the money you have already worked. This will do 1 of 2 things. #1 it will make them respect you and they will stop, or #2 they will freak out. Normally #2, but it can be a blessing to not have to continue working with them even if it costs you money, because it can keep you from working on other clients projects.

Conclusion:

If you may have noticed the theme in all my tips really boils down to honesty and communication. Something I talked about in my last post, How to Succeed with your WordPress Company. Just having clear scopes of work, communication, and honesty can help you avoid conflict with all these types of clients. Don’t beat yourself however if all your best efforts to resolve an issue fails. Sometimes you cannot please everyone, and that is ok.

Now, have a good laugh and read some client stories on Clients from Hell.