The Role of the Headline

One part of every web page that can be a little confusing for many people is the main heading. It’s the one large piece of text, just a few words, that is featured in a prominent location somewhere on the page. Far too often, I see sites and pages that are attempting to do too much with their headings or H1 tags. The role of those headings is actually pretty simple.

The role of the heading isn’t to sell the product or service, nor is it to explain the whole page. A successful heading will simply grab the reader’s attention and make him or her want to read the full page. It’s really that simple. Sure, it is possible for a heading to sell a company’s product or service, but for many businesses, it’s going to take more than simply a heading to get the job done. The heading should be there simply to generate interest and get the reader to scroll down the page.

If you’re looking to have better headlines on your site’s pages, here are a couple of things you can do. First, you need to understand which problems your user is having and how the information on that page will solve that problem. What pains or problems are they currently experiencing that the information or product offered on that page will solve? Once you know that pain or problem, write out the headline using no more than five words. If it’s more than five, there’s a good chance that a lot of people won’t pay much attention to it.

If you can find a way to work in an emotional or pain aspect to the problems you are looking to address, you’ll be able to connect with your reader in a way that will leave them needing to know more. The sale can be made in the next couple of paragraphs or the next chart or image – but not through the heading. Use the heading to grab the reader’s attention to encourage the user want to read the page.

While proper use of headings (or H1 tags) can be puzzling for many people, they don’t have to be. It may help to think of a heading on your page like a headline in a newspaper: it’s there to quickly grab your interest and make you want to read further. Short and to the point is the key here.

If you need help with headings or any other issues you may be experiencing with your website, feel free to reach out to us here at Full Scope Creative. We’d be happy to help you reach your customers in the most effective ways possible.

The “Call Us Now!” Button

There is a concept in physics that states that objects in motion tend to follow the path of least resistance; people work in much the same way. When looking to solve a problem, we tend to look for the path of least resistance. I know that for some of us (myself leading the pack) we’re a bit impatient and want results and answers right now. When it comes to our websites, we can take that ‘path of least resistance’ mentality and incorporate it into solving our users’ problems, especially when it comes to getting in touch with us.

A friend of mine was recently in need of some repairs to his house after a storm. He picked up his phone and did a Google search just like most people do. He found a contractor and knew they could handle the work based on the first page of their website. In addition, there was a very convenient button that said, “Call Us Now!” When he clicked that button, his phone rang the contractor’s office. They answered and had someone out to his house quickly. He didn’t have to dig around and look for a phone number, write it down, or even copy and paste it. Just one click and he was dialing the contractor.

I know it’s probably not the most optimistic outlook of our society to say that we’re too lazy to copy and paste a phone number, but it is where we are at in 2018. We’ve become so accustomed to instant gratification. On more than one occasion, I’ve decided to order pizza from a different place because the first one’s website didn’t have an easy to use, “Click here to order!” button that rang the pizzeria. We like things NOW and don’t want to wait the small amount of time it takes to copy the telephone number, open the phone, paste the phone number, and hit the green call button. We want things now.

Having a simple button on your site that says, “Call Us Now!” – especially on your site’s home page – is a great way to work in that instant gratification we all desire while still accomplishing the goals of your site. The best part is that adding such a button is a relatively easy thing to do, possibly something you can even do on your own. If you find you’re struggling with it, CALL US TODAY!

When a Site Navigation Gets Long

Last week, a client asked for some help adding a new link to their site. The problem they were having, was that their main navigation was now being broken into two lines. Not only did it not look great from a visual standpoint, it was also a little goofy to navigate through. That’s a common problem we’ve seen with several clients over the year. Either too many pages are added or the pages names get to be too long. There are a couple of options that can be explored when this happens, each with its own benefits.

Creating drop downs

One of the easiest ways to handle a navigation that is getting too long, is to add in drop downs. Often times, you’ll find that certain pages just sort of “go together,” and those pages could easily be grouped together in a drop down menu option. For example, if you had a link for Regular Menu, Healthy Menu Options, Gluten Free Menu, and Low Calorie Menu, those could all easily be grouped together under an new (and shorter) main menu heading of Menu. When a user hovers over Menu they’d see all four options and be able to select the page they are looking for.

Creating top navigation

Another option, one that you might need to contact your web designer for help with possibly, is to a create a second navigation. A very common and effective layout that is used on sites is to have the logo in the very top left corner, with a tagline or call to action feature in the top left, with the main navigation then in a line under that. If your site is laid out similar to this, you can create a new, second, and likely smaller navigation bar across the very top of the website (above the logo and tagline). In this sidebar, you can move links for pages such as Home, About Us, Contact Us, and social media links. Doing this will likely free up a fair amount of valuable space for other, more crucial pages.

Decreasing font size

A third option that can be explored, though one that should be used very carefully, is to decrease the font size in the navigation bar and decrease the space between links. With this approach, you’ll definitely want to work with your web designer, because they will need to update the CSS file and they’ll know just how small the text can safely be and how close links can be without causing issues for users. There have been times we have used this approach, but normally only when there is one word that is getting knocked down to a second line. If there are several lines, we will select one of the first two options.

The main navigation of your website is the easiest and main way for many users of your site to go from page to page and explore the site and content, and eventually make a conversion – be it making a purchase or filling out a contact form. The sites main navigation should be given plenty of consideration, especially as the site grows and new pages are added, thus making the navigation bigger. It’s by no means a reason to not put a new page on your site, just might require some additional thought as to where the new link will be placed and how it will impact the main navigation overall.

Stock Photography On Your Website?

At Full Scope Creative, we love having slideshows on the sites that we design. Slideshows can do so much for a site. They provide some action to the site. They provide a visual chance to highlight some different aspects of the business. It’s almost scary, though, how many sites we look at that are using stock photography in the slideshows.

A photo is worth a thousand words. The problem with stock photography is that the same image that is on your site could easily be on your competitor’s site as well. The image could be saying great things about you, but it could be saying those same great things about your competitor as well. If your competitors are using stock photography, this is a great way for you to gain additional credibility in the eyes of many users. Even if the photos are done in house, they capture the uniqueness that is your company. We have a couple clients who use photos that were taken on their iPhone and they work great because they show the look and feel the business.

I’m not saying to never use stock photography, sometimes it is an unavoidable necessity. When you do need to use them though, follow these simple steps if possible.

  1. Don’t use the photos from the first page. Just like on a Google search, not many people go past the first page, even though the sites on the second page still have worthy information. Not as many people will use the images from the second or third or fourth page of a stock photography site. Those images still have a decent look and feel to them, but they don’t have quite the frequency of use as the ones on the home page, thus giving you a better chance of avoiding images used by competitors
  2. Don’t do a general search for something like “family.” Instead, drill down to something a little of specific like “Family outdoors” or “Active family.” Doing this will sometimes bring up additional photos that might have been several pages deep in the initial results.
  3. Probably most importantly, take a look at top 3 competitors, if they are using stock photography as well, make sure you use different images.

Like many things, stock photos have a time and a place. A slideshow on the homepage of your site really isn’t one of them though. If you do need to use them though, make sure you spend a little extra time to find ones that might not be used quite as much as the one with 6 business people all in gray suits with their arms crossed and big beaming smiles (I believe I’ve counted six companies just in Green Bay that that particular group “works” at). Getting your own photos taken might take a little extra time and cost some money, but it will be time and money well spent.

Do users know what to do on your Home Page?

It’s easy to argue that the most important page on a website is the homepage. It’s the page where a large number of users will start their experience on your site. Sadly, though, far too often we see sites with a homepage that is either too distracting or gives no clear direction to the user.

On some sites, it almost seems as if the designer of the site or the business is trying to fit all the sites contents on the home page. Sometimes there is a snippet of info about every aspect of the particular business. I’m not saying that every part of a business isn’t important, it’s obviously important or it wouldn’t be a part of the business. That said, the homepage of a website should be kept clear and really only focus on a couple of key part of a company. Hence the reason on a lot of our designs, we like to highlight or focus on 3 key aspects of a business.

A homepage should really be used to direct users to more information. Once they land on the homepage, we’ll provide that quick little piece of info (image, text, maybe a video) and then provide a link to get to another page of the site that has more content. These internal or sub pages can be loaded up with info (well loaded up to an extent, of course). It would almost be the equivalent of walking into a grocery store and being bombarded immediately with someone telling you about the sale of the day, someone offering you a free food sample, someone from the bank that has a location in the store wanting you to open an account, someone from each department of the store telling you about the great products they have. It would be far too overwhelming for that first 20 feet of a store. Ever notice that when you walk into many stores there is an open area that allow you to see the sort of flow of the store? The homepage of your site should act the same way.

If your website isn’t performing quite as well as you’d like it to be, take a look at the homepage. Is it possibly too cluttered? Look at your business and ask yourself “Are there three really key areas to what we do?” If so, highlight those three key areas on your site and help guide the users to additional content that they might be looking for. Don’t bombard users with too much on the home page. Let them enter the website, take a quick look around and find a natural flow of the site.

What are Responsive Sites?

At a recent business networking event, I mentioned responsive websites. A couple people in the group asked, “What is a responsive website?” After that meeting I thought a quick explanation of responsive sites could be helpful.

A responsive site is a mobile friendly site that is equally easy to use on a wide array of devices, from smartphones to tablets and up to desktop computers. In the early days of mobile browsing, designers would sometimes only show certain important information on a mobile site, such as food menu on a restaurants website. However, much research has shown that in recent years most users are doing many of the same tasks a on a mobile device as they would on a  desktop; from filling out contact forms to placing an eCommerce order. Users are now days using their mobile devices the same as they do a desktop machine. Because of that, we now need to include the same set of information and pages on the mobile viewing experience as on the desktop version.

One of the easiest and best ways to tell if your site is responsive is to go to the Google Responsive Test and type in your website address. Google will do a  quick scan of your site and tell you if your site is responsive, and if not it will give you a few key reasons as to what was wrong.

Mobile browsing is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of web usage. If you don’t currently have a responsive, your website is in many ways behind the times. To get your site upgraded to a responsive site, please get in touch with us.

People Want to See People

One of the biggest problems I see on many websites, is that they have very few photos. Often times when they do have photos, those photos are missing a very important subject matter – people.

Take a restaurant for example. Having photos of the food is a good idea. Having photos of the inside of the restaurant showing what the decor is like is a good idea. Both those photos are missing that one key subject matter – people. Instead of focusing on the food, focus on people enjoying the food. Instead of focusing on the decor of the restaurant, focus on people sitting in the booths smiling, laughing, and enjoying the food. If you don’t want to use your customers in the photos (there are pros and cons to doing so), grab some employees or some of your family or friends.

The whole point of the photos is to provide an idea of what the visitor to the site is going to experience when they come in to your business. By focusing on the people in the photos instead of just the product of your business, you can start shaping their opinion of the experience of your business. With the right photos you can set the right atmosphere, mood, and tone for your business.

If your website has photos without any people in them, it does beg the question, “why?” Avoid the confusion and taken advantage of one of the greatest selling points on your website, and add in some people to your photos.

Google and Responsive Websites

As you’ve probably heard, Google announced earlier this year that they are going to start including a measure of how responsive or mobile friendly a website is in their rankings. In recent years, smartphone and tablet sales have been outpacing desktop sales.

To see if your website is a responsive and mobile friendly site, one of the quickest ways to test is to go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and test your site there. If your site doesn’t pass the test, it will give you a couple points that could be causing the issue.

As of right now, they are saying that this will only affect Google rankings on a mobile search (if a user is searching on a smartphone or tablet) but I wouldn’t be surprised if this eventually included desktop rankings as well. If you’d like any help getting your site responsive, please get in touch with us today and we’d be more than happy to go over your available options.

Pop Ups

We’ve all seen pop ups on a site before. In the early days of the .com boom they seemed to be everywhere. Pages would sometimes have several different pop ups, not just throughout the site, but sometimes even the same page. As annoying as they were back then, there is still a time and a place for them. Like many things in life, moderation is the key. Read more Pop Ups

I Don’t Need a Website

Every so often I hear someone say “I don’t need a website because 99% of my business is from referrals.” For some businesses, they are in fact about 99% referral. But just because someone is referred to you doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear more about you before getting in touch. It’s the year 2015, they aren’t going to look in the yellow pages (that’s a whole other topic), they are going to look for you online.

I’ve done plenty of business with companies that I was referred to. Before I talk to those businesses, I look for them online by doing a Google search. I want to see a little more about them. Are they local? Do they appear credible? Do they really offer the product or service I’m looking for?

Even if your business is 99% referral, you also can’t ignore things like content marketing and search engine optimization. When people look for your information, they’ll need to find you quickly in a Google search. Once they do find you, they’re going to want to see something that motivates them to want to do business with you.

If your business is in fact 99% referral you still need a website. The website isn’t needed to attract the other 1%, it’s to benefit the 99% coming to you from referrals. Provide them with as much info as possible on the site to help show them that your business is the one they need to work with.