Very recently, one of my lovely blogging and email marketing clients asked me to do an audit of the copy on her business homepage and product page. I was happy to help, so I hopped over to her website to see what I could see.
As the page loaded, the clickable elements began to appear…and appear…and appear. This website, while very attractive, had no less than six clickable elements “above the fold” — aka before you start scrolling down the page. And that’s not even counting the navigation menu.
Holy overwhelm, I thought. I know this brand. I know their product. And even I didn’t know where to look.
There was a button to click to sign up for their email list. A “Contact Us” button. A cart button that follows you down the page — even though there’s also a static cart button in the top right corner. A button to change accessibility settings. A button to click to enter a giveaway. And a Shop Now button.
And this was all before I had scrolled a pixel.
The first note in my copy audit was, “Too many buttons!”
Let the call to action breathe
When someone visits your website for the first time, it’s like meeting someone new. If your new acquaintance starts bombarding you with information and requests, you may not be too eager to build a friendship.
“Oh, my name is Jill and I make custom raincoats for fish. Here are 38 fish facts, and here’s why raincoats for fish are so important. Can I email you every day to talk to you more about fish? Let me have your phone number so I can call you every time I release a new raincoat design. Will you follow me on Instagram where I talk about the importance of fish moisture prevention?”
Too much, fish lady.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a call to action (CTA) right up top. You should! But if you ask someone to do too many things at once, they won’t do anything. Focus on the one most important thing.
For restaurants, an “Order Online” button at the top is a good action step. Event venues could try “Book a tour” or “Schedule a call.” For a product-based company, you may want a simple “Shop Now.”
Whatever action you want the customer to take, you need to give them the space to take it. Give the call to action a little breathing room! It’s the star of the show, so let it stand out. If you clutter up the page with too many competing elements, you’re diluting your own message.
A good rule of thumb is to ask users to take one action per page. That doesn’t mean that you can only have one BUTTON per page. You may want to have a Shop Now button at the top of the page, and another down at the bottom. One action, two buttons.
If you must use more than one CTA on a page, make it clear which one is primary by making it larger and in a contrasting color so it stands out. You’re the guide, leading them through the (hopefully simple) layout of your site.
Is it really that big of a deal?
When you start cluttering up the page with too many things to do, people get overwhelmed and don’t do anything. That’s the opposite of what we want to happen.
One case study showed a 232% increase in leads when they simplified their homepage by removing clutter.
So…yeah. It’s kind of a big deal.
Look at your website with a critical eye. Even better, ask someone else to look at it for you. Is it clear what step they should take next? Are there too many buttons or calls to action that can confuse customers and discourage them from doing anything?
Remember that you can test these things. Remove some of these extra clickable elements for a couple weeks and see what happens! If you don’t see an improvement, you can add them back.
So what will my client do?
Hopefully, she’ll reduce the clutter above the fold — and see an resulting increase in clicks to her shop page, leading to an increase in sales.
If she does, I’ll be sure to report back!