Websites are a complicated blend of technology, marketing, and public relations. While many companies have found a successful balance, they’re still capable of making the same common mistakes. Below are four ways companies are holding back their websites, and how they can be fixed.
Not Securing All Assets
To get the full benefits of SSL, all the content your users download should use HTTPS. You can ensure your customers are protected by:
- Enabling HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). This forces the user’s browser to connect over HTTPS instead of HTTP.
- Changing content links to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. For self-hosted content, use relative URLs (/photos/picture1.png) instead of absolute URLs (yoursite.com/photos/picture1.png). For third-party content such as ads, check if the third-party provider supports HTTPS.
- Scanning your web pages for unencrypted links. You can do this by using a service such as Why No Padlock?. Your developers should then update these links to use HTTPS if possible.
Not Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
When a visitor makes an encrypted connection to your website, a lot happens behind the scenes. Both parties have to verify their identity and establish a shared encryption key that’s used to encrypt all of the content sent from your website to the visitor.
Modern hardware has significantly reduced the cost of encryption, but it’s still a lot of extra load on your web servers.
With a CDN, secure content is served to visitors from the CDN’s edge servers. In addition to delivering your content to users faster, the CDN handles the resource costs of creating the connection and delivering the content securely. Your server only has to handle the content that isn’t stored by the CDN itself, such as dynamic web pages or content that’s been recently updated.
Not Placing CTA Above the Fold
Your call to action (CTA) is a crucial component of your website. It’s how your visitors become leads and eventually customers. Traditionally, the CTA is placed “above the fold,” where the fold is the dividing line between visible content and content that requires scrolling.
Users spend 80 percent of their time on a website reading content above the fold, and only 22 percent make it to the bottom. Even content placed just 100 pixels above the fold had an 84 percent greater chance of being seen than content placed 100 pixels below the fold. Placing your CTA above the fold greatly increases the likelihood that users will see and ultimately act on your call.
While there’s plenty of controversy surrounding the fold, companies still see success in making their CTA more visible. Unbounce found that placing their CTA above the fold increased their conversion rate by 41 percent. While this may vary for some companies, it generally makes it easier for visitors to take action.
Not Having Live Chat Functionality
Live chat is quickly becoming a preferred way for customers to interact with businesses. Live chat combines the speed of a phone conversation with the convenience of email. 73 percent of the customers who used live chat were satisfied with the experience, compared to 61 percent for email and 44 percent for phone.
Intuit managed to boost their conversion rate by 190 percent by adding a live chat component that connects potential leads to sales consultants. Adding live chat to the checkout process boosted the average order value by 43 percent and their conversion rate by 20 percent. Adding live chat to their product comparison page increased their conversion rate by 211 percent. Live chat might not be feasible for some businesses, but implementing it well can lead to more satisfied customers and more sales.
By experimenting with solutions to these four common website mistakes, you may find new sources of customer satisfaction and conversions that were once untapped.
David Henzel is Co-Founder of MaxCDN, the instant content delivery network that serves as your Speed Team with best-in-industry support. Originally from Wiesbaden, Germany, David moved to Los Angeles in 2009 after selling his e-commerce business and joining the MaxCDN team. His passions include marketing, e-commerce, startups, personal development and web speed.
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