Have you ever tested what is effective on your website and what is overkill? Do you know what features and website functions your audience responds to and what turns them off? Personally, when launching a new website I want to give people a LOT of value and go overboard. I wonder what can help them to navigate better, which plugins will suit their needs and make their experience nicer. But more often than not people are much less complicated. When I visit a website I usually look for good quality information. If I find that and if I find the author sounds sympathetic I subscribe. Lately I figured if I do it like that, others might do also and don’t need all these website functions I offer.
Maybe we all don’t needs tons of plugins and functions before we can go in business, maybe we just need to write and find a connection to our audience.
So before we start to install one more plugin – ask let’s ask ourselves: Does that really help our audience? Do they really need it? Or do we just find it fancy?
I know you thought a lot and well about the functions on your website. And I bet you have added them by purpose. But sometimes we just keep adding and adding and don’t keep our user in mind but the design or what we like. Maybe your users have never used the feature? Or, even worse, they can’t figure how to use it? Then it is time to turn it off because actually it might look cool but there is no need for it. Too many plugins slow down our site and make it prone to errors. So it is better to just turn these features off.
Here a few things to ask yourself to figure if you really need these website functions:
- If you add a feature to your website make sure that it has a proven function and purpose. Ask yourself if it supports the overall goal of the site, e.g. providing good information or making that click. Does it support your goal? If so, leave it of course, if not – get rid of it.
- If features distract visitors, turn them off. For example, you don’t really need the flash graphic for the user to make the sale? Good then, get rid of it.
- You might lose visitors and therefore customers if your site is slow. Make sure that you do not add graphics and functions which kill the loading time of your site. Beside that it is also a problem for your Google rankings. They like a good site performance. If your site is too slow (more than 3 sec I’d say as a rule of thumb) go ahead and remove some heavy graphics and plugins.
- Turn off whatever you don’t use. For example: You have 5 social network buttons but you never update your Google+ content? Well, don’t make people subscribe to it and get rid of the button on your website.
- Ask yourself if the feature helps you to archive a business goal – if it doesn’t, turn it off.
If you don’t know if you should keep or remove a plugin, test it and track the data. Try to add a tracking link. You can do that with a tool such as Ninja Affiliate so you know if people respond to the feature or not. When I build my digital scrapbooking site, we added challenges to the forum. After some years I felt that these are just too much work and talked about it with the forum administrator. I thought I’d get rid of all of them. She asked me to check the single member’s stats in the store and if they really just look for the free stuff they get in the challenges? I went there and did. Surprisingly they were really good customers. They had build a relationship with us and were willing to purchase on our site rather than anywhere else. By killing the challenges I would have killed a lot of business, too. This short episode usually comes to my mind when I want to get rid of the one or other work. And it remind me to check before making the decision.
If possible, test the feature itself. Are people interacting with it? What do they do once they’ve interacted with it? If people are staying on your website longer with the new feature, what action are they taking? Are they buying more? Are they signing up for your opt-in list? Are they reading more content?
If you know your audience you know which bells and whistles help you to offer value to your members and therefore grow your business. Some bells and whistles offer value. Pay attention to the data.