Posts tagged with "websites"

statistics illustration via Maria Soloman for use by 360 Magazine

Seven tips that will ensure your website’s calls-to-action get results 

Offering high-quality products or services is great, but it’s not always enough to make a sale. You also need to ensure you have strong calls-to-actions (CTAs) on your website. 

These are words or phrases, often presented on a button, that tell your customers what to do next. Sometimes, people just need a little bit of a push! 

In this article, we’re going to show you how to optimize your website’s CTAs so you can make more sales. 

Make sure your calls-to-action are bright and bold 

The design of your CTAs is just as important as the wording! You don’t want them to blend in, or readers might not spot them. So, you need to put some thought into how you can make them stand out. 

Typically, CTAs are presented on a clickable button. When choosing the color of yours, try to pick a hue that fits in with your branding, but that will still stand out against the background it’s on. Make sure the button is big enough, too — it should be one of the first page elements people are drawn to when they land on your website. 

Let’s take a look at a few examples for inspiration.

Paramount Plus, a new TV and movie streaming service, has a bright and bold CTA right on their homepage. 

There are two things in particular that stand out: first, the copy says TRY IT FREE. Because Paramount Plus is so new, it’s important that they reel in customers this way — after all, there are a lot of streaming services out there, so people will want to try before they buy. Additionally, the color of the button is a bright and clear blue. Not only does this color work with the company’s branding, but the blue also contrasts well against Spongebob’s yellow, making it even more eye-catching. 

KiwiCo, a kid’s craft subscription service, has a stand-out CTA right on their homepage as well. 

They’ve used a bright and bold green color to ensure their CTA button stands out against the grey background, and they’ve also added a fun light bulb icon that draws the eye. Not only does this help the call-to-action to stand out, but it could also spark a website visitor’s imagination and convince them to click through to “get a crate”. 

Think about how you could ensure your CTAs stand out on your website. What colors would work well, and are there any fun icons you could add for some extra interest? 

Stir up a sense of urgency 

If you create a sense of urgency with your CTAs, you can make your consumers feel like they’ll miss out if they don’t act now. This can lead to more people taking the action you’re looking for right away.

You can help create a sense of urgency with timers that outline when a particular promotion will end, or how much stock you have left, for instance. Let’s take a look at an example of a business that uses this tactic well.

For instance, Amazon likes to let people know when stock of a particular product is running low. They’ll then tell you to “order soon” to avoid missing out on the items you need.

This is a powerful technique that could provide a sense of uncertainty that will be just enough to push people into making a purchase. They even have two different buttons customers can press — one of which says “buy now”, which increases the feeling of urgency. Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, so this is clearly a tactic that has served them well. 

Play on your website visitors’ FOMO 

Similarly, fear of missing out, or FOMO, can be a very effective motivator. So, it’s worth playing on this with your calls-to-action. Make your readers feel like people just like them have taken your desired action and are better off because of it!

To provide you with some inspiration for your own CTAs, let’s take a look at a company that does a great job of stirring up a sense of FOMO with theirs. 

Venngage, a company that specializes in helping people to create infographics, makes sure to instil the fear of missing out in their audience in their guide to what infographics are.

Within their article, they promote a webinar they’ll be hosting on the topic, and urge people to “SAVE MY SPOT”. This creates a sense of scarcity, and encourages people to act fast to avoid missing out. Plus, the CTA is presented on a bright green button, which really helps it to stand out. 

If you’re hosting an event or promoting a limited edition product, make sure you make it clear to people that they could miss out if they don’t buy their ticket or item right now. It could just be enough to boost your conversions. 

Provide different calls-to-action for different people

Different people who visit your site might be at different stages of the buying journey. This means it can often be helpful to have different CTAs that correspond to these different stages. For example, you might want to encourage one person to make a purchase, but direct someone else towards giving you a call to get more information about what you do. 

Let’s take a look at some businesses that use this tactic well. 

For instance, you’ll find several different CTAs on Loganix’s link building services page. At the very top of the page, you’ll see a button that urges people to “get started” — this is great for people who have already decided that they would like some help with their link building and that Loganix is their company of choice.

However, people who scroll down the page to find more information will also find a range of other CTAs, such as “learn more” and “read more testimonials”. These target people who aren’t quite sure about this service or want to know more about the company in general. 

This approach is particularly effective for a service-based organization like Loganix. They’re providing something slightly more abstract than a physical product, so people looking to spend money with the business might need more convincing. These different CTAs are sure to point them in the right direction. 

Similarly, Best Value Schools have multiple CTAs on their homepage. The website helps prospective students to choose the next step in their education and career, which is always going to be a huge decision. So, they have different calls-to-action to attract people at different stages in their journey. 

They have options to “find your school”, “view all resources”, “view all rankings”, and more. Think about all of the different types of people who could be browsing this website. “Find your school” targets people who already know what kind of path they want to pursue, while the CTAs that urge people to find more information are more suited to people who are earlier in their journey, and who might not even be sure that higher education is for them. There’s a CTA for everyone. 

Consider who’s likely to land on your website, and what they might need in their current stage of the buyer journey. Do they want to make a purchase straight off the bat, or will they need more information? You should add CTAs that cater to everyone. 

Make it very obvious if you’re offering a freebie

If you’re creating a CTA to promote something that won’t require your website visitors to spend any money, be sure to make that very clear. This can work well for free templates, free trials, free consultations, and the like. 

Keep in mind that offering something for free is also a great marketing strategy in general. It shows people what you do, and is likely to lead to them spending money with you in the future.

To provide you with some inspiration, let’s take a look at companies that incorporate freebies into their marketing and CTAs well.

For instance, Bay Property Management Group, a real estate management company with multiple locations across the east coast, promotes their free property management analysis on their Philadelphia location page. 

You can clearly see where you need to click to get a free property management analysis, as the bright blue CTA button really stands out! Just above their freebie call-to-action, they also outline the benefits of clicking through — doing so will help prospective to find their ideal tenants without breaking the bank.

The company is offering a very valuable service for free, and they’ve made that very clear with their CTA. This is sure to lead to a lot of click-throughs and could drive a lot of future business for the company. 

SocialPilot does something similar partway through their guide to Facebook analytics tools.

They provide their own social media platform so, along with outlining the pros and cons of all the different tools out there, they’ve mentioned and promoted their own. Not only that, but they’ve also encouraged people to try it for free.

The bright blue banner really makes this CTA stand out, and they’ve made it very clear that trying out their tool won’t cost the user anything. They’ve mentioned “free” twice and even clarified that they won’t take your credit card details, so you won’t be stung if you forget to cancel at the end of your free trial. This is sure to convince a lot of people to give it a go and could lead to a lot more sales for the company. 

Could you offer something valuable to your prospective customers for free? If so, make it very clear that engaging won’t cost them anything, and it could actually boost your bottom line in the long run. 

Lead with a strong verb 

The whole point of a call-to-action is to convince someone to do something — that means you should always lead with a strong verb. Words and phrases like “sign up” and “submit” might do the job, but they aren’t very powerful, so you’ll want to go with something stronger for the best results. 

Here are some examples of CTAs with strong verbs that you could use: 

  • Download now
  • Get started
  • Create your account
  • Explore now
  • Discover more
  • Schedule an appointment

All of these CTAs are clear, convincing, and make it very obvious what you prospective customers should do next. 

Inject some personality into your calls-to-action 

You want your prospective customers to engage with your CTAs, and injecting them with your personality can really help. To start, you should identify your brand voice, if you haven’t already.

Consider how you want to address your customers, first and foremost. Are you professional? Funny? Playful? Inspirational? Think about who your audience is and how you want to relate to and communicate with them.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of businesses that do a great job of incorporating their brand voice into their CTAs for the best results. 

For example, Express, a clothing retailer, does this well on their homepage. 

When you first visit their site, you’re presented with a banner that urges you to “join the TikTok challenge”. They’re trying to get their customers to post about their lives post-pandemic, and want them to share their outfits (which are hopefully from Express). This CTA wouldn’t work for every business, but it’s effective for Express, which is a young and savvy clothing brand with an audience that is immersed in the online world. This shows the company is engaging, boundary-pushing, and adventurous, which increases the chance of their ideal customers clicking through and jumping on board with their challenge. 

There’s also plenty of personality in the CTAs that the luxury vodka brand Grey Goose uses on its homepage.

One of their most interesting examples is “uncork the truth”. This phrase suggests a few different things about Grey Goose’s personality. First, using a word like “uncork” is fun and relevant, as they are an alcohol distiller. Second, the phrasing shows that they want to be transparent in how they make their products and what ingredients they use. Consider if you can use a similar play on words in your own CTAs to show off your brand personality.

Summary

Your CTAs are some of the most important aspects of your website! To get people to do what you want them to do, you have to give them an extra push. In this article, we outlined seven different ways to enhance your CTAs, including using your brand personality, improving your design, using strong verbs, and more. There’s work to be done — get to it!

Author bio & headshot

Adam Steele is COO and co-founder of Loganix, which is an SEO fulfillment partner for digital marketing agencies and professionals. The company provides the SEO services that businesses need to grow and achieve their goals. If you enjoyed this article, you can find more SEO guides and templates on the Loganix blog. 

Adam Steele is COO and co-founder of Loganix image for use by 360 magazine
Rita Azar illustrates fashion article for 360 MAGAZINE

Tips For Supporting Ethical Fashion 

There is no time like right now to make the switch to ethical fashion, with the report Future of Consumer Demand showing that the vast majority of Americans place a high importance on buying goods that are ethically produced. When it comes to fashion, the exact definition of ‘ethics’ is difficult to provide, since it extends to a wide array of issues – including fair working conditions, sustainability, support for upcoming creators, animal welfare, and fair trade. A recent Futerra survey showed that around 90% of consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. want to make a positive difference with each purchase they make. They feel that their actions can be part of a big wave that reduces pressing problems such as global warming. If you are ready to start supporting companies that are ‘giving back’, what qualities should you look for in your chosen brands?

Ethical Working Conditions

If you are drafting a list of fashion and accessory companies you would like to start supporting, spend time getting to know their policy on working conditions. For instance, if you are buying luxury gems such as diamonds, ensuring they are conflict-free and ethically sourced is key. More than 99% of accessible diamonds meet Kimberley certificate standards. However, this certificate is a logistic document that states a rough diamond was exported from a specific country under the stipulations of the Kimberley process. It does not tell you if the mine a specific diamond was obtained from provides local jobs or funds opportunities for diverse groups such as women. Therefore, inquiring about these matters can help you make a decision when considering various brands or jewelry houses.

A Passion For Sustainability
It is very easy to see which brands are 100% committed to lowering their carbon footprint. Truly green brands such as Stella McCartney have been raising the bar in terms of the use of organic, recycled and upcycled materials practically since their launch. Brands should do more than release the odd sustainable collection. They should have published policies regarding energy use, water saving, ethical sourcing of materials (i.e. materials should not hail from endangered forests), and the establishment of strict quality and sustainability standards. They should also commit to reducing oil-based synthetics during the manufacturing process.

Supporting Innovation

Check out the efforts made by each brand to support the Planet. Some have come up with innovative ways to put an end to problems such as plastics. Pangaia, famed for its über-chic tracksuits, use material obtained from recycled bottles. The fabric obtained is then colored with natural botanical dyes, and ‘freshened up’ with natural peppermint, which battles bacteria. Reformation (which manufactures swimwear) also creates items made with recycled plastic, while Isbjörn of Sweden uses fish trap to create resilient items that are also 100% PFC-free and bluesign certified.

Design For Life

Ethical fashion should also aim to be used by several owners so as to prolong the life cycle of every item and reduce the amount of waste that is overburdening landfills. Essén is one such label; it produces all collections in small batches, moving away from the idea of short-term trends and seasonality. The aim is for every single item to be used throughout the year, with minimalist looks holding sway in the summer and layering being embraced to stay warm and cosy during the winter. Another interesting minimalist brand is Working Title. In order to reduce its carbon footprint, this company only sells made-to-order items, meaning that every single outfit they make is fully desired and cherished. When purchasing items for a new season, go with items you think will stand the test of time. Ensure you have wardrobe essentials such as a ‘little black dress’, a white tailored top, black trousers, and a good coat you can dress up or down. You can still stay in trend, buying a couple of ‘in’ clothing items and accessories but mainly sticking to items you know will look good just as good next year as they do this year.

Choosing Durable Items

Genuinely sustainable items should be able to withstand plenty of wear and tear if it is to stand the test of time and be worn a lifetime or passed down to various users before being thrown away. Isbjörn, mentioned above owing to its innovative spirit, also has a big focus on durability. All items are made with materials built to last, and have sewn-in labels with space for three kids’ names (the aim being that every piece should be used by at least three people). The company goes a step further, offering to replace any items that are broken. Why buy a new coat when your favorite comfy coat can be repaired and look as good as new? Companies should ideally offer customers tips to increase the lifespan of clothing. These can include information on how to repair and wash items. They can also include suggestions on where to donate clothes once customers are done with them. The brand Vaude, for instance, has a free online platform called iFixit, which provides instructions on how to fix various products.

Embracing Diversity

Sustainable companies that truly desire to make a difference should take other ethical considerations into account, one of which involves embracing diversity. The 21st century is arguably the first to embrace different races, body types, and ages in advertising and fashion. Brands should do more than simply market themselves as ethical; they should also put their money where their mouth is, releasing collections in sizes that reflect the diversity of their customer base. Just a few brands that have already done so include Adidas, Apiece Apart, and Diane von Furstenberg. The latter’s iconic wrap dresses are now available in sizes 14 to 24, thanks to its recent partnership with Honoré.

If you are ready to make more eco-conscious fashion choices, a good place to start is by checking out the sustainability policies of your favorite brands. Those that do value ethical working conditions, the environment, and other issues such as animal welfare, will usually share their values with you via their website and social media channels. Be vigilant about shopping for jewelry as well, since truly ethically sourced diamonds have more to them than simply complying with the Kimberley certificate standards. When choosing a brand to support, also think about the extent to which they are truly making an effort to effect change. Efforts can range from choosing innovative materials right through to improving durability and educating customers on how to increase a product’s lifespan. Finally, this millennium is one that is firmly focused on diversity. Ethical companies should support the idea that all human beings have a right to look and feel like their best selves through the clothes they wear. Companies can show their commitment to diversity by employing models with varying ages, races, and body types. They can also make collections in various sizes so that their garments can be worn by a truly representative group of people. One of the best ways to find out more about fashion brands is to check out their websites. If they are truly serious about sustainability and ethics, they will most likely have a sustainability section in which they list the many steps they are taking to change the superficial reputation that fashion can sometimes have.

Combating False COVID-19 Information

Fake news websites could be identified by the partners that provide their video streaming and advertising, research shows.

The new approach could help search engines and social media giants, such as Facebook and Twitter, to flag untrustworthy articles more rapidly and prevent their misleading content going viral.

Fake news stories and conspiracy theories have proliferated online during the coronavirus pandemic, from alleged cures to claims the virus is caused by 5G technology.

Ram Gopal, Professor of Information Systems Management at Warwick Business School, said:

“The US Presidential Elections in 2016 highlighted the significant harm that fake news can do, potentially impacting election outcomes and undermining democratic institutions.

“These concerns have multiplied during the coronavirus pandemic and fake news has resulted in an untold number of deaths from misleading and harmful information.

“It is vital that we use all the tools at our disposal to combat the spread of fake news and the huge damage it does.”

Flagging fake news stories typically involves humans or Artificial Intelligence (AI) scanning individual articles for misleading information.

This is difficult as articles can be quickly changed to defeat the algorithms designed to catch them.

Now researchers at Warwick Business School have found fake news and clickbait websites tend to use the same supply chain partners to provide key components, such as advertising platforms.

While fake news websites can disguise their text and images to appear real, they cannot conceal which partners they use, as these can be easily identified using browsing tools.

Professor Gopal said: “Trying to identify fake news articles is a cat and mouse game, because the content can be quickly changed to defeat the algorithms searching for them.

“To detect fake news effectively we need strong markers that are difficult to hide or fudge.

“A website’s choice of third-party partners exposes the essence of what the website does and how it achieves that. A tiger cannot hide its stripes.”

The researchers compared more than 450 top news websites, as listed by alexa.com, with 50 fake news websites and 50 clickbait sites identified by the Harvard University Library.

They identified 115 significant third parties that were only used by trustworthy sites and seven that were only used by untrustworthy platforms. These markers helped identify untrustworthy websites more rapidly and efficiently, with an accuracy of 94%.

The findings were published in the paper, Real or not? Identifying untrustworthy news websites using third-party partnerships, in the journal ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems.

Professor Gopal said: “It is not a case of these markers replacing traditional content analysis. The two approaches can complement each other.

“Content can be scrutinised more closely, with a lower threshold for action, if it originates from a website that our markers classify as illegitimate.  Integrating the two approaches could result in more accurate and more robust detection mechanisms.”

NYC, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Web Development Team

Pretty much anyone can call themselves a web developer nowadays, and it is important that you do your due diligence before working with anyone. Make the wrong choice, and you could end up with tons of hidden costs, unfinished work, or in the worst case, never hearing from them again. 

However, by asking the right questions and doing your research, you should be able to find a great team that will be able to understand your vision and execute it. Here are some questions you should ask when hiring a web development team.

Have You Ever Worked on Projects Similar to Mine?

All websites have very different needs and have to be approached differently. For instance, building an e-commerce store and a portfolio site will be very different. If you need some of your employees to be able to access log in functions, for instance, or need an extensive database to be installed, not all web developers will have this kind of expertise. You may need some illustrations, graphics, or logo designs for a one-time project, in which case your best bet may be to hire a freelance graphic designer.

This is why it is very important that you know your objectives for your website, and make sure that they can show you work similar to it. Don’t take their word for it. Some will say yes to everything, only to take twice as much time once they realise how much research they have to do.

How Long Will the Project Take from Beginning to End?

This is also something that needs to be clear from the get-go. If you have a deadline for this project, then you want someone who’ll be able to get the job done within that time period. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go for rushed work. Some people might take a little bit longer, either because of conflicting schedules or previous engagements. Make sure that you look around to check the average completion time, and go for someone who can deliver the best work as fast as possible.

What Kind of Services do You Offer?

Different development teams will offer different packages, so it’s important that you know what their actual scope of service is, and what you can expect to pay. For instance, some companies will also offer some marketing and SEO services. Some will offer social media management and promotion as well.

That’s why you should make a clear list of the services you want to be included. This way, you’ll be able to eliminate those who can’t provide a crucial service that you absolutely need.

What About Your Employees?

You want to know what type of employees they work with. Do they outsource some of their work? If so, what do they outsource?

While outsourcing is not always an issue, it’s always better to go with a web development company that has their own in house employees. Teams like Appetiser, for instance, personally hand pick their programmers and have them go through a gruelling hiring process to make sure that they’re up to par. As a matter of fact, only 1.7% of the applicants coming from major tech firms are able to make it through their coding challenges.

You want a team that will be self-sufficient so you won’t have to suffer delays. Another thing is if you need some follow up work done, it’s better if the programmer who previously worked on your website performs it. Working with another programmer will require some additional troubleshooting that you may have to pay out of pocket for.

What Technologies Are Your Specialty?

This question allows the developer to talk about what distinguishes them from the competition. If you haven’t decided what technology you’re going to use, still ask what technologies they’re specialised in. If they’ve adapted to new technologies well, they are probably qualified to help you migrate to a new one.

Ask how many developers they have that work with these technologies. You don’t want to hire a software firm that specialises in a specific area, but if that expertise resides with one person who may leave the firm at any time this is also a problem. Ask how much time it may take to scale up the team to handle your project. If you may need to accelerate your schedule, you want to know you won’t have to wait a few weeks for key people to be available.

A related question to ask is their seniority. If their entire expertise in an area is within a group of junior developers, they may not be capable of the quality of work you need. Conversely, a mixed team of junior and senior developers is certain to be able to handle any challenge. 

Conclusion

Hiring a web development team is essential if you want to have a website that will show your business in the best possible light as possible. Make sure that you take your time, shop around, and find a team that can align with your goals and expectations.