Do you know the difference between features that are effective and features that are excessive on your website? Things like flash graphics, animations, photo sliders, and widgets can greatly enhance the look and feel of your website, but it’s important to determine what is helpful and what is not. Often in an effort to provide a great user experience, websites utilize every available accessory and unfortunately, this more often than not distracts from whatever purpose they were originally designed for. There are several reasons for this:
- Most features draw attention away from your overall goal and purpose. If you want a visitor to make a purchase, than a flash graphic is generally nothing more than interference and distraction.
- Most features, such as animations or internal programs, can slow down the upload time. If it takes too long for your site to upload than you’re going to lose potential visitors.
- Most features don’t offer tangible value. Unless your graphic adds significantly to the customer’s experience, then you should consider getting rid of it.
So how do you decide if a website feature is relevant or if you should eliminate it? Ask yourself the following questions:
Does it enhance your visitor’s experience?
Does it help you achieve a business goal?
Does it slow down your website upload time?
Does it distract?
If you’re unsure, consider testing and tracking the data. Install the feature and then review the results. Take a look at how long people remain on your landing page. If they spend less time on your page, then the new feature may be the reason.
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 actions are they taking? Are they buying more? Are they signing up for your opt-in list? Are they reading more content?
Every feature on your website needs to have a proven function and purpose. Add-ons are good when they complement your visitor’s experience, but not when they cause poor performance or otherwise sidetrack. Know your audience, your goals, the purpose of each add-on feature, pay attention to the data, and you can ensure that your website is performing to the best of its ability.