How to label a Buy button

I have been working on a retail site and the issue of how to label the Buy button cam e up. Different possibilities have different connotations:

  • Buy – blunt
  • Add to cart – impersonal
  • Purchase – too formal
  • Buy now – too bossy

To complicate matters the site is not traditional in that it sells high-ticket items that people are unlikely to buy more than one of.  That makes the concept of a virtual shopping basket less appropriate than it might be on other sites.

I wanted to check out the labelling that big retailers use to get a pointer on this.

  • Wiggle – add to basket
  • Asos – add to bag
  • Amazon – add to basket
  • Fashionphile – add to bag
  • Chain reaction Cycles – add to basket
  • Yoogis closet – add to shopping bag
  • Harvey Norman – add to cart
  • Pixmania – add to basket

We have 4 “Add to basket”, 2 “Add to bag”, 1 “Ad to cart” and 1 “Add to shopping bag”.

I want my terminology to be consistent with what people are use to, so I will use the phrase “Add to…” on the button. But add to what? I don’t want to use “bag,” as handbags are what the site primarily sells. If they were one of twenty product types it would be ok, but they are the primary one. So that’s out. That leaves “basket”or “cart”.

I think “basket” is the less harsh and more modern of the two, so that’s the one to go for.  We can test it at a later point if we don’t like the conversion rates.

 

Website footer – less is more

In recent times there has been an increase in website footers that are packed with links that take you all over the site. They have so many links that it becomes very difficult to actually find the one that you want.

You can have 40, 50 links or even more across several columns. Some people don’t recognize when they reach the point of diminishing returns. The footer is not a dump. It is a place to show miscellaneous but necessary links. The exact links to show will depend on the type of site that you run.

As a rule, if the link would only be required by a specific type of user (as opposed to general users), it is a good candidate for the footer.

Keep it simple. Combine pages where it makes sense. If you do have a lot of links, keep the names of them as short as possible to save your users’ time while they scan the footer looking for the one that they want.

 

Homepage web content

Your homepage web content is most likely the most important web content on your site. Naturally it is the part of the site that you should spend the most time on. A good exercise is to determine the calls of action that you most want to direct users to, such as:

  • buy a product
  • contact you with questions/complains
  • sign up to a mailing list
  • follow you on facebook/twitter/pinterest
  • read your content

Once you have written them down, put them in the order of most to least important. Now take the first one. That is what should be the first thing on your homepage. All the others must fit around it, whether in navigation bars, sidebars, headers, footers or in a different part of the main content area.

Too often homepages look like a junkyard, with every possible action to be found there, and complete confusion as to where you intended journey through the site is meant to be.

Look at your homepage and see if you can simplify it. Make the most important thing that visitors can do clear to both them and to you. Other things should be findable and placed where people would expect them to be.

You may end up with something very different and very fresh.

 

Proofing and grammar

A lack of knowledge or skill in proofing will kill the credibility of your website faster than almost anything else. Everybody has different levels of proficiency but it is important to be self-aware and to understand your own.

Grammar

They are two separate issues. Your knowledge of grammar is important in the writing stage. If you don’t have the basics nailed down you are seriously limiting your potential as a web content writer or strategist – it is a key business skill. There are plenty of books available on the topic, such as Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

If you are weak in this area you should set aside some time regularly to improve your skills.

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Contact us and About us – merge them

This is a pretty good way to save spave on your site when you have only one set of contact details. It is particularly useful when you have a long homepage. Your contact details should be on your footer without your visitor having to click in to another page, but if you have a lot of blogposts on your homepage you don’t want them to have to scroll all the way down to view them.

Contact / About

Contact / About

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The 31,000 word interview that changed pro cycling

Paul Kimmage interview with Floyd Landis on NY Velocity.

In 2010 the journalist Paul Kimmage interviewed the former pro cyclist Floyd Landis for a newspaper article. Landis won the 2006 Tour de France before having his title stripped for a doping offence. Coming from a Mennonite background and having been almost completely ostracised from the sport, Landis is an unusual character in comparison to most cyclists.

Kimmage read through the transcript of his 7 hour conversation with Landis and decided there was more to it than he could cover in a single newspaper article. A couple of months later the full, 31,000 word transcript was published on nyvelocity.com, an act which would not have been plausible offline.

The interview quickly gained attention and led directly to multiple lawsuits which divided and galvanised cycling fans. The topic of doping is discussed at length in the interview and revelations would dominate the sport since.

Only online could you publish such a document and see it spread so quickly. It was an inspired and brave decision to do so and shows how not all content decisions can be made by referring to guidelines or usual practice.

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your own content and to test what happens when you do something unexpected.

You should never use sliders in web content

“But I’m a photographer/artist/retailer” – It doesn’t matter. You should never use sliders according to this fascinating post on sliders on Yoast.com.

It is very easy to think that there are exceptions, but if you truly believe that, you should test out your beliefs. I like the points made in the post about sliders diluting the focus of a site.

Read the post in the link. If you couldn’t have a slider, what would you replace it with? Why?

Then why not test that out and see where you get?

 

 

Orchard CMS – first look

Orchard CMS was recommended to me as a fast-improving alternative to WordPress. I approached it with trepidation. I have some knowledge of PHP, which is important to understanding WordPress whenever you need to look under the hood, but none whatsoever of .NET. Also, it has a reputation for being less user-friendly than rival CMS systems.

Orchard CMS background

Orchard is open-source software but was initiated primarily by a group of Microsoft employees, and is believed to be well-regarded by the company.  That suggests that there could be significant support if the project continues to grow.

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Content tone – 3 more tips

I follow on from my last post with a few more ideas on creating an appropriate content tone for your online writing.

Know what you want to say

Everything that you write must be in service of a point, whether that is to educate or persuade. Know where you must end up before you start. Sketch an outline before you start and it will be easier to stay on track.

Illustrate with stories

Instead of writing about what customers want, illustrate it with a story or two. Just make sure that the stories have something compelling to them. “John was a first-time customer who bought X product and was happy with it.” isn’t much of a story. There needs to be a twist or a reveal. “John bought X from us and returned 2 months later to buy the same for his wife – he said X had been invaluable to him during the coldest December in a generation when his family got snowed in for three days.” gives the reader a lot more information.

Call to action

Whatever it is, whether it’s a purchase or an email signup, carefully lead up to it and don’t be shy about doing so. You are writing for a reason and this is it.

Content tone needs to be crafted

It is not something that happens on its own or is a byproduct of writing. You need to craft it and practice it in order to get it right. Don’t neglect it.