Fancy Features

A common request we see from clients is for this feature or that feature, something cool they saw on another website, perhaps something their competitor is doing. For some web pros, the answer to these requests is a simple, “Yes” and they build it in. Customer gets what customer wants. End scene.

For me, it’s not so simple. I need to ask a few questions, such as, “Why do you want that feature?” and then a follow up of, “How will this feature lead to business success?”

Fancy Features

Web design isn’t just about making things look cool

(Although that’s a nice perk.) But the truth is, it isn’t just about design or development, it’s about strategy. Everything we do on a website should be done with a strategy, with a compelling reason why it’s going to lead to more calls, more customers, and more conversions. Will adding this feature help your business? Could it hurt your business? What evidence do we have either way?

That makes me kind of a bummer, I know, but in the long run, you want to add features that enhance not detract.

Example #1:
I have been fighting the fight against sliders for a while now. We still get asked for them a lot, but the truth is they are wasted real estate. Sliders have about a 1% click through rate, and approximately 84% of those clicks are on the first slide. So what is the point of having five slides? Guess who is seeing that fifth slide? Just you.

It’s a feature without any benefits, it doesn’t lead to an increase in conversions. If it’s not leading to a better bottom line, what’s the point of having it? Because it may look cool? Because everyone else has one?

Jumping on the bandwagon is only good if that bandwagon brings website success. In this case, it usually doesn’t.

Sometimes these fun features are a distraction from the purpose of your website visitors. If someone lands on your site, it’s probably for a reason and not because they clicked on a cat meme. (Who doesn’t love a good cat meme though?)

Avoid adding features just to have features

Example #2:
A few years ago I got a call from an optometrist who was looking for a new website. Several times in the conversation he mentioned that he wanted his website to be ‘edgy’ and asked me how we could make it edgy.

I’ll be honest, when I think of optometry, edgy isn’t the word that comes to mind. What comes to my mind is, “Do they take my insurance?” and “Do they have a large selection of glasses?”

So I asked, “Why do you want your optometry website to be edgy?

A lot of people would have just listed some cool functions or features that would cost a lot of money and set up the site, but I really wanted to know how edginess was going to increase leads, conversions, and revenue. And he didn’t have an answer. He just wanted to be hipper than the other doctors.

The demographic for an eye doctor’s office isn’t the same as the demographic for a hot new club or restaurant. When someone lands on the site, they have specific questions they want answered and more than likely, having bouncy or flashy features won’t be effective as a sales tool.

This isn’t to say that Sumy Designs is unwilling to do fun or cool features, we just want to do them with a purpose in mind. 🙂

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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