When the kids, my husband and I squish together on our miniature couch to watch TV, it’s hard for all of us to agree on what to watch. We usually land on “Tiny House Nation,” because it keeps all parties interested. This year we squished a little more into a tiny-house experience — landing us all in a Silver Spartan Trailer in someone’s backyard in downtown Austin, Texas. And we all lived to tell about it.
If you didn’t know, the tiny-house crusade is a structural and social movement that advocates living simply in incredibly small homes.
But what intrigues me most about “Tiny House Living” is how the show’s host manages to help people part with what they don’t need to prepare for a new way of living.
At Blue Star Design, we’ve started using similar strategies to help clients pare down and focus on the content they need when they are redeveloping website content. In today’s world, the online conversation has to happen faster than ever, and on smaller devices. There’s not a lot of room — or a lot of time — to say what you need to say to get someone to click and convert. And the only way to do it is to say it with less.
Say less better.
And say less quicker.
Here are some tips that help our clients start thinking tiny for a big splash:
1. Pare down and focus
When we arrived at the Spartan, we instantly fell in love with the spunky little space. And when I say little, I mean little. Our family happens to be small in stature, so we fit quite well in that metal hovel. But many of our friends and family members wouldn’t be able to stand upright in it. That vacation site is definitely not for everyone. And neither is your website.
You have to decide who NEEDS to be in your site vs. who you WANT to be in your site. You may WANT to invite the entire world — but you really NEED to focus on the clients you serve best.
The best way to do this is to grab your client list and start virtually sorting them into boxes — the fewer boxes, the better. The idea is to find commonalities among those you serve.
Then label your boxes. By segmenting your clients into groups, you’ll know which ones to focus on most. Anyone who doesn’t fit in a box with others stays behind. They are more than welcome to visit, but you don't build a special space to accommodate them.
2. Downsize yes; stuff and squeeze no
Just like in your home, it’s super easy to amass things on your website that you think you need: rotating headers, fly-out navigation, pop-up form requests, etc. More than likely you've added all of this to impress viewers. But users end up spending a lot of time navigating all the glitz and glimmer when they simply want to find what they are looking for.
Tiny living is about living simply — not about stuffing everything you own in a smaller area. It’s about downsizing your materials to upsize the experience.
Start with a few reductions. Downsize seven or eight main menu items to just five. You’ll help lead the viewer through a comfortably organized buying journey. Creating too many choices can make viewers indecisive and bounce them right out of your site.
3. Don’t overdo it
While simplifying your site navigation, subtract distractions from your homepage content. Do users really need ten choices — milk, cookies, juice, beer, an ice cream cone, popcorn, a hamburger, a bed, a shower, a dip in the pool?
Cut that down. Ask your visitors if they want food or rest and then lead them to the next choice.
Keep your calls-to-action simple. Make it clear where to click and what they’ll see. Present only your best choices.
Think about why people choose to work with you:
- Maybe you offer same-day appointments, and your competitors don't. Have them register for an appointment right from the home page.
- Maybe you have the most experience out of your competitors. Get viewers to read a case study ASAP.
- Maybe you work faster than your competitors. Say it up front — don’t beat around the bush.
By the time clients hit your site, they already know what they want: tell them why they should choose you and do it quickly and simply.
Understand you are never done. You will amass more content. You will write lots of blog posts. You might master social posting. You will win more clients, and you might just need a bigger house someday. But you’ll still need to repeat the process above to lead new viewers through a comfortably organized buying journey.
Time to update your site? Not sure?