Why Smaller Websites Perform Better Than Larger Ones

Posted 16.09.2021

By Steven Titchener

When creating a new website for your business, it’s natural to think

‘The more information I have about the business the better’

But in reality, this isn’t the case. And the reason for this is the wonderful psychological phenomenon of the paradox of choice.

What is the paradox of choice?

The paradox of choice, sometimes known as choice overload, is in essence a term used for when people are overloaded with the amount of choice they have. This in turn, causes them to make no choice at all.

This is why it is considered a paradox. Rational thinking would suggest that giving people lots of different choices so they can find the one that suits them best would be the best option. After all, we aren’t all looking for the exact same thing, especially in websites where every client’s site, even within the same industry, are going to be made and written differently.

However when it comes down to the decision making process, we aren’t rational beings. We are still animals at heart, and you know what animals don’t like? Expending unnecessary energy.

So what happens is you present your user loads of information and choices about all of the services you offer and what happens in each of those services, thinking that the end user will love it and be able to make a rational choice from all of that. But in turn, the user’s brain says ‘this is too much information to take in, it will take a lot of time and energy, it’s not worth it’.

Thus the user leaves your site without making any decision at all and you’ve potentially lost a customer.

How can we fix this?

That’s a great question and it comes down to more than just a website, sometimes fixing a paradox of choice can come down to your business as a whole.

But let’s just focus on the website for now.

The best option here is to go smaller, and as many business gurus proclaim, niche down. You want to be thinking about:

  • What are the core business services
  • What is the base level of information a user needs
  • How can we guide them

These three questions are the basic building blocks of creating a high performing website already, so when thinking about them in this context, you want to be really nailing down the absolute minimum that the users needs and the business does.

Top tips

There are a few process and base ideas you can use to make sure your website is on the right track, because as we said earlier, every website is different!

Tip 1 – The rule of 3

3 is a magic number, we all know this by now right? It’s also a great place to aim for with your website to keep the amount of choice down.

With this you want to try and make sure there are no more than 3 options in your navigation for the users. And don’t add dropdown menus on top of dropdown menus to compensate for the fewer main options. Just stick with the theory and offer only 3 pages, otherwise you are going to come up against choice overload again.

Tip 2 – Priorities

It’s hard to set priorities with a website, you want to make sure you are getting the value of your business across to the users, but as we’ve discussed, that can actually be to your detriment.

So set priorities for the website and the content held within. There is a quick process for this as well, it’s called a wishlist. We use this wishlist in our Growth Driven Design process as well and it works wonders!

How this works is to put EVERYTHING you want on the website into a list. Then add 2 columns, one with desireabillity and one with doability. Now rate each of the items in your list 1-15 for each of these columns. Then count up the final scores and there you have it, the priority list for your website.

There is obviously a lot more you can do with this and getting the focus right is important, but that is an entire workshop, not just a tip in a blog post.

Tip 3 – Niche

You’ve heard it all before, but a niche is important for your users to be able to truly understand what you offer and to trust that you are great at that. It also starts to reduce the amount of content you need on your website.

With this in mind you can start to think about what it is that your business really does? Look back at all the work you’ve done, service or products you’ve sold and see which takes the majority (or even which 2). Now you’ve got an idea of your niche, so focus on promoting that on your website.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else, but you need to make it easy for your users to decide to go with you, and after you’ve built trust with them you can sign them up for more services later on as they need them.

Imagine you were in their shoes, would it make more sense to go with a company that focuses on building amazing websites (hint hint) or a company that does websites, sells courses and is a football team? Ridiculous example I know, but without a focus, that is how a user sees a business.

Tip 4 – Guide the user

Let’s say you do need quite a lot of detail about your product or service, it might be something very technical or incredibly niche that requires that information to understand.

Well in that case, you need to put a lot more emphasis into guiding a user to the right information for them, at the right time.

This can be done in a few different ways, but my favourite is a quiz. 

Create a quiz on your website to understand where the user is on their buying journey, what they are looking for at that time and what might be useful to them. Then at the end of it, you can present them 3 options that should be relevant, this could be a service, a blog article and a contact form for example.

Doing this though is going to help the user navigate your website easier and help them make decisions more effectively.

Tip 5 – Growth driven design

I spoke about it earlier in this post and have even already written a great post (if I do say so myself) about it, but Growth Driven Design is one of the best options for helping create that smaller site.

It all starts with a launchpad website that contains the essentials that you will need to convey your business to your audience.

Then every month you review your website and start to understand what users are looking for, then work on those areas to make sure your website is perfect for every user that visits, has the right information for them and is converting for you.

If you are looking to get a website redesign then look no further and get in touch with us today.

 

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