Oreo Thins, Corn Dogs and Your Sucky Website
The Red Velvet Oreo, like the corn dog before it, is an abomination.
The corn dog takes foods that are oh-so-good on their own, delicious buttery cornbread and all-American hot dogs, and turns them into a horrible, Frankenstein mess. It’s one of the few instances ever where frying a food made it worse. The Red Velvet Oreo and its newest companion, the Oreo Thin, come from the same mindset of over-complicating what should be a simple pleasure.
For over 100 years Oreo has been making delicious sandwich cookies. For most of that time, you knew what you were getting with an Oreo; chocolate cookie, vanilla creme, and perfect deliciousness. It’s only in their recent history they’ve been cluttering the supermarket shelves with increasingly bizarre variations on the winning theme. It seems as though there’s a different Oreo for every day of the week: Lemon Oreos, Green Tea Oreos, and even S’more Oreos (very Meta, a cookie flavored cookie). Now with great fanfare, Oreo announces their latest creation: Oreo Thins-now with less cookie! You have to be careful when you’re shopping or you might inadvertently grab a bag of Blue Cheese Oreos.
What Does This Have To Do With My Website?
Your website isn’t really that much different. Ideally, the experience for your website visitors should be pretty straightforward. Your website can’t be all things to all people, and it shouldn’t be overcomplicated. In order to be effective, your website needs to focus on its core mission. That mission can be getting someone to sign up for your newsletter, capturing leads for your business or converting shoppers into buyers. If there are too many things going on, in most cases nothing will get done.
Think of all those websites that you’ve seen with multiple sliders, various Twitter and Facebook feeds, email signup forms and persistent popups. Individually, each of those things has their place, but in aggregate they’re overkill. Like in situations when there’s too many Oreo variations, most people will stick with what’s simplest. People will look for an online experience that’s clear and simple to use. If this describes your cluttered website, take heart, you can make things better.
How Can I Fix This?
Start by focusing on the goal. If your goal is email signups, do things on your site that move site visitors in that direction. Your calls to action should reflect signing up for an email, calling for a quote or liking your Facebook page. If you’re launching a new product, focus on the new item, not everything in your catalog. If you have an e-commerce site, everything you do should be focused on adding items to the cart and avoiding cart abandonment. Your process should make the buying experience as smooth as possible.
When you start with the goal of your website in mind, whatever that goal is, it’s easy to avoid doing too many things at once. Keeping your website streamlined allows you to build it with the functionality you need, maximizing conversions and minimizing costs.