Website Features You Don’t Really Need

That barrage of options and possibilities can be hard to resist, which is why so many websites begin to look more like Frankenstein’s monster than Prince Charming. All of those website features — the widgets and toolkits and plugins — begin to add up.

website designs, website features

You may think you’re a marketer by day and a consumer by night, but considering the number of marketing tools, services, experts, and ideas we’re bombarded with every day, we’re consumers even while wearing our marketing hats.

That barrage of options and possibilities can be hard to resist, which is why so many websites begin to look more like Frankenstein’s monster than Prince Charming. All of those website features — the widgets and toolkits and plugins — begin to add up.

It’s true that some live up to their promise, but all that noise these features create can blunt the effectiveness of your site.

Put more bluntly, you think you want website features. What you really want is effectiveness. Here’s how to keep your website on track.

Evaluate Web Marketing Tools Individually

Begin by evaluating any new feature you are tempted to include against your goals. Which goal(s) will it help you reach and what effort and resources will reaching those goals require? In other words, establish an expected ROI for the tool that you can measure its contribution against.

Evaluate Web Marketing Tools as a Whole

Examine the effort and resources mentioned above should also lead you to reviewing the new tool in relation to existing tools already in place. Is the new tool a 1:1 replacement of an existing tool? If so, can you A/B test them against one another?

Will the new tool work in tandem with an existing tool? Will it have an impact on that tool’s effectiveness? Is there still a net gain overall?

Evaluate Web Marketing Tools from Your Audience’s Perspective

Part of the ROI calculations above have to include audience attitudes and expectations. It would be great to know each prospect’s budget right from the start, but a new tool that asks for that information is going to drive your traffic down. Way, way down.

Real-world examples aren’t going to be that cut-and-dried, which circles us back to the idea of testing new tools whenever possible before implementing them across your entire marketing plan.

The One Feature Your Website Really Needs

More than anything else, you want a nimble website. One that helps you present a relevant message to each audience segment. One that speaks to prospects at each step in their buying cycle. One that encourages engagement and provides you with the opportunity to connect with prospects as they near their decision point.

Add all the bells and whistles you think will be effective, but track their impact on your web marketing metrics and make sure they support your ultimate goal — conversions.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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