Stop These 5 Things to Improve Website Performance

transparent submark1

December 6, 2023

Listen anywhere podcasts are available


Podcast Chapters

Timestamps of Podcast Topics



Website Mistakes


1 – Too Many Choices


2 – Distracting Motion


Mistakes to Avoid With Website Videos


3 – Obvious Next Step


4 – Be Clear


5 – Load Speed


Natural Products Marketer Podcast

Click the links below to access podcast episode information.

Tina Smith talks about website mistakes

Featuring Guest: Tina Smith

Founder, Co-host, Natural Products Marketer Podcast

Improve website performance by avoiding these 5 mistakes.

Ever wondered why your website isn’t performing as well as you’d like? You’re not alone! Today Tina and Amanda unravel the mystery of underperforming websites and expose the five common mistakes you might be making. They’ll show you how to simplify your user interface, properly utilize Google Analytics, create compelling calls to action, and share why you might want to rethink that ‘learn more’ button.

What about website videos?

Are you guilty of overloading your site with too much motion or video content? Fear not, they’re here to guide you on the right path. They’ll arm you with handy tips on how to work with videographers to optimize your video files, how to ensure your site is mobile-friendly, and the crucial role of website load speed. Plus, they let you in on the secret to using high contrast to create multiple opportunities for user engagement.

Join us on this journey to transform your website and marketing strategy, while you improve website performance, one podcast episode at a time!


☑️ Eliminate Website Mistakes Checklist

Video Specs for Websites

⚡️ Test Your Web Speed With These Tools



📸 Resize & Compress Your Photos


Play Video

Guest Bio

Since 2014, Tina has worked with multiple natural products businesses, discovering how to market their CBD products online, without having their payment processor shut them down, to letting customers talk about their health issues those products have helped them solve. She knows first hand how experts like you offer the best products and a superior customer experience, that is why she is committed to helping you find an easy way to grow your natural product business.

Full Show Transcript


A lot of times we talk about having something that says learn more is a really bad call to action, and we’ve been saying that for years. But guess what? Now Google is saying that as well. It’s showing up in our SEO reports. If you have something that says learn more, then they’re calling it out and saying that that is not a good user experience. Welcome to the Natural Products Marketer podcast.

I’m Tina and I’m Amanda, and we’re here to make marketing easier for Natural Products businesses, so you can reach more people and change more lives.

So today we’re talking about five mistakes that most retailers are making on their websites, and I think, amanda, you want to be to hop into this, because there’s simple fixes that other people can make. You don’t need to hire someone necessarily to do this, although you can but simple changes you can make that’ll get you some big results Like you said, they are very simple.

It’s not like we’re asking you to do a total website overhaul. These are literally things you can do in just a matter of minutes that can lead to huge results for you in the future.

That’s right.

All right, so tell us what’s number one.

The first thing that we see going wrong on retailer websites is that there are too many choices. Because retailers offer so many different products, it gets distracting when you’re on their website and really what you’re looking for is to reduce the number of menu items to three, maybe four. Three is always the best practice, four is okay, and what we see a lot of times is that you’ve got a lot of calls to action like find the store, buy online, look at our coupons or flyers, here’s our blog articles, here’s our podcast, and then also people are including this link that says home in their menu, which you just don’t need anymore. You can use your logo as the button to click in order for people to get back to your home page. So I would move most of those things out, having only one call to action and other things can be like resources, like maybe your weekly flyer or something, but really it’s going to be find a store location or shop online, or maybe it’s even just a phone number, and then drop a lot of those other things down into the footer of your menu. Studies have shown behavioral science says that more than three choices means you’re going to reduce the number of people who are going to take action. So that’s the reason that we’re saying don’t have too many choices in your menu on your website.

Speaker 2: 

So reduce that down to three and then drop everything else down to the footer and I would say to kind of going back to that, you know, make sure you have a call to action, put that in a button, don’t just have, like, the thing that you want the most attention drawn, to make sure that’s in button form, so that way people are like oh, I see this big box here, click on that.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, with that high contrast color in the background. So it brings your eye over to what you are wanting your user to do. And sometimes people ask me into like what, how do we know which things are most important in my menu? What should I leave there?

Speaker 2: 

And that was my next question. How do you do the process of elimination?

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, you can test. First of all, you can always test and see what works best, and a lot of times we say test for 30 days and see what’s getting traction, what’s not. But really I think that you should add Google Analytics to your page and there are some Chrome, google Chrome add-ons where you can see which buttons or which sections of the menu are being clicked most. Or, if you know, google Analytics GA4 is now taking over and they’re doing away with the past Google Analytics and in GA4, they actually track clicks on pages. So you can then start to see, like, what pieces of your menu are being clicked on each page and that can help you decide prioritization, which things should stay in the menu and which you can drop down to the footer.

Speaker 2: 

Now for people that don’t know, one of those Chrome extensions correctly, if I’m wrong, is called a hotspot. So you can have a or is that a separate thing? Because hotspot, so you can have a visual representation of where people are clicking on your website. So anytime you have those call to action buttons, typically those will have the most hotspot around it and then you can kind of get that visual and kind of see where people’s mouses are going on their web browser.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah. So the thing about hotspots is you have to have a lot of data. So if you’re smaller, it’s probably not gonna work as an add-on or an app or something like that, because it wants thousands of visits and clicks before it starts to show you what the hotspots are on each page. So hotjar is one of those. If you do have thousands of visitors a month, absolutely you can install hotjar and you’ll be able to see where people are even spending time, not just clicking. So if their mouse is scrolling over a certain section or visually they’re staying in an area, you can see that in those hotspots there. But if you have lower traffic, then the thing I would use is Google page analytics Chrome add-on. So if you go to the Chrome add-on store, you can just Google or search for Google page analytics, install that in your browser and then it’ll show you what percentage of people are hovering and clicking over each section in your menu.

Speaker 2: 

All right, number two is distracting motion, so can you explain what that looks like?

Speaker 1: 

Yes and this is one that we see all over the place on natural product retailer sites is they put slides there because, again, there’s a lot of different types of products that are offered, either different types of supplements that are being offered, or you have some groceries alongside pet products, alongside supplements, and you’re trying to display that you offer all of these things in your store, and what happens is people put these sliders in place and then it’ll flip to another. It will flip to another and flip to another, and the problem with that is motion pulls our eyes toward it and also distracts our brains from making a decision. So what we love to see is no sliders, because typically, either if you have them and you’ve got buttons for arrows, people will not click the arrows They’ll stay on the first one anyway, which is static or if you want to show some motion and some activities, the only time that we would do that is using video to create an experience that leads your users to action, and what I mean by that is just especially if there’s a big store and you want people to see what kind of service they’re going to have when they walk in your doors and what products they can get, you can do a walkthrough, you can showcase the smiling faces of your employees and they can watch that video. That will then lead them to take an action, to come to your store or to shop online with you. But other than that, we would say pick one thing, stick with it, leave it static, because even video will reduce the load speed of your website, which can really make people hop off of your webpage and reduce your organic traffic. So if you’re going to do motion, I would do it via video. If you’re going to do that, make sure you’re showcasing an experience. Otherwise, leave it static and don’t distract people. Move them toward action instead.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, and I’m glad you touched on website load speed, which I know is on this list of mistakes that we’re seeing on websites. But I just want to touch on that a little bit in regards to video, because I personally have had this happen where I’ve tried to put a video on the top of my website and the file is just too large and so it just really ruins the user experience, and then trying to get the video to be the right size is really really challenging. So I will say just kind of just to forewarn anybody that thinks, oh, I’m going to pay like three grand to film this super professional video to be on my homepage or my website, Just keep that in mind that if that’s what you really want, that you have to work with your videographer ahead of time to say, hey, like my web designer, they really recommended it only be this file size because otherwise it’s just not going to work. So just be aware of that going into it before you spend money on a lot of video work.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, and you know what? We’re going to add this five mistakes website checklist to the podcast notes here, and what we’ll do is we’ll have a link as well to a blog article that just gives some specifications for, if you’re doing video on your website, how we think that you can compress the files to make them a little bit smaller. It’s still going to slow things down no matter what you do, because videos are large files, but there are ways to work with a videographer to let them know. I need it in this file format and compressed in this way, and you’ll want to put a different video on there for mobile too, because mobile is just more difficult for those larger files and you might even want a backup photo to use on mobile instead of the video. So we will have some resources there for you to work with a videographer. Especially if you’re spending a lot of money showcasing that customer experience, we want to make sure that the experience online also is great for your users.

Speaker 2: 

All right. So what is mistake? Number three Tina.

Speaker 1: 

So do you have a clear next step for your user to take? So we talked about this already. When we’re talking about adding a button in your menu, versus just a menu item that says shop online or find a store location, choose one thing you want your users to know exactly what the next step is to working with you or coming to shop at your store or interacting with the content on your site. Pick one, put it in that button format. Make sure it pops out by using high contrast against the background color. So if you think, if you have like a red and then you’re using an orange button, that is not very high contrast, you want it to really stick out. And I’ll tell you, like the color sensors in our eyes, when you think about using buttons, the colors that stand out the most to our eyes, or our eyes to go straight to look at them, are oranges, reds and yellows. So if you have the opportunity within your branding package to use those colors and then have a very light background behind that so it’s high contrast the eye will automatically go right to that next step and the user will be very clear about what comes next. And along with that, you definitely want that in your menu, but you also want that down the page as someone scrolls so that they always know what that next step is. So sometimes we do that with a sticky header that will follow them down the page with that button in the menu. And just remember, on mobile that doesn’t always translate because that button can pop behind a hamburger menu. So you’ll want other opportunities as someone scrolls down your homepage or any landing page to know what their next step is. We suggest that that be in a button with that high contrast and that that be in multiple places on your web page.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, I’m so glad that you touched on mobile, because that was something I was just going to bring up is that mobile is completely different and I feel like it’s just going to keep getting more and more mobile centric as time goes on. It’s like you almost have to build websites for mobile first, so just be thinking about how that looks. But yeah, the the menu is not going to function the same on your cell phone, so just be thinking about that.

Speaker 1: 

So now it won’t. And the other thing that we talk about with these calls to action is being very clear about what that step is. So a lot of times we talk about having something that says learn more is a really bad call to action, and we’ve been saying that for years. But guess what? Now Google is saying that as well. It’s showing up in our SEO reports. If you have something that says learn more, then they’re calling it out and saying that that is not a good user experience and that will drop you down in search results. It needs to be very clear what’s going to happen when someone clicks that button or whatever link it is on there. So learn more is out, according to us and according to Google and according to Behavior Science. So don’t use that anymore. Be very clear about what’s going to happen. Find a store, location, shop online, call and just be very clear about what’s going to happen when they click that button.

Speaker 2: 

I love that. I mean, it’s actually like nice, almost that Google is like, no, don’t do this. Yeah, yeah, I love that. Ok, next thing, and it kind of just piggybacks off of this whole learn more. It’s too vague, like what am I learning more about? So the next point is you know, is my message clear? You know, do the users actually know what we’re doing? If you have a button that says learn more and you’re not communicating that, well then no one’s going to click on it because they don’t even know what they’re going to learn more about anyway. So so how can, how can, people make their website and messaging more clear?

Speaker 1: 

This is a great one and it’s really hard too, because people like to be creative and clever whenever they’re creating their message, and there are a couple of pieces to it. One is for organic traffic. You have to say what you do, because this is going to be like a keyword term that someone is searching online to be able to find you, and especially for our smaller businesses, local with storefronts, it’s going to be really important that you’re clear about what you provide. If you provide help supplements, if you’re a help supplement store, make sure you have help supplements in your big headline and you want it to be in the biggest text that we call header one, and that way, google knows that that is what your entire website is about. So that’s what I mean whenever I say make it really clear for search algorithms. But when we talk about also making it clear for the consumer, people are typically spending less than three seconds on a site before they move on, and you’ll see average hangout times on web pages being three minutes or less. But if you look at the home page, it’s typically under 30 seconds and that’s an average, which means that many people are spending much less time on that. So when we look at percentages, a lot of them are spending less than three seconds on home pages, and so what you want to look at is can someone know what the value is that they’ll get, and how I’m different within three seconds or less if they are scanning this home page? And that’s what I mean whenever I say be clear? So you want to be clear for search engines and you want to be clear for the user, so that search engines can scan it with their bots and know what you’re all about and users can scan it with their eyes and quickly be able to assess with their brains. This is what they do and this is the value I get out of it. So your differentiator, or the problem that you solve, is going to be really important to have in these headlines, as well as exactly what they would search if they’re looking for a store like yours.

Speaker 2: 

One thing I was just looking at the notes here that I want you to touch on is the grunt test. What is that and how can we use that grunt test to apply to our website messaging?

Speaker 1: 

Yeah. So the grunt test totally comes from Donald Miller and Storybrand. So if you are not aware of Storybrand, I think it’s the most effective way to put marketing messaging on your website. You have to know who you’re talking to first to identify your audience. But once you identify who they are, you want to follow a formula like Storybrand, making the consumer the hero of the story and the message that you’re selling on your website. When Donald Miller talks about the grunt test, he really is talking about like caveman style and someone look at it and grunt out oh, this is what this means. And one of the examples that he uses is ask a seven or eight-year-old child if they understand what the website does just by reading the header text. So you’ve got three seconds or less. Remember that, and you want to be able to understand what that website is all about in three seconds or less. So ask a kid hey, do you know what this means? And if they say no, you probably need to get more clear, both again for search algorithms, but also for the consumer. So what you’re trying to do is really make it as easy as possible for people to understand it, because our brains are really made to survive and thrive? They’re not. They’re trying to conserve as many calories as possible, and so it’s not meant for us to really make people think too much about what they’re looking at. They’ll bounce right off, which is why you see those lower amounts of time that people are spending on home pages. They don’t have time to try to figure out what you’re trying to tell them. Three seconds or less. Do you understand it? Does it pass the ground test? If it does, if the kid can understand what you’re trying to say, then you’ve got a pretty good headline.

Speaker 2: 

Just so everyone is clear. I think that this is by far the hardest step in this, because I’ve been in this position where it’s like, well, we do so many things and we’re different things to different people. To try to put what you do in one sentence is really, really challenging. This is by far the hardest thing to do and it’s going to take obviously the most time to figure out, but it’s still worth it, because this one sentence that you put together about what you do will literally reshape your entire messaging on your website as it is right now, and just your marketing in general. I think it’s really really worth spending the time to figure out how to pass the ground test, because you can’t be all the things, even if you have supplements and grocery and pet and all the things you have to figure out. What do we do best?

Speaker 1: 

A couple of strategies that we use sometimes to get to what is that one overarching message that encompasses everything we do is. Sometimes we’ll start with individual services and map out what that story is For each of those services, and then things will bubble up to the top. That’s like oh, this is the consistent theme that we’re talking about every time that we’re writing about one of our products or services. That’s one strategy that can help you get to that clear and concise message on your homepage. The second one really is easy Talking to your top customers and saying if you could use one word to describe what we do, or one sentence to describe what we do, what would it be? Your best customers know exactly what you do. Then you can put that into your headline on your website. What else that does is attract more people like the best people that you serve. Always use your customers to help you figure out your message on your website. You’ll be astonished at how much better it works than whatever is going on in your head, because you’re probably too close to it to figure out exactly what you do.

Speaker 2: 

Last but not least and we’ve already touched on this is the website load speed. What are some things that people can do to make their load speed faster?

Speaker 1: 

First you want to test it. You can find that in Google Analytics. By the way, they now have a section where it will tell you each page and how fast it loads. If you’ve had Google Analytics on your website for at least 30 days, you’re going to have data that you can work with and you’re looking for a three-second load speed or less. But there are also a couple of tools that you can use. There’s something called gtmetricscom and it’s just spelled G-T-M-E-T-R-I-Xcom or toolspingdomcom, and you can pop your website URL into there. It’s like a little form that you use and you don’t have to give them any other data. You pop your URL in and you hit Test and then it will pull up exactly how long it takes for that site to load. And on both systems and I think with Pingdom now you have to pay for some of this information, but on gtmetrics totally free for desktop, it will list the things that you need to fix in order to increase your load speed. So if it turns out that your load speed is more than three seconds on gtmetrics it will give you a list and I’m just going to tell you I can predict what will be at the top of that list every time because people put images that are too large on their websites. The visual screens cannot pick up as many pixels as a normal photograph or something that should be in print design, but people are using large megabyte files on their websites when they really should be in the kilobyte less than 300, 200 area for your photos on your website, and they can be compressed even further than that and it’s still going to look beautiful and not grainy. So a lot of times you get people who are designing websites but they do print design and they’re using these huge images on the website that are gorgeous but will take forever to load, and that’s typically what we see is that your photos are too large. That’s the first thing to correct, and the second thing is you might have a janky hosting plan and so their servers don’t load things as quickly as they should.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, and I just know that, when it comes to photos, even your cell phone is taking very large photos Like, yes, probably a minimum of three megabytes is is pretty standard now, just because phone quality has gotten so much better. But so even if you’re like, oh well, I’m just taking it on my iPhone and not using a fancy DSLR camera, it doesn’t matter, still be compressing those files.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, for sure, and there’s a website that we love. So if you’re not a designer and you don’t have all of the Photoshop equipment or whatever else software in order to resize photos, there’s a website called Iloveimgcom. You can upload photos there. You can crop them and resize them and compress them and then upload them onto your website. It makes it super easy even for non-designers to go in there and fix those things. But while we’re talking about this, the tools that I mentioned to measure whether or not your website is loading quickly or not are going to look at desktop. That’s the free version. What you really want to do is look at mobile, because mostly people are going to websites via mobile, especially if you’re a store, because here’s how people are finding you. This is why you must be on Google my Business. If you’re a storefront, they’re going to Google Maps and they’re doing a search term for supplements or whole food or whatever it is that you’re offering. That is how they’re finding your website. Then they’ll click to your website. And on mobile, if it takes too long to load, most of the time, even if your desktop speed is fine, under three seconds, your mobile speed is not doing well. We’ve seen 11-second load speeds and that’s just too long for someone, especially if they’re on their phone and they’re ready to come shop at your store. You want to make sure that that’s super fast. You’re going to want to test on mobile. Those tools, if you pay for them, can show you how to do that. Or on desktop, you can right click in Google Chrome. Google has this tool called Lighthouse, where it will load up your accessibility, seo data and how fast that website’s loading on mobile, which is a great thing. All right.

Speaker 2: 

Those are the five mistakes. Any final thoughts, Tina, to just sum it up for the people listening yeah, you know what I think.

Speaker 1: 

If there’s a hierarchy of these things, start with number five. That load speed is going to be everything, because Google is telling us, for every second over three seconds of load speed, you’re losing 30% of your traffic. Wow About that. Like 10 people coming to your website, three of them are walking away if it’s over three seconds. So the hierarchy please choose that. First Make sure that your website is loading quickly and then everything else is going to work a lot better, because all of the other pieces that we’re talking about are conversion tools. What speed does for you is it’s going to bring more traffic to your website because you’re going to be served up an organic search more often. Google does highly rate how fast your website loads as to whether or not they’ll serve you up in search. So you’re going to serve up more, you’re going to get more traffic and the traffic that comes will stay. So that was the most important to work on first. All righty guys, we’ll see you next time.

Speaker 2: 

All right, thanks. Thanks so much for listening to the Natural Products Marketer Podcast. We hope you found this episode to be super helpful. Make sure you check out the show notes for any of those valuable resources that we mentioned on today’s episode.

Speaker 1: 

And, before you go, we would love for you to give us a review. Follow, like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you’re listening today, and make sure you join us for our next episode, where we give you more marketing tips so that you can reach more people and change more lives.