In this episode, Steli and Hiten look at 3 websites and provide important, specific feedback. Steli and Hiten give their thoughts regarding the home pages and share their overall experience. Some of the key lessons to be learned in this episode is that your value proposition needs to be clearly shown and that you should always evaluate how you are communicating that value in your written content.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 00:09 – Today’s episode is a special episode about website tear down
- 00:30 – Listeners submitted their website and asked Steli and Hiten for their feedback
- 01:01 – Hiten and Steli take a look at Get Swip:
- 01:45 – Hiten asks what a “Lean Coach” is
- 02:16 – The website does not explain what the “lean” means and what the benefits are
- 03:11 – Registration page should be more specific
- 06:40 – The value should be communicated more clearly
- 07:05 – Next website they evaluate is Live Tiles:
- 07:29 – The background of the homepage is a video and it is distracting
- 10:01 – The page is too busy
- 10:13 – The “.nyc” is interesting because it looks like a local business
- 10:49 – It does not quickly sell the product
- 11:35 – Words like “infinite engagement” does not really mean anything
- 12:30 – Advice is to go back to the customer and ask for how they’d describe the service
- 16:15 – Hiten and Steli look at Inapptics:
- 16:34 – Based on the name, they look like analytical tools
- 17:10 – Put the form in a more accessible place instead of down below the page
- 18:00 – The value proposition should be more specific
- 19:30 – The website looks old
- 20:51 – There is nothing about the team and their credibility
- 23:26 – This is only Part 1 of The Website Tear Down
3 Key Points:
- In making a website, it is important to be clear about the value that you are selling.
- Do NOT make your page too busy—it’ll negatively affect user experience.
- Ask your customers what they think about your business and use their words.
Hiten: Okay, sounds good.
Steli: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.
Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.
Steli: And in today’s episode of The Startup Chat we’re gonna have a special episode which is gonna be a website tear down episode. So all of you out there, we asked for submissions a few days ago and we got a ton of people submitting their websites, asking Hiten and I to just look at the site and and provide feedback and tear it down and be hypercritical and very, very honest. And that’s what we’re gonna do this morning. It’s just gonna be going through one website after the other that you guys submitted and we’ll try to be as useful and helpful in providing feedback. All right Hiten, you want to take it away and take a look at the first website submitted?
Hiten: Absolutely. This website is called Swip, it’s getswip.com. So, it’s G-E-T-S-W-I-P dot com. And right when I hit the site on the right there’s a big picture of a MacBook and it looks like it’s got some interface. On the left it says “Lean Coach For Your Team: The guidance and tools you need to run your business Lean.” “Get it for” and then it says “$6.99” and then crosses it off and it says “free.” And then next to that that’s the button and then next to that it says “How it works.” And then there’s a “Offer available for limited time. 600+ people already claimed their free account. Claim yours now using the button above.” So that’s what shows up on the main page, it’s like a nice big, blue page. Well first of all, the first thing that hits me is that it says it’s a lean coach for your team. Right away I’m like “well what’s a lean coach?” That’s already something that registers for me and makes me confused about what this product does. Then it says “The guidance and tools you need to run your business Lean.” That gets a little better but it’s not that much better because I still might not know what running my business lean means. There’s a caveat. My caveat is that people are coming to this site from a traffic source or a place where they understand what a lean coach is or understand what lean means, maybe this kind of tagline would work. This also doesn’t really speak the benefits too much of what the benefit of what this product is or, again, what a lean coach is. So, if you’re planning on leaving “Lean Coach For Your Team” as the title ’cause you think it’s going to pull in curiosity, my advice would be in the sub headline at least explain what a lean coach is. That’s the very least I would do. The best I would do is actually talk about the benefit of what a lean coach does for you. Otherwise, you’re just using the word “lean” over and over again and people might not know what it means. Then there’s a “How it works” and I click a button and there’s some video there, which is cool. When I click the “Registration” it actually opens a new window which is an interesting tactic, and the registration window opens and there’s like a sign-up box. There’s one thing that you’re doing there that I should … Oh yeah, there we go. Okay, it just says “Tell us more about you” on that registration page. Just as a quick side note, I would definitely get more specific on that page. Then lower down it says “Experience the power of Lean.” It’s got a bunch of boxes and then again a “Get it for $6.99” crossed out “Get it for free” is what it says. Steli, do you want to get some comments in?
Steli: Yeah, so I know this gentleman, so I’m glad that I’m second. Also, as a caveat for anybody out there who doesn’t like my feedback, I’m still fairly fresh out of knee surgery and I’m under pain medication so if I seem delirious or if you don’t like my feedback, maybe it’s that. With it I’m just gonna be extra honest to you and give you the truth even in a better way. So I know this gentleman. It’s a great guy and it’s a great person. So I’m a little bias because I like him, but I also have to say that my problem here is that on this site on the homepage, I find the pitch confusing because at parts he assumes I already know what lean means and he’s telling me he can coach me, and at parts he’s pitching me on why lean is great and what it is. So I think the pitch is a little confused. Is the site for people already sold on the concept of lean, or is this page for somebody who doesn’t know what it is and first you want to sell me on Lean as a business philosophy, and then you want to sell me on your tool. But you’re absolutely right. I think my main gripe is that the main pitch here when I go on the site is it says, “Lean Coach For Your Team: The guidance and tools you need to run your business Lean.” And to me this is missing the value proposition. What does this … Why is this valuable? What does it exactly mean? What does coaching even mean? I’m confused if this is a person that’s gonna be calling me once a week and giving me advice. But I also see software so it seems like this is a software tool that seems a little bit like trailer tool for projects. So I’m just not sure what will I get and what is the real value. Why should I use this versus do it myself or read a book or do something else? It doesn’t really spell it out, it doesn’t really sell me on the value proposition. It’s gonna sell me between using Lean as a philosophy and there’s a coaching tool here that will help me do that, but it doesn’t tell me what it is and why it’s gonna help me do it … In what way? Better? Faster? Cheaper? What is the value of using this tool versus not? I think that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of really selling this. The other thing is here, this is nitpicking, but I’ll still do it. There’s a section that says, “You’re in good company” and it shows a bunch of logos from well-known companies. And in this case, because it comes right under a bunch of stuff about how Lean works, I am actually not sure if this means these are his customers or if this means these are other companies that use Lean business philosophies. And I know this is gray zone and it’s fine. Lots of companies and lots of websites do this where “As seen in the press” but it’s not them seen in the press, it’s whatever something related to them seen in the press. But I’m always wondering in this context if I’m being misled or not. So yeah I think that the design is nice and clean. There’s lots here to like but I think that the main thing is he needs to think about what the core value prop is and he needs to communicate the elevator pitch. What is this? Who is this for and why is this valuable in a much clearer way?
Hiten: Yep, agreed.
Steli: All right.
Hiten: I don’t have much else to add.
Steli: Yeah, let’s go to the next one. All right.
Steli: So the next website is from a person I don’t know, I think. So the site is called Live Tiles, and the URL is basically it’s spelled L-I-V-E-T-I-L-E-S dot N-Y-C. Never seen a .nyc URL, this is kinda cool.
Steli: It’s a dot new york URL. So, and I don’t know if I spell it correctly, Live Tiles. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be spelled. So when I go on this site, the first thing that hits me, which is something that I don’t like personally, is that they have this massive … The background of almost the entire homepage is a kind of background video that is playing. And overly above that is kind of the value prop and sentence and another “Play” button and a “Trial” button. But in the background there’s kind of a video playing, and I know that I’ve seen a bunch of people do this, but I’m not sure I’m a fan. It’s very distracting. It’s very hard for me to read what you’ve written on top of a video and to click a button on top of a video because things are constantly moving and my eyes kind of distracted. So, I’m not a huge fan of this and I’d be very curious … When I see this, I’m very concerned that you haven’t really done any A/B testing. I’d be very curious to hear if somebody had truly tested and proven that if massive video background playing is getting the better conversions than maybe an image or just text or something that’s simpler, cleaner, and quieter, more focused for the visitor. So, I’m very skeptical on this tactic. Despite that, okay so when I read Live Tiles, it says “Your digital workplace.” The main proposition is “Your digital workplace made simple.” Okay, I have no idea what that means. “All employees, multiple apps, one platform. Create a digital workplace with zero coding and infinite engagement.” I like that. I like the word “infinite engagement,” that’s cool. Okay, I still don’t really know what it is and if I zero in on the video instead of the words, it shows a bunch of people working in a cool office. They’re sketching things out on paper, but then there is … Seems like it’s kind of like a thing … Oh yeah, now I see it. It’s kind of like a page that has kind of multiple areas, like a collateral ideas workspace and people can put things in there. Like, almost like the old Google pages or something like that when you could have multiple apps on one page. But I might be totally wrong. This is my first impression when I’m on here. Then the button basically … There’s a “Play” button which is also curious to me because I’m like there’s already a video playing in the background. What am I going to get? Maybe I’m going to get sound? I’m not sure. And then “Get a free trial.” There’s a button and then below that it says, “Credit card free. Commitment free.” So, my problem here is that this page is way too busy for me. If I watch the entire video and I read all the words, I still don’t have any idea what this is. The .nyc URL is interesting because it immediately makes me think this is a local business. Maybe it is an ad agency or a consultancy or a web dev shop. That’s what I think. That’s what was my first associations. Oh, this is a business. It’s very local in New York. So, what could that be? It must be a services business, but it doesn’t seem to be. I seem to be wrong. It seems to just be like an online tool to put different things you’re working on in there. Different apps or gadgets or … I’m not really sure. Yeah man, it looks cool. I think that the people who put this together put a lot of love in making this video and this site look really nicely designed and really cool and lots of stuff going on. But it fails the main purpose of the page for a new visitor, which is quickly selling me on the value proposition of what it is. I have no idea, and now I would keep scrolling to find out and explore, but in most cases I would just leave, but in this case I would try to find out more, but I’ll just pass it on to you, Hiten. I’m curious to hear what you have to say.
Hiten: Yeah, I obviously agree with a lot of the stuff that you’re saying around the video and the vagueness of the copy. Even the “Get a free trail” button, “Credit card free. Commitment free.” All these things are … A lot of it’s very generic. For me, whenever I see copy that says “simple” it really makes me cringe because I don’t understand what “simple” is just by reading the word. And things like “infinite engagement” … it’s cute, I agree with you. It’s interesting.
Steli: It is cute. It doesn’t say anything.
Hiten: It’s curious. Yeah, you got it.
Steli: It doesn’t say anything, right? But I just thought it’s cute. I’ve never heard anybody promise that.
Hiten: Yeah, me either. “Infinite engagement” it sounds like some kind of … Yeah, I don’t even know what. So, from an advice standpoint, I would look at this and say, “Okay, these people probably haven’t talked to their customers and figured out how the customers describe their product. So the tip I’d give is, if you think words like “simple,” “infinite engagement” … Those are words that you’re using in your copy, go back to your customer and ask them, “Is it simple? Why do you think it’s simple?” If they use the word “infinite engagement” which I doubt, then I’m proven wrong. But I doubt that your customers are using words like that. So one of the easiest tricks is go back to your customer, figure out words they’re using to describe your product, and you’ll come up with better copy. So, it doesn’t look like this team has done that yet. And then there’s a bunch of stuff below around like “Live Tiles for share point,” “Live Tiles cloud.” And there’s again a little more generic terminology there, too. “All in one software to connect to spare up business systems for a seamless daily experience across devices.” But what kind of daily experience? And then it finally gets to something where I’m like okay maybe I get this. It says, “Create beautifully engaging sites on Share Point and Office 365. So I think you’re right, Steli, it’s something about sites. And then on the Live Tiles Cloud is says something about “Create team spaces.” And it even talks about eliminating red tape and dev delays and things like that. So I feel like some of the copy below is a lot more specific and a lot of that language could be used higher up. But I’m still pretty vague on what this actually is. And then as I get into the API integration tools and go lower down the page, it does get a little better in terms of “okay, I know what I can connect with,” but honestly, I don’t see the benefit here. I don’t see what actually people are doing with this product and what benefit is has for me. It’s a digital workspace, really workplace, and you really want to call it that, what does that even mean? Like, isn’t the Internet a digital workplace? Aren’t we already all on the digital workspace, or workplace? So, it just feels very generic and vague and doesn’t really speak to any benefits. Maybe it does in a couple sentences below but it could just be a lot stronger and pull people in a lot more if it was much more clear on the value prop. In the case of something like this, I might even include like specific customer quotes that hit a your value prop right on the homepage, ’cause that could be really helpful in explaining what you do when it seems like this is something that people have to actually use and create things with.
Steli: I love that. So, I love the two tips. These are both really big ones. Talk to your customers and find out how they describe your service, why they loved it, how it solved their problem, how they would summarize the value proposition to a colleague or a friend or somebody else. I doubt, I’ll put money on they won’t say “it’s a digital workplace made simple. I get infinite engagement with zero coding.” Those are not the ways they are going to talk about this. This is the ways that we marketers and salespeople might talk about this because it just sounds cool. But, talk to you customers. Listen to them use their words, and then use their examples. When you scroll down, there’s some cool logos here, some really large brands and corporations that they say are their customers. And I love that it’s “Our customers,” so it’s very specific, I know exactly what it means.
Steli: So, I’m like, “Shoot, some companies are using this.” And it seems like they are legit, that this is being used by lots of people, so tell me more about those use cases. I have no idea who is the customer here. Is it the marketing person? Is it an executive? Who’s buying this? Which teams and … It looks like it’s for larger corporations. Is it for ad agencies? Who’s the customer? Is it for me or not? There’s a lot of open questions here. It seems like they have a cool product. It seems like people buy it, but I would definitely … I think there’s still lots of potential here. And again, this video thing, I’d love to hear anybody … if anybody out there has done A/B testing and seen like a massive overlay background video on a homepage converts a lot better, I want to learn about that ’cause I might just be bias but I hate it. It’s so busy, it’s so hard for me to concentrate. Everything else on the page is much cleaner and nicer when I scroll down so I like that much better.
Hiten: Yep, agreed.
Steli: All right, let’s move on to the next one. There you go.
Hiten: All right, this one is called Inapptics, and it’s I-N-A-P-P-T-I-C-S dot com. And I’m gonna jump right in. Right when I hit the homepage, it says “Visually analyze actual user behavior. We aggregate all user interaction events in your mobile app and turn them into proactive and meaningful intelligence.” So I already kinda guessed something like this just based on the name. Again, the name is Inapptics, I-N-A-P-P-T-I-C-S dot com. And it looks like it’s like an analytics tool for understanding what people are doing inside of mobile apps. It looks like they have “Heat Maps,” “Screen Flows,” something called “Insights” that’s coming soon, and “Crash Replays.” It says “Seamless integration.” Then they have a bunch of testimonials and then something at the bottom that say “I want to try it. Free sign up.” So, and there’s also a video somewhere in there. Right below the fold and the “Learn more” on the homepage, the button takes me straight to the video ’cause there’s a big “Learn more” call to action. I’d actually consider making that a sign-up button. So it takes people to the sign-up page or since you have a form below and this is an invite-only data, I’d actually just put the form higher up and let people sign up right away instead of hitting the “Learn more” just ’cause it’s likely you’ll get more sign-ups ’cause your sign-up form is all the way at the bottom, which is not that useful compared to putting it at the top. There’s some copy that says “We’ll send you an invitation email as soon as a spot is available” and stuff like that. If you’re in … I like to call it “early access,” I don’t like to call it “beta.” I know that these folks are calling it “beta.” The whole site is just a one-page site, it looks like. Although there’s like an FAQ page that looks separate, yeah, but everything else is a one-page site. One of the things that I would say here is just like, the company’s in early access. People aren’t really able to use the product from a general availability standpoint. When a business is like that, you really have to sell your value proposition much more specifically and help people understand how your software might be different than other software out there. Or you could be super mysterious and not say much about it, so you have two options. The option here, or what these folks are doing is they’re just being really specific as if the site’s already launched, and then they’re saying, “Actually, hold on, it’s in beta.” Again, when you do this stuff, it’s much better to be very specific about, oh, this is what’s going on with our business, this is where we’re at, and going from there. Otherwise, I think the copy could be so much better aligned with what I just said. Talking the value prop and all that, and one of the reasons is, these people are in a space that’s super crowded and so when you’re in a space that’s super crowded, it’s like, “How is this different than like the ten other tools that are out there that help me do this?” ‘Cause if I’m a mobile app developer, it’s likely I’m coming here and I know about the other tools, so why would I sign up for your tools, especially when it’s in beta when there’s probably like five other tools out there that I already know about that I could sign up for and they’re probably free.
Steli: Yeah, I totally agree with you, and Hit is … You’re really a big expert in this field because you have two companies that do analytics in one way or another for apps, right? Or for websites.
Steli: And you advised lots and lots of them so you’ve competed with the best of them, so you’re a real … You’re the real source of truth on this stuff. To me, I just have two comments on this website and one is, it looks a little old. My first impression when I go on this is this was not done … This page was not designed and launched in 2017, maybe not even in 2016, and I might be wrong but it just feels like a site that has been around for a year or a little longer. It looks a little old, it looks like something … I don’t know, maybe it’s the design. Something about this tells me this page has been around for a hot minute, and that in itself gives me a little bit of pause. I’m like okay, this look … And I might be totally wrong, right and you might have just designed this this morning, but it looks to me … It doesn’t look fresh, it doesn’t look up-to-date with how new pages, new websites look like, but it looks like a very new service. So, that’s the first thing that I’m like, “Has this been around for a real long time and just not get launched? What is going on here?” The second thing is credibility, right? So you have some user love here but obviously these are still very small, individual users from unknown companies. So that’s fair, that’s cool, that’s normal. I don’t hate on that but I’m wondering, there’s nothing about who are the people who are building this. So maybe you’re not that … I would try to see is there something more impressive that you could do here in terms of credibility. So, maybe you still have a very small test user pool and maybe the test user pool is full of people that are still very kind of small app developers that are not well known. Fine, okay So, then I’m asking, “Who’s the team? What’s the team like? What’s your background? Have you worked in large companies? Have you worked at any really massive global app? Have you worked at any analytics company that’s really well-known? Is there some kind of good, well-known credibility that the team has that we can put on display? If that’s not there, then I’m thinking, “Okay, what else of credibility is there? Have you participated in an accelerator that maybe some people know? Have you gone to a university that’s well-known? Have you gotten any kind of article? Any kind of credibility I think is important since this is an early access thing or beta thing. I’m wondering, “Okay, you have an app, a mobile app analytics tool. Who are you? Why are you guys even good? Why should I use your thing? Why should I trust it?” And it’s all about showing me and communicating to me that there’s a really … To me the most important thing would be that there’s a really strong team behind this and that you guys are really amazing at this. And there’s many ways to communicate that. If you have amazing companies already using it, there’s one way to communicate that or sell me on that. If you’ve gotten a lot of press, if you’re associated with an amazing accelerator or investor, if you’ve gotten lots of press and attention or if you’re backgrounds and your history in terms of where you’ve worked has been really impressive. But something … You need to sell me on this, and if I look at our user’s log in Inapptics, the people that say nice things in there, it’s not enough for me to go, “Wow, these guys are killers and they an incredible amount of credibility. So, I would just see if I can … Whatever you can do to add more to it and if you can … If you’re like, “This is the first thing we’ve ever done. We’re super young. We haven’t gone to school. We haven’t gone through an incubator. We haven’t gotten prizes. We don’t have any of that.” Well, then I would just do whatever you can to add some more credibility or at least add some more user stories or make these user stories more detailed or more impressive or find the people that are users that have done impressive things and highlight it. Tell me if any of your users has lots and lots success with the app because they got millions of downloads or millions of active users. Communicate that somehow. Credibility is definitely what, to me, what’s lacking on this page. I want to know that you guys are real amazing at this stuff and I don’t see any of that.
Hiten: Yeah, I agree.
Steli: All right, I think we’re gonna wrap up the website tear down, part one in this episode, but every time we ask for submissions for stuff for Hiten and I to look at and give feedback and tear down, we get lots of responses. So, I think we got 30 or 40 websites and we got a bunch of other things, pitched ex, and blog posts, and all kinds of things from you submitted. So, thank you guys for that, and also, we’re probably gonna do this more regularly, but since we have a huge list of more websites, look out for an episode 2 of website tear downs, but this is it from us for this episode.
Hiten: See ya.