You may have run into a website welcome mat once or twice already but not known what they were called. That happened to me so I did a lot of research on them.
My first instinct when I run into a website welcome mat is “ugh”. It hasn’t changed since because many of them are executed poorly and slow down the website (make them unusable!). That sets the mood for my recommendation below but there is more to it than that.
So, before we get into any more of the details, time to learn what a website welcome mat is.
What A Website Welcome Mat Is
You know what a welcome mat is. You know, the mat that sits in front of a door before you enter. You’re welcomed with a brief message and you can’t do anything more until you are let in or turned away.
Well, a website welcome mat is similar yet different. It’s a huge full-page welcoming on a specific page or on your entire website. You aren’t just welcomed with a message, though. You’re propositioned before you even get to any content.
The purpose of a website welcome mat is to present visitors with a call to action they can’t ignore when they land on your website. It could ask you to sign up for a newsletter, to receive something cool, or whatever!
The only two ways to get past it is to fill out the lead form or close the full-page welcome mat.
They typically function the same way whether on a desktop or mobile device. That means visitors can dismiss them similarly by either tapping “no thanks” or the down arrow at the bottom of the window.
That’s what a website welcome mat is for better or for worse. Now it’s time to cover the better and worse of why you may or may not want to use a website welcome mat.
There are some benefits to a website welcome mat. The primary benefit is that they convert exceptionally well. Visitors can’t help but see it and they can’t move forward until they’ve interacted with it in some way.
Visitors can’t become distracted by content, navigation, or anything else. There’s only a small amount of copy and a call to action to interact with so they are guaranteed to see your message.A website welcome mat helps remove distractions for visitors. They only see your call to action. Click To Tweet
No distractions, just your request.
It’s a simple way to tell people exactly what you want of them before they get to your content.
AppSumo tried a website welcome mat that was extremely simple. Their experiment showed their website welcome mat was three times more effective at getting email sign-ups than other conversion methods.
An increase in conversions is great but there is more to look at in the equation than just the conversion rate.
Websites are more complex than most people know. That’s part of the reason a free website creator is rarely as good as it sounds (or looks).
If conversions were the only aspect of a website, a website welcome mat would be a great idea without exception.
There is more to a website, though. You have to worry about things like usability, bounce rate, visitors patience, time on page, etc. There’s a lot to account for and conversion rate is only a piece of the story.
If a visitor enters your website expecting a certain piece of content and only sees a website welcome mat, their expectations aren’t met. For many visitors, that’s a deal breaker. They didn’t come to your website to get sold on signing up for an email list.A website welcome mat risks breaking visitors expectations causing them to leave your website. Click To Tweet
So, unless you website welcome mat matches the content they’re expecting 100%, you may lose many visitors.
A website welcome mat breaks visitors expectations which may turn them off from your website completely.
Analyzing the conversion rate of your website welcome mat tells part of the story but visitors time on the page could tell the other half of it.
Has the time a viewer stayed on your website decreased since you implemented the website welcome mat?
What To Look For
So, here are three of the things you have to look at to see if your website welcome mat is working to your benefit or not:
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
- View time
Your website should create a good experience for your visitors which means not burdening them with a lot of extra pop-ups, disturbances, and slowdowns on your website.
As you can see there are some negatives to the website welcome mat. Now it’s time to balance the positives with the negatives and come up with a decision for yourself.
You learned about the better and worse of the website welcome mat. How does that all tie into your small business and if you should or should not use a website welcome mat?
Your goal, of course, is to increase the conversion rate of visitors on every page but there’s a good way and bad way to do that.
Here’s what it all comes down to:
Converting a visitor on your website to a lead is great but converting a lead to a customer is even better. A website welcome mat may help you with converting a visitor to a lead but it could hurt turning a lead into a customer.
And here’s what that means to you:
Whether the website welcome mat converts for you or not, there’s testing you need to do before implementing it and calling it done. It could help you overall but it could also harm you.
Whether it helps you or harms you will only be known with testing. If you don’t have the time, resource, or patience to test, I would avoid the website welcome mat.If you can test a website welcome mat, do it. If not, don't try to use one. Click To Tweet
Testing is the best way to decide if a website welcome mat is beneficial to convert visitors. If it helps convert visitors into customers for your small business then do it.
As with most things, test test test.
There are less intrusive ways to tell website visitors to subscribe to your email list if you can’t test or you’ve found it’s not beneficial to your small business. In fact, there are a lot of ways to grow your email list that might not convert as well but definitely won’t be a burden to visitors.