14 Experts Review The Effectiveness of Freshbooks Home Page

by 4 07/16/2012

Freshbooks is cloud based invoicing, expense tracking and time tracking software.

They have a youthful, dare I say ‘fresh’ brand.

And they understand the power of good design and landing page optimization.  This is evident by the fact that the home page we are reviewing today has already been replaced by a new version.

The below page receives high praise in our review but the Crazy Egg marketing and design experts found areas they would tweak or test as well.

 Click on the image to enlarge:

Freshbooks Website Review

Naomi NilesI love how clear their main benefit is, “Focus on your work, not your paperwork”. As a long time user of their service myself, it reminds me of the main reason I started using them and why I continue to use them, it saves me a lot of time. I don’t care about a load of features, just that it’s easy and simple for me to use and for clients to pay.

On the phrase below it, “The fastest way to track time….” I wonder why they mentioned the time-tracking and organizing features before the invoicing feature, which is what they are known for?

As far as the layout and color scheme go, it’s difficult to find anything that they are doing wrong. It’s neat and clear, the calls-to-action are descriptive and stand out, and they have good social proof.

The only thing I might suggest testing for them is to change the top navigation bar to a more neutral color instead of blue. As it is, it directly competes with the blue call-to-action area beneath it because the same blue color ties them together. It might help guide the eye more if it was a dark gray or similar color instead.

~ Naomi Niles, ShiftFWD

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Rich Page, AuthorNot too bad… improve by stating how many hours of time have been saved by your users. Move up the ‘used by over 4.5 million’ and enlarge – very powerful stat. The headline isn’t powerful and needs to focus on benefits more – who really wants to focus on work? It’s more about saving time and organizing. Try using bullet points to convey points under the main headline, instead of subheader.

~Rich Page, Rich Page: Website Optimizer

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Brian Massey, Conversion ScientistFor an online service, the home page is actually a landing page for a risk. In this sense I feel Freshbooks does a good job. A landing page is supposed to sell the offer  (free trial), and a message like “spend 20 minutes with us and see how much your customers are going to love it” is an example of pitching the offer (though not necessarily an effective job of copy writing).

And they do a pretty good job of proving their value when you get below the fold with media citations, testimonials, and video. Why not shrink the BAH (big-ass header) by 50% and get some of this delicious proof above the fold? You don’t have to say you’re the best if every one else is saying it for you.

And I love Freshbooks myself.

~Brian Massey, Conversion Sciences

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 Craig WrightSeems well done. The value proposition is clear. This service will save you time and help you organize billing. They do call it “Painless Billing”.

They support that idea using conservative and clean design, easy to scan text, and several clear calls to action and a not so subtle ploy at creating trust using big name logos.

If anything could be improved it could be a more specific offering details or other value propositions that they offer. Not so sure if that would be an improvement or just different.

~ Craig Wright, CMW Web

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Sanj SahayamGreat central focus with with the key concept of “Focusing on your work”. Really great picture of an invoice and a mobile as well. The “Try it free for 30 Days” and “Take a Quick Tour” are also well positioned in the middle of the page.  Nice use of colour and fonts. The page is very simple and nice.

The testimonial section is very nice but loses its uniformity where it shares the section with Forbes, CNN, USA Today etc that don’t have actual testimonials. They seem to have been added as an after thought.

Also I don’t think the small video down the bottom right makes a lot of sense. It should be placed more prominently.

I don’t think the “we’re hiring” link should be in such a place of prominence and the “Contact” link should probably be on the menu/navigation bar.

~ Sanj Sahayam, Unique Imprints

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Sofia Wood, Shortie DesignsThe strongest element on this page for me is the copy.  It’s succinct and convincing, which makes clicking on that ‘try for free’ button pretty easy. Freshbooks have chosen words that speak to our desires for quick and simple financial account organisation. The combination of the copy, supported by the cohesive colour palette and of course, a picture of an iPhone, builds a pretty clear story as to the benefits of their product.

~Sofia Woods, Shortie Designs

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Angela Jones, Design By Ange.laWhere are the periods in the headline and sub header? Glaring errors like these really detract from the credibility of the company and website. Some would argue that leaving out a period is a stylistic choice, but when you’ve used capitalization and other punctuation (like the comma here), you can’t really use that excuse – and remain consistent.

That aside, I like the layout and positioning of the key focal points like the phone number, the call to action button (also could use a period), and the visuals.

I think it would be more effective to use a logo, whether real or fake, rather than just putting “your logo” on the visual.

~ Angela Jones, Freelance Designer

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Robin Cannon, Shiny Toy RobotsThey have a great tagline and a really clear, single sentence explanation of the benefits of their service. Add that to some high profile testimonial quotes, and the personalization of the “loved by” video section, and Freshbooks are doing a great job of quickly and clearly establishing a) why the service is good and b) a demonstration that they can be trusted.

It’s very professional and effective.

~ Robin Cannon,
Viggle, Inc

♦♦♦

Jessica Shailes, Fluib Web WorksI really like the layout and design of this homepage. They have avoided a lot of common mistakes and fit powerful elements into the space they have above the fold, without looking crowded.

The key message appealing to their target market ‘Focus on your work, not your paperwork’ is done well. The eye is easily drawn to this message and it appeals to a sentiment I have heard A LOT of self-employed/business owners grumble about. They have focused on a key benefit that is easily understood rather than a feature, or list of features.

The visual representation of the service is well presented with the paper and phone on the right hand side. I could look at this page in another language and still have an idea what it is that they do easily. However, if it weren’t for that image it may be more of a challenge because their company logo doesn’t represent it so well. I am being particular here, but it may be an issue if landing on other pages.

Their social proof is great and well balanced. By using testimonials from well-known brands, their circulation numbers, and a video testimonial from someone the target market are likely to identify with. We are left in no doubt that this service is well trusted.

The layout and colour structure is also easy on the eye and I particularly like that they have limited the options in the menu bar. They have sensibly limited the menu on the left to the key items that are likely to take website visitors to the website’s goal.

A well-designed homepage, without too many elements clambering for attention: I’m even tempted to look into the trial myself!

~ Jessica Shailes, Fluid Web Works

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Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing InstituteI think the one problem that FreshBooks has with their “above the fold” usage is the fact that a first-time visitor may question what their service is.

There is a subhead that touches on what the service does, but it still is a little vague. The main headline is a little confusing, plus the graphic of the invoice and iPhone may not be immediately recognizable.

I also think that they use a little too much space for testimonials. Two quotes, logos and a video taking up real estate that could be used to describe their product a little better.

~ Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing Institute

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The headline and sub-headline do an excellent job of conveying benefits. “Focus on your work, not your paperwork” offers relief for something people don’t like to do—paperwork—and “The fastest way to track time, organize expenses & invoice your clients” provides three more benefits from using the service. They also use “fastest” strategically in order to convey benefit that people want. People are always looking for solutions that are “faster,” “easier,” or “cheaper.”
~ Joseph Putnam,
5 North Marketing

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Adam Kreitman, Words That ClickThe ultimate compliment I can pay FreshBooks is that after I’m done sharing my thoughts on their home page here, I’m heading over to their site to get a free 30 day trial!

They do a very good job in communicating what they do and the benefits of using their service in their slogan “painless billing” and the little copy they do have on the home page “The fastest way to track time, organize expenses & invoice your clients”. Succinct and to the point.

They add credibility to their claims with logos and quotes from respected media organizations as well as highlighting the fact that they have over 4.5 million users.

It’s very clear what the main call to action, “Try it Free for 30 Days”, is and gives users 2 places to sign up for it. And it’s a nice that they offer a toll free phone number to those who’d prefer to call.

Nice job!
~ Adam Kreitman, Words That Click

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Babar SulemanThe page looks very clean and cohesive, and Blue and Green were the right color choices for the ‘fresh’ branding. However, what I like most is that the invoices image is not a simple frontal shot of a stack of papers. Instead, it’s ‘real sheets’ effect and the angle gives it depth and makes it pop out in a very eye catching way.

I also like how all the main elements of the page are neatly organized in their own distinctive blocks. The only thing that breaks out in an uneven way from the rest of the composition is the ‘call toll free’ section at the top. It helps it stand out but not necessarily in a good way. The placement is smart but it could also benefit from the strong aesthetic present on the rest of the page.

~ Babar Suleman
, Freelance Copywriter & Web Designer

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Stephanie HamiltonFreshbooks does a good job of reigning in the key attributes of their service in a clean, professional manner. The headline relays the benefit of using the service while the image to the right illustrated how easy using the service is.

One thing they could work on is presenting the testimonials and company logos in a more professional manner as they seem to compete with one another.

~ Stephanie Hamilton, Stephanie Hamilton Design

Give us your review of the Freshbooks home page in the comments section.

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4 COMMENTS

Casey McKinnon

I’m Casey, the head of Product & Design at FreshBooks. Just wanted to say its an honor to have a group of talented people like yourselves spend time reviewing and offering helpful feedback on our homepage! Like you, we also have a passion for conversion-oriented design, and have iterated on this page a bazillion times in both big, and not-so-big ways. Nice to hear most of you tend to agree it has a good thing going. We’ll do our best to keep the bar high for our next iteration of this page :).

If anyone has questions, or wants to talk more about this, drop me a line.

Oh… and if you’re passionate about this stuff, and want to do it amongst an awesome group of Designers, for a brand that lots of people love – we are hiring! Drop careers@freshbooks.com you resume, and portfolio, and we’ll take a look.

Cheers,
Casey

July 16, 2012 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    Hi Casey, thanks for the gracious response! I chose your home page because it is a great example of conversion done tastefully well.

    July 16, 2012 Reply

The eWAY Team

We really like this landing page. The message is loud and clear, the copy is concise and the colours are lively without seeming immature. A great page, worthy of the product.

Disclosure: Freshbooks are one of our partners; we are the payment gateway for many of their merchants.

July 18, 2012 Reply


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