If you are trying to improve your website, you might be at a loss for where to start. Lucky for you, here is a list of five sure-fire places to start.
Less is More
It should come as no surprise to you that people won’t stick around on a website that is cluttered and busy. There are just too many other sites in competition with yours for your customers to linger on a website that makes them feel overwhelmed. Simply put, white space is your friend.
Design your site so that your purpose is clear and easy to see from anywhere on the screen. You should literally take a step back to double-check that your font is legible from a few feet away and that your customers can easily read your mission statement, even if they’re not right next to the screen.
Use contrasting colors for things like calls-to-action, which we’ll talk about next, and keep your overall color scheme consistent with your company goals. Your navigation bar should have no more than seven items in it, and it should follow your customers as they scroll down the page. It’s important to understand that while the space “above the fold” on your website (the content that your visitors can see before having to scroll) is most likely to grab and keep your customer’s attention, cramming too much in that window will drive them away. It’s OK to have things below the fold, but make sure that the golden area above the fold has the crucial information.
Lastly, spend some time on your images. Stock photos have their place and can even add value to your message, but you should not solely rely upon them. Invest in high quality, original images, infographics, and videos to set your site apart. It takes a little more time, money, and effort to use custom graphics, but they are more likely to rank higher on Google image searches than stock photos.
Create Strong Calls-to-Action (and plenty of them)
As you’re optimizing your site, you are probably reading a lot about the importance of having calls-to-action (CTAs), but how do you know if yours are effective? Firstly, every CTA needs to start with a strong verb. Good examples include:
- click here for…
- sign up
- go to cart
If you’re in doubt about whether something is a call to action, run it by this test: Insert the phrase, “Would you like to (insert CTA)?” If it makes sense, you have an effective call to action.
People are looking for the thing they need to do next, so if you want them to stick around on your site, you need to tell them what to do. Try directing them to another relevant page on your site to create worthwhile links, or ask them to subscribe to your weekly newsletter. Don’t leave it up to chance – once they’re on your site, you need to keep them there by purposefully directing your own traffic.
Studies have shown that more than half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, and that number is continuously climbing. Google wants its customers to have a positive experience so the search engine giant rewards mobile-friendly sites by showing up higher ranking results before sending a visitor to them. Frankly, it’s just too inconvenient for customers to zoom in and out of your site in order to get the information they’re after, so if your site isn’t responsive to mobile users, they’re likely to leave, never to return. And Google will take note.
Put the Customer First
This is something anyone who has worked in customer service has heard a thousand times, and that’s because when you think this way, you’ll have happier customers. While you can’t let your customers walk all over you if you want to be successful as a businessperson, there are some simple things that you can do to your website to keep the customer first.
First, keep your load times down. Studies have shown that customers are highly likely to leave your website if it takes more than just a few seconds to load. You might have to invest in some online software and more expensive cloud-based hosting, but the benefits of short load times are worth every penny.
Second, monitor how your page appears to the customer. Pop-ups are sometimes necessary, but they are also irritating if there are too many of them. Similarly, social media sharing is vital to spreading awareness about your product or brand, but make sure that your social media plug-in can be collapsed. Having that little sidebar covering up your content is insanely annoying to your customers. Also, don’t set your banners to auto-rotate because that quick swipe every five seconds is distracting. If you are going to use a banner, limit the content to three options or less, and let the user click to progress to the next slide.
Sprinkle in Testimonials
The last tip for improving your website is to incorporate testimonials in strategic locations throughout your website. Contact local celebrities or social media influencers to see if they would endorse your product or brand. If you can’t find someone that brings their own name recognition, post some of your customer reviews so that prospective customers can see how real people feel about your product.
Incorporating these tips can make a good website great and a great website downright outstanding. Remember that websites aren’t a one-and-done pursuit. Once you’ve built your site, take the time to revisit it regularly and make sure that you’re hitting the mark for a visually appealing website that engages customers and leads them to action.