One of the most important aspects of any business – large or small, retail or B2B – is to have an effective website. Just because you have a website presence, it doesn’t mean it will lead to enquiries about your services or meet sales objectives. “The build and they will come” mentality is dangerous in a world of wide consumer choice and competition. An effective, well designed website is your online shop front that can help you reach new customers, increase awareness, build credibility and trust, and differentiate from competitors.
Here are 5 key elements you’ll need to consider when building your website:
Many people make important decisions based on first impressions, so make it count! That first impression is actually only a 7 second window upon first contact. The viewer (potential buyer or customer) will judge a businesses trustworthiness, likeability and competence within moments. A website with a professional design helps to strengthen your business’ overall image and builds trust. The brand image lies beyond the logo itself; it is created by having a consistent look and feel across all graphics, typography, colours, photography and general layout. A branded website gives a clear picture of your company through the information that’s presented (tells your story), the way it’s presented, and the user experience of the site. It generates a positive impression, keeping visitors on-site once they arrive, engaging with them as to why they should buy from you or enquire about your services, and why they should come back. Branding will help set you apart.
It is important to understand your customer base and set up your website architecture with your users in mind. Consider the path you want visitors to navigate your website in order to achieve your goals. A site’s navigability will bring about the difference between its success and failure. Create a clear path for your visitors to follow: where they will land, what they will see first, and where they’d need to go from there. Make your menu short and to the point. Good functionality can lead to better engagement, lowered exit and bounce rates, and more pages per visit. The importance of having a good website architecture cannot be under estimated because it also leads to increased exposure within search engines. It should be designed to be mobile and desktop friendly…think simplicity.
MAKE YOUR WEBSITE LOAD FASTER
Page loading time is an important part of a website’s user experience. Website visitors won’t wait around whilst a video is buffering, or a page is loading. Furthermore, page loading time is a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. Google takes into consideration the speed of your website when ranking search results. Online shoppers, 79% of them, are less likely to buy from a slow loading website and return. Unfortunately, 40% abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Every 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. To make matters worse, mobile users expect their web browsing experience comparable to desktop, allowing only a few seconds more for a page to load: 6-10 seconds. If you’re not a techy person, there are a few things you can do; optimise all your images and remove all plugins that are not in use. That’s a good start to increase the performance of your site.
To test your website speed, try these, they are free:
SIMPLIFY YOUR WEBSITE
Basically, users’ habits on the web aren’t that different from customers’ habits in a store. Visitors scan and click on the first link that catches their interest. Hence image, brand personality and easy user-ability are imperative. The website should be obvious and self-explanatory. From plenty of whitespace and great images, to simple navigation, search functionality and clear calls-to-action, these common elements are the things that users expect when it comes to using a website with ease. Don’t make website users think, it should be a pleasurable experience.
BE CLEAR ON YOUR OFFER
From the first second on a website, a visitor needs to be clear on what you’re offering and how it’s going to help them. State clearly your value proposition and tell your story concisely. Communication is one of the fundamental elements of a good website. It is essential for a positive user experience. The information should be informative and relevant. Think like a customer – what information would you find useful? Be clear on what you do and who you do it for. Avoid brand confusion!
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You have just read 5 key elements of an effective website. Now it’s time to put these tips into action and make a difference!