When creating a website, it is easy to lose focus of what really matters: the experience of your customers. You’re most likely creating a website for their benefit - and not just for the sake of it. So why then, is it so easy to forget about your customer and what it is exactly that they would like to see? You don’t want to be spending loads of money on SEO efforts to get your website noticed, only for a customer to land on a fully unstructured and useless webpage. This blogpost will help you understand what things your customer will expect, want or find interesting, when it comes to your website.
1. Easy Navigation
Website navigation is crucial to the customer experience, but is more commonly noticed when it is particularly bad. Which is the very last thing you want to happen, as it doesn’t only affect the way your company is perceived, but it can also be enough to drive someone away - or leave them clicking through pages that are of no interest to them. When it comes to website navigation, set it up in such a way that it is easy to understand, and it’ll never get a mention; which is exactly what you want.
2. Clear Call to Action
Every website is created for a specific purpose. Whether you website is built to inform, sell, or gather enquiries, it is imperative you make sure that your customer will know where to click - without having to look very hard. If a visitor has difficulty finding their purpose on your website, there only one valid explanation: you’re doing it wrong!
3. A Clean, Functional Layout
A few weeks ago, we published the Guide to Designing State of the Art Websites in 2018. While it’s very important to consider the elements mentioned in this guide, it is also important to remember that less is more. The very last thing your customer will want to see when visiting your website, is an absolute mess of content and imagery. After all, humans are creatures of habit and will always lean towards the liking of structure and clarity.
Keep your design clean and modern, allowing for a clear journey through your website for potential and returning customers.
4. Photo/Video Hero Banner
The first thing your customer will see when landing on your website, is your hero banner. A good hero image or video is what can distinguish you from your competitors - as it leaves a first impression. Get it wrong, and the customer is gone. Get it right, and you could be on your way to a quick conversion with many happy returns.
What’s important here is that you don’t want to overdo it, though. Don’t waste the space on unnecessary imagery. If you have a video showing off your products/services, or some professionally taken photos that really sum up what your business is all about, this is their ideal new home. Add a short and sweet sentence of what sets you apart, along with a call to action, and there’s a clear path for the visitor to start on.
5. Contact Form
If your website relies on a user providing you with information, whether it be simple details that make it possible for you to get back to them, or several fields outlining the service they require and the best times to make an appointment - you don’t want to put people off by asking for too much personal information. By navigating through your website and the contact page, the visitor is almost ready to hand over their details and take things to the next step. If they land on the page and see a huge form that’s going to take more than a minute to complete, you’re risking losing them forever. A clean form with only a few compulsory fields, ideally 3-5, is perfectly acceptable and shouldn’t offend anyone looking to do business with you.
Tip: Don’t do multi-step forms unless you absolutely have to or it is the norm for your industry - if someone fills out a page only to get to another set of questions, they’re most likely going to get impatient very quickly.
If you are an expert in your industry, why not share your knowledge with your customer base? Not every site needs a news or blog section, however if you do offer an up to date archive of relevant and interesting content, it will go a long way to impressing potential and existing customers, as well as offering a large range of SEO benefits. After all, it’s simply good marketing to present yourself as a leader within your field.
People write blogs with the best intentions, however it is worth seriously considering how much time you will be able to put towards yours. If you aren’t able to add new content at least every week or two, your page will be very at risk of looking stale. Nobody wants to revisit a blog page to see the same five articles from two years ago. If you are prepared to put some time aside to write a few blog posts on a regular schedule, that’s fantastic. If you don’t have the time or would rather put your energy elsewhere, that is fine too, and it is worth coming to this conclusion before anyone stumbles across a graveyard of old content!
7. Social Media Integration
Most businesses are on social media(link to social media these days; whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn. If you offer a service or product that people are interested in, it is worth growing your fan base in a social media environment. This will ensure that you can keep people informed and interested in your brand, and adds another way of keeping in touch with your clients.
It’s not imperative to have links to your social media on your website, but if it is something that you do keep up to date, be sure to make it available to site visitors. You never know, they may be keen to follow all that you do without the hassle of revisiting a website. For social media, see above regarding blogs; if you don’t have time, maybe consider other options before plugging it to your clients, but if you do have the time and ability to manage your socials, it is an extra avenue of possibility that won’t go amiss with your target audience.
Just make sure these features are apparent on your website and you’ll find that it’ll help you along in the process of creating a good website.