It’s important to understand the characteristics that can make or break the effectiveness of your online investment. An unattractive or poorly built site will do more to hurt your business than to help it.
Better Design, Better Results –
Make your website visually appealing and professional. It’s important to build trust and positive impressions once consumers arrive. Cluttered ‘Home’ pages are confusing and hide your call-to-action messages. Navigation should be simple, and search bars should be easy to find and use. After all, you want consumers to easily find your products/services. In most cases it makes sense to keep your copy short and organized. Speak to your users by using words like ‘you’ rather than ‘we’ or ‘us’. Don’t overuse fancy graphics and animation.
Surprise Your Users –
Seek inspiration from other websites, not just competitors. This will help your site stand out in the crowd. Use rich media to entertain and educate your prospects. This helps keep visitors at your site longer which increases the possibility of conversion. Remember to update your content regularly, or consumers will quickly get bored with static content and stop revisiting your site. One way to do this is to use animated banners, to help keep your site’s content fresh and new.
Mobile Optimization is a Must –
Smartphones and tablets are becoming consumer’s first choice for surfing the web. Regardless of the personas you serve you need to have a website that allows consumers to digest your information in the way they want it.
Functionality and Usability –
Your website needs to quickly load and load correctly. Make sure you test it on multiple platforms and browsers to ensure it’s working as expected.
To help consumers navigate to things they are looking for make sure your website is simple and intuitive. Remember to limit scrolling when possible especially on the landing page. Your layout should be consistent throughout your site to help users get familiar with how your site works. Users should never have to spend too much time hunting for information.
Contact Information –
Have you ever been to a website and couldn’t find their contact information? Where is their phone number, email address, etc? Always prominently display this information on every page of your site so users don’t have to spend time looking for it. There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how to contact them for answers to their questions. Also, don’t forget to let them know where you are located and your hours of operation. This will clue them into when is the best time to contact you. When contact information is challenging to find, it sends a message to consumers that support and customer service are not a priority.
Statistics from your analytics help you understand consumer behavior. Are they finding the content you have available, are they seeing products you are looking to move out of inventory, ect …
Remember to view your statistics regularly and often. They help you learn how consumers find your website, who links to you, and how often they visit. This information will help you as you continue to make changes to your site and allow you to be the most successful source on the web.
Remember that both your website and catalog are key drivers for your company’s success. Would you print the same catalog year after year without any changes to the look of it? I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t. You want consumers to see the new innovating products you have for them. So remember to keep your website fresh and interesting so consumers are excited to visit.