Your website acts as the metaphorical front window of your shop and is often the first port of call for potential customers. Having an online presence allows potential customers to vet your business and find out about your services and style before even getting in touch with you. As such, your website needs to speak volumes about your business, what you do, how to contact you and more in order to entice a lead or sale.
Your business’ persona
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people will be judging your business by its website. Your site needs to be reflective of your business persona, and the kind of image you want to be associated with. In the words of Simon Sinek, the ‘why’ of your business should be clear, and the message you want to present to the public. A disjointed, hard to navigate website that’s misaligned to your business objectives will reflect poorly on your company and is likely to lose you customers.
Who’s doing it right? Apple. Their slick website design imitates their product for a seamless approach that clearly works to attract business. Your website is an investment and you should see it as such. The fix is a properly designed website from a professional web design team, as well as properly coordinated marketing materials and messaging.
There’s nothing more annoying that not being able to find a point of contact on a website. Potential customers may use your website to find out your business telephone number, email address or use your contact form. These are all vital avenues of communication and if someone can’t find these quickly and easily on your website, they’ll leave and go somewhere else. In fact, 44% of people said they would leave a website is there’s no contact information. Why would you want to annoy your potential business?
Make sure you include your telephone number and contact details on your website. Even better, place them in the header of your pages, utilising a sticky navigation that will keep the details at the top as site visitors scroll down the page. This way, they can see your details all the time and it may just entice them to call your sales team.
Google says that the average website surfer will only give a website 2 seconds to load before clicking the back arrow and going elsewhere. Does your website take longer than 2 seconds to load? If yes, people may not even be getting to your website before they decide to leave it. Studies suggest that 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if it takes too long.
No one is going to stay on a website that looks or is spammy. This includes pop-up adverts, dodgy looking text or annoying pop-up boxes that don’t leave you alone. You want your website visitors to have a great user experience on your website – don’t pester them. Steer clear of filling your website with adverts unless you’re looking to generate profit from your website in a subtle and non-aggressive way. Pop-ups can be successful at harnessing email addresses but it’s a fine line before annoyance so make sure you optimise your pop-ups to show at the right time and not more than once.
If you don’t understand the power of mobile technology, then you’ve been living under a rock. In the ‘mobile-first’ world, websites need to be responsive. You don’t want to exclude your audience, just because they’re browsing via mobile rather than desktop. Having a dynamic website that responds to a mobile device means that buttons will be larger so they can click and browse with ease, the text will be more readable and mobile users will stay on for longer.
Accessing a site that isn’t mobile-friendly from your phone is an instant turn off, and will lose you customers instantly.
Websites should be optimised for your exact end user. There’s no point in making it easy for only you to use – this is a mistake we see all too often. It’s your customer’s needs that matter the most, so make sure there is a clear customer journey through the website, with easy to access and digest information. With an optimised journey through the website, you can help encourage a sale with metaphorical signposts and button clicks.
User testing is a great way of getting an honest opinion from your website and can be organised through various online testing platforms. Use open-ended questions for your website testers such as ‘How do you find X?’ and let them be the judge of the navigation. Be careful though – you want to find honest reviewers that aren’t testing hundreds of websites a day so don’t always go for the cheapest user testing supplier.
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for monitoring your user experience. Use it! Signals such as time spent on site, bounce rate and pages viewed per session are all part of Google’s mysterious algorithms and will help you see whether people actually like being on your website. Getting your head around the information can be a tricky task, but once you know how, it’s a goldmine of information on how to optimise the customer journey.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
If users can’t find where to purchase your products or there are roadblocks to a sale, it’s easier to close the website. Ensuring this doesn’t happen is all part of CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimisation, which is a whole exercise in itself. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t simple measures you can take yourself to monitor the sales path.
Google Analytics can keep track of where users are dropping off on the website, or whether users are abandoning their cart before purchase. One of the main culprits that causes this is a visitor needing to create an account before they can buy something; what’s more important, the sale or an email? Always the sale! Go through the whole payment process yourself to identify any areas where people might give up.
Building a high quality and engaging website is no easy task. With so many areas to optimise, it takes a professional to make your website profitable and ensure there are no pathways where you can lose business. If you want a hand ensuring your website retains its visitors and turns prospects into customers, then get in touch with SpiderGroup. Our websites are all built with your end user in mind, and optimised for mobile and search engines. Plus, we now offer pay monthly websites so you can spread the cost throughout the year, and get the added bonus of regular contact with a professional website design agency in Bristol!