Facts: 93% use the internet as their first choice to search for products and services.
With millions of searches daily, it’s essential that your company participate in the online world. One of the best places to start is with a website that rocks. And we have 6 simple steps to help you get there.
#1 – Make it User Friendly
People judge your website within seconds of landing on it. According to Tony Haile of Time.com, a visitor to your site will only give you about 15 seconds to make a good impression.
If you only have 15 seconds, you want to make sure that people notice your best stuff right away. A website that isn’t designed to be user-friendly will cause you to lose more prospects every day.
So what makes a website user friendly? For starters, your website pages need to be laid out effectively. You don’t want to overwhelm visitors with too many links, images, buttons, boxes, and text blocks. If your website looks like it will take too long to understand, most visitors will simply leave.
Research has found that only 16% of users read web pages word for word. That’s a full 79% that only scan content when coming across a new webpage. Keeping this in mind, you want to make sure your visitors gather the most important information while scanning your website quickly.
Using headlines and subheadings that highlight your key messages is ideal. Other ways to catch a scanner’s eye are with bulleted or numbered lists, along with bold text.
Another important aspect of a user friendly website is helping your visitors get around. People will land on your website in all different places (and not necessarily on your homepage). You need to have a consistent and obvious navigation system in place so that your visitors can quickly get to the information they are most interested in.
#2 – Make Your Website Responsive
More than 1.2 billion (yes, that’s billion) people use a mobile device to access the web. And even more importantly, 61% of consumers have a higher opinion of brands that offer a mobile version of their website compared to those who don’t.
Website users access the web via an average of three different devices each. The use of smartphones (up 32% since 2011) and tablets (up 26% since 2011) are on the rise in the past 3 years, while web use via a laptop or desktop has actually declined.
38% of our daily media interactions are on a smartphone, and research has shown that internet users move across different screen sizes sequentially during a single web interaction.
All this information points to only one profitable path: make sure your prospects can access your website via any screen, including smart phones and tablets.
Most companies shy away from creating a mobile-friendly website because of the perceived difficulty in making the conversion. But with today’s technology, the process can be simpler than ever.
Hiring a web developer to get the work done for you is an obvious choice for those with the funds available.
If you’re looking for a small-budget solution, there are online tools like Mobify and Mofuse that will help create a mobile version of your website, simply.
#3 – Represent Your Brand
Your website represents your company online. You don’t get the chance to impress your online prospects with a storefront, a friendly smile, or a knowledgeable presentation.
Instead, your website takes on the responsibility of telling your brand story and creating a connection with your audience (and a good first impression).
Websites that “do the job” of providing information – and even gathering leads – but don’t represent your brand in a way that gets people excited is a wasted opportunity.
For example, Virgin Media Company – who can claim the most advanced fiber optic network in the UK – was suffering from a dull website that managed to pull in some leads, but failed to get people excited about their brand and spread awareness.
To remedy this problem, they worked in increments to update their website one section at a time. They focused on design and content, tweaking it to better represent the brand they were building. The results were an overall increase in website interaction among their visitors.
For BABTAC, a beauty and health membership organization established back in 1977, its dated and old-fashioned web presence was holding it back. The company had solid market positioning and service offerings, but its website failed to clearly define what the company offered.
A complete messaging and design overhaul of their website was the answer. It helped them add over 3,000 new members to their community in a matter of months.
Representing your brand through your website is one of the best ways to grow recognition of your company online, get prospects excited about doing business with you, and become memorable to your audience.
#4 – Build Trust
In the world of online business, trust is essential. Whether it’s accurate or not, people will decide whether or not to trust your company based largely on your website.
In a case study done on the redesign process of a wedding favor company’s website, researchers tested the “trust factor” of the old website versus the new. When asked, website visitors indicated that the new website felt more trustworthy by an impressive 80%.
The new website featured an updated design, larger product pictures, less clutter, and a simpler navigation layout. Take a look at the before and after screenshots below.
As we talked about above, your website is one of your biggest representations online, which means people will turn to it in order to form an opinion about your brand.
As we also mentioned earlier, you don’t get long to convince your visitors that you are trustworthy. Within a 15 second time frame, people are searching for clues as to your trustworthiness.
Things like a clean, professional website design and a photo of your company president (or other staff members) will help people feel at ease.
You’ll also want to avoid website elements like long blocks of hyperlinks and flashy advertisements, which generally cause distrust with your visitors.
Helping your visitors feel secure is a fast way to build trust. Adding a security badge to your checkout page or stating that you will never share their email address when gathering information has been shone to improve conversions.
Testimonials from your customers or clients are a great way to help build trust with your visitors, as well. Showing social proof that others have had a positive experience with your company will go a long way in helping people feel comfortable.
#5– Consider your Goals
We’ve covered some ground rules for an impressive website, like being mobile friendly and creating a good user experience. Now it’s time to customize your website to not only impress your visitors, but accomplish your specific business goals as well.
Almost all websites exist for some common reasons, such as growing brand awareness and providing information. But your website also exists to further your personal marketing goals.
Maybe you’re looking to grow a database of email leads. Or maybe you’re hoping to boost direct online sales for your ecommerce site. Still others may be hoping to spread awareness of a message or to increase the number of free consultations they are conducting.
It’s important to know your own online marketing and business goals before recreating your website. The way you structure your pages, incorporate design, and write copy will be determined by what you want to accomplish with each website visitor.
Try answering these 4 simple questions:
• What’s the goal of this website?
• Who is my audience?
• Why would someone land on this page?
• What action do I want my visitors to take?
The answers to these questions will help you design a website that takes you exactly where you want to go.
#6 – Measure your Progress
Part of improving any website is knowing how well it is performing. In fact, tracking effectiveness is essential for creating the best possible website for your company.
Hotel Institute Montreux was able to improve conversions by 50% on their lead generation page by including testimonials. Their original page included some copy offering a free brochure and a simple form allowing people to enter their email address.
By adding testimonials to the page, they began receiving a full 50% more email subscribers. Without testing different versions of that page and measuring the results, the company could have lost out on half its potential leads.
Muc-Off, a manufacturer of cleaning products, conducted a split-test for the design of its website’s category page. They instituted a small tweak to the design in the second version of the page, and ended up increasing sales by 106%. That’s a lot of money they would have left on the table had they not taken the time to measure the effectiveness of their website.
So how do you begin measuring your website’s performance, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy? For split testing, your easiest option will be using an online split-testing tool like Optimizely or Convert.
These tools will make it simple to split-test pages on your site and to make changes without having to contact a webmaster (if you have one).
For monitoring and measuring your website’s performance, a great option is Google Analytics, which happens to be free and one of the easier analytics tools to use.
The 6 steps in this article will help you take your website from drab to impressive. Remember, your website is one of your company’s most powerful online platforms, so it pays to spend a little extra time when creating or improving it.
Now It’s Your Turn
You’ve just seen 6 steps of my favorite website development secrets…
Now it’s time to put these techniques into practice.
The first step?
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