There are millions of websites screaming for attention. It’s hard capturing the attention of the right consumers.
Bringing visitors to a website is the job of search engine optimization and online marketing. But once a consumer has landed on a site, moving them down the sales funnel is the job of the website. Having an enchanting yet functional website that makes learning and transacting easy and fun encourages consumer engagement.
Over the last five years, most businesses have corrected three common website design features that can detract consumers from engaging in a site:
> Big photos that don’t download quickly
> Bad content, whether it’s expired, missing or partial – expired being the worst
> Missing contact information, which of late has become even more important for search results
While these are my top three design don’ts – there are several others that are just as critical.
Non-navigable Navigation Panels
As the name would suggest, navigation or nav panels are there to navigate the consumer to information or to make a transaction. Just like store aisles are designed to be clear, wide and free of obstacles so should a website’s nav panel.
Avoid over-complicating things by:
> Keeping the navigation panel keywords clear, bold and obvious. Smart and cute don’t help. Contact Info – should be found under Contact Info.
> Stick to standard navigation panel designs because they work. Creative drop down menus with fussy fly-outs are tedious and hard to use.
> If a second tier on the drop down menu is required, take notice not to become too granular. Too much information can over complicate a user’s experience.
Having too much content is as big a problem as having too little. Industry wide A/B testing clearly demonstrates that white space rules.
Apply the following litmus test to see if your website page contains the following and then call it day. Don’t over do it with too many words, the KISS principal truly applies.
> A goal. If this page isn’t critical then it probably shouldn’t be there.
> Company Contact Information. Not all consumers land on the home page first. According to the ‘blink’ test you have 3-5 seconds to orientate your customer. So make sure that each page includes the critical information.
> Call to Action or an invitation to the consumer to do business with you. Even a simple, call us for more information is adequate
> Graphics and Images. Remember: NOT too big – NOT too many. A photo really is worth a thousand words, and a funny photo is guaranteed to get you a social media share.
And just enough copy to address consumer questions while getting them to either pick up the phone for more information.
Mobile – The Next Generation
Move over desktops, Smartphone users are accessing their mobile phones as their primary source of information. Having a website that performs well on mobile devices, was dictated by Google, when they changed their algorithm in April 2015.
For the most part, web browsers are doing an admirable job of re-sizing websites. But that’s the rub. If your site is simply re-sized to fit the device, it’s not necessarily providing the right or critical information the customer needs
Usability studies show that consumers accessing a website via a mobile device aren’t reading. They are trying to perform a transaction such as searching for a phone number, store location or perhaps looking for driving instructions.
In the digital world it’s referred to as the mobile experience and it’s quickly becoming an important way consumers are connecting with business.
If you’re like most business owners you probably spend very little time on the company website. But it’s a worthwhile investment to put your consumer hat on and give your website the blink test!