Visitors come first, the goal to the best websites are customer-centric. They’re designed with website content to provide the information visitors seek and to present it in an interesting, organized fashion. They let the customer see the real you, which then builds trust.
This means that your website makes it easy for visitors to complete whatever action they have in mind, whether it’s to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or contact you for more details.
Sabina Idler says,in an article on principles of website usability, “If you distract or confuse your visitors, they will either need more time to find what they came for, or they might forget their initial goal all together. Either way, they will not experience your website as user-friendly and chances are that they leave dissatisfied and with no intention of coming back.”
Visitors come to your site with certain goals in mind. Your job is to help them achieve these goals as quickly as possible, ensuring they have a positive user-experience or UX, as it’s become commonly known.
“UX design principles are all about creating an experience that is pleasurable, hassle-free and seamless from start to finish,” according to Dilate digital marketing in Australia. “Websites with killer UX will keep people on the website longer, help create a loyal audience and improve the chance of business success.”
The bottom line is your visitors don’t want cute or clever. They won’t take the time to decipher your meaning. They simply want to know how you’re going to solve their problem. Or, put another way, what are you selling and why is it right for me NOW?
Here are top tried and proven tips to help make your website successful:
1. Start with a clear navigation.
Organize your pages into logically-named categories and use standard terms on your menu. Visitors don’t want to guess where to go. They don’t want to analyze what you mean. And they don’t have the patience to embark on a scavenger hunt for facts.
2. Use conversational English.
Despite what your high school English teacher may have thought, nobody wants to read text that sounds like a term paper. Yawn. Write copy as though you’re speaking directly to the visitor.
Use second person like “you” and “we.” A friendly, informal tone is better than stiff, corporate-speak. Contractions like “you’ll” and “we’re” are fine. Industry jargon that your visitors may not understand is not.
3. Apply SEO best practices.
The best website in the world is a waste if no one can find it. If Google ranks your website high through your use of optimized copy, you immediately get fabulous exposure to prospects searching for your product or service. FOR FREE. Search engine optimization done right (white hat techniques only) provides a huge return on investment.
4. Present only relevant information.
When people search the web, they’re seeking answers. If your site doesn’t provide the facts, the visitor will move on to the next one in the search results.
Don’t be afraid of sharing too much, and that includes prices. Transparency works. Studies show information-rich websites are the most effective in converting visitors into serious prospects.
5. Leave out the hype.
Visitors don’t want spin. They expect honesty and transparency. They crave facts so they can make an educated decision. Place all your cards on the table and let visitors draw their own conclusions.
6. Make your home page short, simple and to-the-point.
Since your home page is the most common entrance to your website, it should describe how customers will benefit from your content, products, or services. If visitors can’t quickly figure out what’s in it for them, they’ll click that back button.
7. Create unique landing pages for specific topics.
While you might want everyone to come through the front door, the home page of your website, that might not be the best strategy. A more targeted approach is to create landing pages that speak to specific subjects.
If someone is looking for information on say your product’s military application, he should land on your page that is dedicated to that subject. Landing pages convert at a higher rate than do home pages.
8. Use pictures to help tell your story.
Stock photos are pretty, but do they tell visitors about the real you? No, they’re often too generic. You can use them in some places on your site to help break up what would otherwise be a copy-heavy page, but when it comes to products and people, real photos work best.
Visitors want to see what they’re buying and who they’re buying it from.
9. Include trust-building content.
Explain why your company is uniquely qualified to provide its products or services. Include some details about your company’s history and achievements, especially on your About Us page. Add a photo of the founder if it’s relevant.
Consider dedicating a page to testimonials or case studies and even link out to your reviews on Google or Yelp. These third-party endorsements hold weight. Customers buy from companies they trust.
10. Keep your website up to date.
If visitors notice that your content isn’t current, then your site loses all credibility. Continually update your site, add to it and remove any information that is obsolete.
The last part of that sentence is critical, so I hope you didn’t miss it. You shouldn’t only add content. You need to also delete anything that’s no longer relevant. If the good information is buried, your visitor might never find it.
11. Use a straightforward layout.
Nobody likes clutter, and that includes visitors to your website. Clean, simple and organized works best. The more intuitive, the better, so visitors can easily find what they need.
12. Make it easy for visitors to contact you.
Put your contact information in multiple places and possibly your footer on every page so it’s easy to find. It should always be just one click away. Don’t make visitors work hard to reach you. They might not bother, and you’ll lose them.
You might even consider adding a live chat feature that enables you to converse with your customers in a written/digital format.
13. Keep forms simple.
If your website includes a form, such as on your Contact or Quote page, ask the fewest questions possible. Visitors hate completing all those fields, (don’t we all?), and they likely don’t trust you enough to provide all the information you’re requesting. Yes, you’d love to obtain their detailed information, but it’s what they prefer, not you!
14. Include a call to action on nearly every page.
Tell visitors what you would like them to do next. Lead them down the path to a sale or to contacting you. It’s great to be a quality source of information, but you also want visitors to know they can make a purchase.
Conversion expert Neil Patel recommends that your call to action be closely aligned with your audience’s mindset. If your call to action “doesn’t closely match the intent of your audience, you’re going to see a sharp decline or limited lift in conversions for a given piece of content or landing page.”
15. Make it perfect or as close to it as you can get.
Spelling and grammar mistakes make you look like an amateur. So does poor wording. Review your work closely, or better yet, consider hiring a professional copywriter to craft your content.
Deliver True Value
In today’s information-saturated world, visitors to your website are likely to be impatient. If they can’t quickly find what they want, they’ll move on. They’re skeptical of anything that sounds “salesy.” If they could speak to you, they’d say, “Just the facts, please.”
To be effective, your website must deliver true value. Put your visitors’ needs and wants first as you create its content and watch your conversion rate soar!