Creating a converting and profitable business website requires much more than slapping a few pages together and adding some random content. Competition online is huge, strong, and isn’t going anywhere. Your website is representing your business in front of millions of potential customers, who are looking for solutions to their problems. Why some websites appeal to visitors more than other? Some say it’s all in the details. Below, we’ve compiled 7 secrets of an effective website that many people forget about and which can make or break every online venture.
Secret One: You Are Not Building Your Website for Your Business
Although most people who contact us, say that they want a site for their business, what they really want is a website for their customers. The target audience of any site is the most important thing. Only by knowing people who are going to visit your site, can you apply the right design, add the right features and choose the way in which you want to communicate with your customers and where you want to promote your site after it’s completed.
Unless you are creating a website for an already established brand, even its name will depend on who is going to visit your site. The most valuable information about your audience is age, gender, education level, average household income, and device that they use to visit your website. By catering to an “average” customer of yours, you can make the best choice regarding the looks of your future site. Similarly, when you are testing it, it’s best to ask someone from your targeted demographics, as that person will represent people you want on your site the most.
Secret Two: You Don’t Want Your Visitors to Think
Another critical thing you should keep in mind is that a website has to be as easy to go over as possible. Eliminate all the potential situations in which a visitor can ask a question “what now?” or “how do I do X to get Y?” Without the right architecture and intuitive navigation, your visitors can be quickly put off and will leave your website as soon as they entered it.
When creating a website, ask someone who hasn’t seen it yet to do a few things on it which you normally would like your customers to do (for example, finding your offer or contacting you). If they are unable to complete the task right away, you may have to redo your website. If customers enter your site, and they have no idea why they are there and who you are, they will run away.
Secret Three: Instead, You Want Every Page to Have a Clear Purpose
To fulfill all the needs of your customers, you need different pages that cater to different needs. For example, some pages need to be purely informational and educational, other can provide them with information about your company or give an opportunity for interaction with it and, of course, for the transaction. By keeping this in mind, you can keep your visitors engaged much longer.
Secret Four: You Are Not Selling on Your Website.
This is true even if your site is an e-commerce store. The number one thing you should be doing on your site is educating your customers so that they can make a conscious, educated decision to make that purchase you want them to make. This is by far, the best way to build returning customers. If your visitors feel that they are learning something and that you’re trying to help them instead of selling them stuff, your website can achieve much better ROI long-term.
To educate your visitors, you should provide them with free, educational stuff. You can give them e-books, share helpful how-to videos, create podcasts with interviews, have a frequently updated blog and of, course, send them email newsletter. While these are not necessarily elements of a web design, it’s good to discuss them with your web developer.
Secret Five: Your Site Doesn’t Have to Be the Most Beautiful
Some of our clients are afraid of the so-called whitespace. They believe that it’s a sign the company lacks compelling content to fill it or that colorful websites convert much better. The truth is, whitespace helps reduce the cognitive load for the visitor and makes the site a lot more scannable, what in turn makes finding the information much easier and reduces the need to think – which is super important, and has already been pointed out in secret #2.
The graphics that you use should be attractive for your audience and suit your message. Try to avoid images that are obviously stock photos or that look too professional for your business or your audience. If you want to present people associated with your business, use your real employees. To further increase the professional look and make your site even clearer, use sans serif fonts as they are much more comfortable to read online.
And don’t forget to make your site mobile friendly – mobile is the king, and more people access the Internet using their smartphones than using the laptops and PCs. We will save you the technical stuff, as we do responsive sites for our customers out-of-the-box, but we’ve seen web designers trying to convince people that they don’t need mobile yet, what is obviously false.
Secret Six: Loading Time Is Even More Important Than the Looks
If your site takes too long to load, you will lose customers – guaranteed. According to a study by Kissmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a site to load in two seconds or less and even up to 40% of them will leave it if it takes more than three seconds to load. People hate waiting and considering how many competing websites are available at a click of a button, even if they finally access your site after a long wait, they will be pissed off and may resign from making a purchase because of that. Statistically, one second of the page loading time can result in a 7% decrease in conversion.
Secret Seven: In the End, It All Comes down to Business
After sharing with you all the previous six secrets, we want to emphasize one last, probably the most important of all. No matter how important is each and every of the above points, in the end, it all comes down to business. You are not creating a personal blog to share your thoughts with the world. You want your visitors to take action and make a purchase or at least leave their details so that you can contact them in the future. That’s why you need a compelling call to action and a value proposition that your visitors can’t refuse. Of course, you should use all of the above to create the right environment for them to shop in, but without value proposition and an inspiring call to action, your conversion will suffer badly. And, as a result, so will your revenue and profit.