Your website is your business’ most critical tool to:
- Attract new customers
- Sell your products or services
- Convert to leads and sales
There are some dos and don’ts for creating a great website and most importantly of all to give your customers an excellent experience on your website so that they don’t want to go elsewhere. Here is a checklist of 11 essential issues to prevent your customers clicking off your website.
1. Get great web design
If your website is poorly designed, graphically and in terms of usability, it is going to put potential customers off. Your design needs to portray you in a professional way, using good design practices that are also up-to-date. A customer centric design will encompass the goals of your target audience whilst also achieving your business goals. For more on usability please see Jakob Nielsen’s website.
2. Have clear navigation
Poor navigation on your website is going to confuse your customers as well as present a confusing website for your business. Designing and executing a clear and workable navigational structure throughout your website will enable customers to get to the information that they need quickly. If you have confusing navigation and users need to click a number of times to find hidden information, you are going to lose them to your competitors’ website. A search function is also a useful addition to aid navigation, but make sure you have a good search system in place so customers can find what they are looking for quickly.
3. Don’t use clashing colours
Colours in design can be very subjective, but there are basic rules for using colours for good web design and also that applies to accessibility rules and regulations. Colour backgrounds for copy need to allow users to read your content easily, and makes sure contrasting colours don’t fight with each other on-screen, giving your customers a poor experience. You can use colour in some great design ways and it’s best to use colours that contrast tonally well.
4. Write engaging and clear content
Websites need to be clear about what their purpose is to the user straight away. So make sure that your site has concise and clear copy that explains what you do and what you offer at what price and how to find out further information.
Also make sure that you have all the information that your customers need and are looking for, rather than what your organisation wants your customer to know, and don’t use jargon or technical terms that externally customers won’t recognise. Good content also goes hand in hand with clear navigation.
Your customers should be able to know what you do within 30 seconds of being on your website. Don’t write huge volumes of words on your website as customers won’t read all of it, so write your most important facts in the first paragraph of each page and make it succinct. Avoid marketing speak and fluffy words, just get straight to the point so you are clear.
5. Don’t install pop-ups
Pop-ups are pop-up windows that appear on the screen without customers wanting them to. This is a real-turn off for users, because it is interruptive and intrusive to what they are trying to do on your site. Some companies use pop-ups for surveys, but it’s best to have these appear after a couple of minutes so that your customer has a chance to use and look at your site before answering the survey!
6. Ensure fast loading
If your website has huge image files or a flash presentation that needs to load, you are making your customers wait for your website to appear. Not all customers will wait, they want to get to information quickly and easily, and a slow loading website is likely to make them go to another site.
7. Have a clear call to action
The reason why you have a website is to create and convert leads and generate sales. So it’s vital that you have a clear call to action on your website. What is it that you want your customers to do? Do you want them to book a room directly, book a car service, contact you by phone, email or send a message via a contact form to you? However you want to handle your leads, put it clearly on your website and make the contact options clear to your customers.
8. Stay clear of flash introductions
For some reason, flash introductions seem to be just as popular as they were ten years’ ago. Very often flash introductions are forced onto a user before they can get to any other part of the website. You may think that flash introductions are a crowd-pleasing attribute for your website, but they are not a great experience for your customers. Flash can be slow to load and is often a turn-off and barrier to people who just want to get onto a site quickly. If you must have a flash introduction, then make it optional for users to view and turn-off and on.
9. Use video with content
Some businesses use video only to explain what they do, with long videos on their website pages expecting customers to sit and watch them. If you have video, make sure you also have content on your website that explains what you do and what you offer, and that the video is an added option to view rather than the only thing to view otherwise you will lose customers who don’t have time to watch videos.
10. Give scent trails
Your customers may be browsing for a while on your site and get sidetracked along the way into other areas of your website. To get your customers back on track again, make sure you include scent or breadcrumb trails in your website so it’s easy for your customers to find their way around and the information they are looking for.
11. Optimise for users and the search engines
Some web design companies will design your site without thinking about the longer term goal of delivering traffic to it. Holistic and best-practice web design will include optimisation for visitors but also search engine optimisation to include your target keywords sensibly on each page.