Building a business includes many facets, one of those being a strong digital presence. Customers are online more than ever and statistics show that the average internet user consumes an average 6 hours and 30 minutes of online content a day. With such a staggering amount, how do you ensure that customers find you, engage with you and ultimately benefit from your products and services? A website is generally the first step to a consumer’s research when making a purchasing decision, and not guaranteeing a seamless user experience leads to lost sales and leads.
So, what exactly makes a website effective? Here are five tips to help you make sure your website is helping you grow your business.
Stay on brand
Having a website that uses different styling across its pages will cause a disconnect for customers. Are you using the same colours throughout your website? Are images consistent sizing? Are your fonts the same and create a standardised hierarchy between titles and articles? Without these key areas addressed, your brand is going to be forgotten. Utilising a brand styleguide is the best way to ensure your brand is memorable.
Keep your website fast
Ever landed on a website that took so long to load that you decided to close off and go to the next link? Time and time again, businesses make the mistake of not optimising their websites, that will lead to a high bounce rate (rate in which a user will immediately leave your website). Statistics show that a website should load within 2-5 seconds; for every second after, the bounce rate increases exponentially. There are many tools that can help speed up a website including:
Cacheing assets – This is a process in which a user does not have to re-download assets such as images, fonts and text. When going page to page, they will only load files that are needed rather than all new content that will increase page load times.
Don’t use too many plugins – Websites that use systems such as WordPress can give a wealth of additions through the use of plugins, but too many can cause major slowdowns across your site. Look into minimising or developing your own code for the fastest possible performance.
Optimise images – One area that many websites fail to optimise is the size of the images being loaded on the website. The larger the image, the slower the website. Using the correct compression tools and serving next-gen file formats, such as WebP, will greatly reduce load times.
Strong call to actions
As important as it is to deliver the information to your customers, every page should have a “call to action”. Call to actions need to be the focal point of each page on the website; they can either be a banner with the latest promotion, a contact button for more information, or even a highlighted section to allow customers to find more detail beyond the section they are currently viewing.
Connect with social media
Having a social media presence shows that you are actively engaged in a community, and having links to your Facebook / Instagram and LinkedIn page helps build trust with your brand. If a consumer goes to your website and sees content from years past, the immediate thought process is that the business is out of date and no longer relevant. A website should be dynamic, not static and having constantly updated content is what will drive customers to come back to your website.
Showcase your wins
How can you add instant credibility to your products and services? Display major client lists and use case studies. Leverage the brand power of your clients to benefit your own brand. By displaying a list of companies which you are affiliated with, you can instantly build a level of trust with a customer. Consumers already value, why wouldn’t they value yours? Case studies are also a strong way to visually represent your past work, so that customers can get a sneak preview of what they can expect when it comes to engaging your products or services. If you’re running an e-commerce platform, use the power of customer reviews, which add credence that your product has worked for others.
There are many more pieces to delivering an effective website, whether it is starting a new brand or improving on an antiquated version. A fast and effective way to know where to start would be a website audit. A website audit will break down your website into core areas that need improvement, and it will then let you prioritise what you should tackle first.