Learn why your website’s performance is such a huge factor in on-line marketing success.
According to studies of sales statistics, 95 percent of a business’s on-line prospects are just browsing on a website; up to 70 percent of them may buy what you’re selling. Engaging in a website performance review will reveal how you can get ahead.
As the Internet continues to grow in popularity and importance for consumers and businesses alike, the quality of sites needs to keep pace. Creating — and maintaining — a high-quality website is more important now than ever, because higher quality equals more revenue.
So many sites today reflect an unsophisticated aesthetic, poor implementation, and flawed functionality. These sites neglect to consider the site visitor’s experience in some very fundamental ways.
Here are 10 critical areas to immediately improve website performance:
1. Powerful Web Positioning, Messaging and Branding
Your brand is more than your logo. You need clear positioning and messaging that defines and differentiates your company, its products, and services. Give your home page a 5-second test. Can visitors understand what you’re offering and its value in 5 seconds? Do they know where to go next? Do they trust your company?
2. Modern, Simple Design
Your website may have been built by a friend, a student, or a web design firm. But the question is when? Many sites that we review look like they’re wearing retro clothing. In fact, the trained eye can often tell in which decade the site was designed. Some use garish color combinations, black backgrounds with white type that discourage readability, underlined phrases that aren’t links, multiple animations that distract, and stock images that have been overused. None of this is acceptable today.
3. User-Friendly Website Navigation
Information architecture is one of the most overlooked elements in a website. To ensure user-friendliness, you should carefully architect navigation that is intuitive for the user, using simple, effective technology:
- Don’t simply copy your competitor’s navigation or your internal organization chart
- Structure navigation for maximum simplicity, clarity and consistency.
- Structure information architecture to provide a decision path for the visitor that enables success.
4. Improve Website Performance for Mobile-Friendly Experiences
Chances are, your website will be reviewed by prospects on their smartphones and tablets before they ever launch their desktop computer browser. That means you need check out how your website looks on mobile devices? What happens to your navigation? What happens to your clever slide presentation? Do web visitors get a good impression? Is it easy to call you or find your business location? You can solve this by creating a separate mobile site for 5-10 essential pages, or by using Responsive Design, which renders your website differently depending on the device.
5. Drive Traffic to Key Pages
Now that your website has traffic, what good is it for your potential customers if it doesn’t compel them to stay there and buy something from you? Sure, the website may look great, but does it draw your customers’ eyes to the right areas and tell them to do something? There should be a clear call to action. Implement a persuasive website where each page of your website incorporates a step in the buying process.
- As a buyer comes to a page, the decisions and actions presented by that page should guide the buyer through one step in the buying process.
- Each successive stride creates the momentum that will eventually lead to the conversion action that you want the visitor to take.
6. Encourage Trust and Engagement
Long after your website has successfully made sales, it’s important to keep in contact with the people that keep you in business. Even if they’re only going to buy from you once, it’s important to keep in touch, because those customers often turn into referrals. For you, that means more money. This can easily be done with lead mapping and sign up forms for email marketing campaigns, social media, and much more.
7. Website that Provide Engaging Video Preform Better
Many people today would rather watch a video on your website than read long blocks of copy. Take time to create videos for everything from customer testimonials and case studies to product demos. These videos help you build credibility and trust. You don’t have to have hundreds of them but make sure the ones you do have are professional, informative, and entertaining.
8. Balanced and Accurate Website Content
Since it is harder to read text on the Web than in other mediums, and since web visitors are notoriously impatient, make sure that your content easy to read and non-intimidating. Don’t turn your web pages into data sheets. Think of web pages as Executive Summaries and enable visitors to download additional information if they’re interested.
Use three guidelines for writing effectively for the Web:
- Be succinct: write no more than 50% of the text used in a hard copy publication
- Write for scanability: don’t require users to read long continuous blocks of text
- Use hypertext to split up long information into multiple pages
The information you do provide on your website should be interesting and accurate. Don’t forget to remove outdated product information, replace profiles of employees who have left the company, and update sales offices that have moved or been closed.
9. Social Media Activity and Connections
Social media Marketing is an ever-growing phenomenon that intersects your website powerfully. But it’s not enough to add social media icons that provide easy connections to your branded social media profiles. If you’re really using social media, you need to populate some areas of your website with social media activity. Show recent tweets, or a counter that updates Facebook Likes. Don’t just have a link to your blog; show excerpts of recent blog posts.
10. Help Visitors Get in Touch
Every individual website page should be designed around a plan for action. What is the primary action you want website visitors to take when they visit? Do you want them to download a key piece of information? Do you want them to simply request more information? Do you want them to pick up the telephone and call?
Many websites today don’t have a plan for action and don’t make critical contact information easy to find. If phone calls are important to your business, put your phone number in both the Header and Footer, so that it appears on every page. Add a Contact Us page that provides all of your important contact information. Include your contact information on every landing page. And add a contact form for prospects to fill out to request information.
Get a Peace-of-Mind Audit
Take some time to audit your current website using the suggestions in this post as a checklist. Talk to real users and watch them interact with your website to gain insight into how they look for information and make decisions on your website.
If you’re unsure of what’s wrong or how to correct it, talk with a HiveMind Marketing strategist. We can help you identify what’s wrong, and what’s right, with your web design and overall user experience.