Detailed analysis of the commercial experiences of businesses operating online indicates that simply having a website is no longer sufficient when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. Even if you monitor your site regularly and keep it up to date there are a number of reasons why consumers may find browsing it to be unpleasant, resulting in the fact that they want to move on quickly to an alternative offer. Here are five discouraging attributes of websites that you need to be aware of, and some tips on how to put them right:
A site that is crowded with too much information, clunky to navigate and slow to load in the first place does not do your business any favors. Generally, web surfers decide whether to stay or go after less than 10 seconds, and your site will strain their patience if they have to wait an age for your home page to load. The same applies if it takes too long for visitors to navigate from one section of your site to another. Even though download speeds are becoming faster, your potential customers will become discouraged if every online action takes too long.
So, the key things to remember are to declutter your home page so that it will load more quickly, and so your visitor is not bombarded with too much choice on first landing. If you also streamline your navigation operations, you will be able to minimize the number of clicks and links required to reach other pages.
Appearance makes a major difference to how attractive your site is to your regular and potential customers. Long paragraphs of text without breaks or visual images are unappealing and consumers are likely to get bored, so they won’t take the time to read your scintillating information, no matter how well configured. You already know your written content has to be error free, informative and engaging, so why present it in such a way as to make it difficult to follow?
Combining text (in short paragraphs) with superior images and videos, call-outs or interesting and relevant quotes can make all the difference. It’s important to use high quality visual material, as poor images or badly produced videos will definitely do more harm than good. Certainly, it’s worth checking out stock photos by Dreamstime when you’re looking for excellent and relevant visual material.
This is a major issue as more and more devices, especially tablets and smartphones, are being used to browse online sites. It’s very irritating, when as a potential customer, you find that a site doesn’t automatically resize to match the shape of your screen. You then have to fiddle around with the zoom function or scroll your screen from side to side to view content. In fact, this is more than a little inconvenient for individual customers; it has become a major deterrent when it comes to your business site’s Google rankings, as these now penalize unresponsive design.
If you make sure to prioritize mobile formats at the design or redesign stage of your site, you will be helping to guarantee that this is not a problem. Pay attention to the layout, fonts and the site theme so that these are optimized for screens of all sizes. Don’t forget to actually test the final site design on every size screen to see how it looks on a variety of devices.
Lack of usability
Can’t find what you’re looking for? This is the chief complaint that by far the majority of online consumers regularly make when they are surveyed to gain their opinions about business websites. You can be confident that this is a problem that frustrates customers and frequently prompts them to divert their attention, and therefore their business, to an alternative supplier.
To make sure that your site avoids creating such a negative impact, you have to pick up on the signals your consumers are sending. Monitoring how long visitors spend on the site and tracking where they search can be a big help.
The main message here is that you need to focus on making it easy for your customers to find exactly what they want, quickly. This is where user interface (UI) and user-friendly design can help. When searching your site, visitors should find navigation to be self-explanatory, enjoyable and efficient. In the online business world of the moment, user experience (UX) is king.
What to do next?
If your site’s visitors can’t find a way to move on once they’ve made a decision, whether that’s to ask for clarification or to buy a product, then your website is failing in commercial terms. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to look for further information, maybe in a bulletin or a newsletter, but unable to find a way to access this, only to later discover that what they want is buried in an obscure area of your website. This does little for your business credibility. If your potential customer can’t find a way to progress then they won’t, and neither will you.
Take steps to make sure your call to action is not only visible but also clear, so that consumers know what their options are and what is expected of them. Popups can help, however it is wise to make judicious use of these and to offer a tempting reward in the process.
Bear in mind these key points and you will safeguard the integrity of your site and its ability to attract and retain commercial traffic:
- Make sure it is fast and all your site pages are easy to access.
- Take care that written content is professionally presented and break up lengthy text with relevant and high quality images.
- Optimize your site design for responsiveness.
- Prioritize user experience to make sense of page progression and enable usability.
- Clarify all calls to action and make them easily accessible to your customers.