We’ve all done this, clicked on a website and spent so much time trying to find out basic information, we click off, leaving totally frustrated. Many businesses make the mistake of putting together a website that is more about their own idea of what it should look like instead of being optimized for future clients. Here are seven tips to help you make your website a great user experience.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
You only have six seconds to engage your website visitor, so make it count by making your home page simple and easy to navigate. Get rid of all the clutter. Be clear on what problems you can solve for your future clients. What makes you unique and how you can help solve their issues. This clarification is part of your strategy in developing your brand pillars.
CREATE A “CALL TO ACTION”
A Call to Action (CTA) is where you direct your visitor to take an action. What would your action message be? This message depends on the focus you are trying to achieve. For startups, it would be different than it is for established businesses.
For example, popular yoga wear brand Lululemon is a business that has already established the ‘like, know and trust factor’ (other than that hiccup a few years ago with the transparent yoga pants!) Because they are established and have loyal customers, they can concentrate on offering new products and product line extensions. Lululemon know that’s what their clients are looking for.
When Kate Hudson started her Fabletics brand of athletic wear, she focused on a different Call To Action, which she still uses to-day. The Fabletics Call To Action is based on “Become a VIP member and get special offers.” The focus for Fabletics when they started up was to offer it’s members “value” yoga/active wear. The Fabletics price points underscore “value”. This is a different focus and call to action than the more luxury brand, Lululemon.
Each company has positioned itself with it’s own unique Call To Action.
FREE OFFERS IN RETURN FOR EMAIL ADDRESSES
If you are offering courses or consulting services, an easy way to get sign-ups for your email list is to offer something “free”. This could be any one of the following:
A free checklist
A free downloadable e-book
A free “how to” guide
AN EASY TO FOLLOW MENU BAR
A menu bar should be clear and logical and cover essential elements. Visitors want to know you. An ‘About Us’ page showcases you and your team, showcases your experience, tells your story, all in a clear and inviting way. This will create the ‘trust’ factor.
A ‘contact us’ page is also essential. Don’t make your clients chase all over your website to find out how to contact you. In addition to a stand-alone contact us page, your contact info can go right on your home page.
Testimonials – Also essential for creating the “trust” factor. If you have extensive testimonials, list them on a separate page, so they can be found easily from your menu bar.
CONTENT IS KING
Your website can look the prettiest or coolest on the planet, but if the content isn’t there, then within a few seconds of frustration, your visitor will click off quickly. Are you providing valuable content? Content is a great tool for service-oriented businesses to demonstrate value. A consistent blog strategy that you share everywhere is a platform for your content.
CHOICE OF IMAGES AND VIDEOS IS IMPORTANT
It’s true, we are all very visual. The first things that we react to on a website are the pictures and videos. Are they engaging, do they speak to your audience, do they tell a story? Can your viewers relate? It’s one of the single most important parts of your website because it’s key to the client experience and first-time engagement.
ASK FOR OR DEVELOP YOUR WIREFRAME BEFORE CODING
A wireframe shows the navigation, the columns, the placing of the home page elements and is a blueprint for your website. A wireframe can also show the images for the homepage and titles of the columns, and either sample text or real text. Once the wireframe is complete you can test this with your clients. Have you hit the highlights of what a customer would want to find out when they land on your site? Feedback at this stage is important so adjustments can be made before coding begins.
Once your website is finished in a ‘test’ environment, send it out to your tribe of colleagues for their critical analysis before you publish to the world. You are looking for feedback. Incorporating the feedback will make your website the best experience for your future clients.
If you aren’t sure if your website is the best experience for your clients, contact us for a free website checkup.
Marketing Strategist and web designer at XL Consulting Group. Author of Fabulous Fempreneurship, a startup guide for women entrepreneurs.