First impressions count. In fact, those much cited ‘7 seconds’ might be too generous on those who fail to make the quickest of impacts. According to Forbes, ‘’some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness’’.
And this isn’t only confined to those face-to-face meetings when you can make snap assumptions according to someone’s clothes, the pitch of their voice and even their unique scent.
Nope, this thing goes deeper than that; the impression your website makes matters, too. It’s been reported that the majority of users spend 15 seconds or less on a single website visit, with attention spans seemingly in terminal decline. Yep, to capture a visitor’s attention and hopefully, a sale, you have got to make those first impressions count.
In the midst of a global pandemic, that statement has never been more pertinent. For now, your website is likely the only face of your business, with bricks and mortar operations largely on hold due to government restrictions. There’s never been a more important time than now to ensure your landing page and primary platform is up to date and running smoothly. With that in mind, here are 9 ways to improve your website for your customers.
REDESIGN YOUR WEBSITE TO MEET CHANGING NEEDS
Your website might be in need of an update to its design more often than you think. With internet browsers like Chrome, Safari or Firefox regularly updating their own layouts, yours can end up looking a little dated and out of proportion if you don’t respond accordingly.
Sometimes it might be a case of making few tweaks here and there, and other times, a complete overhaul is necessary.
When choosing to redesign your website completely, there are several things you should think about. The first is to identify which existing features of your web design are working and what features likely to enhance the user experience are missing. Consider whether the soul of your brand is conveyed via your website, and how you could further dial down into this message via layout, imagery, iconography, logos and words.
At the end of the day, you want a website design that’s going to reflect your brand image and to create that consistency so needed across all aspects of your business both online and offline.
It’s only when you have a clear vision in mind that you can approach a designer, whether this is done in-house or outsourced, and articulate your needs with precision and clarity.
CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
Your audience are also your customers, current or potential, so it’s worth looking at your website from a fresh perspective and imagine yourself as a customer landing on it for the first time. Think about what is missing and what you might need to make it more functional and enjoyable to use.
In fact, a recent survey carried out by Studio Graphene and published by NC Insurance offered some really interesting findings:
- The majority of adults in the UK said that they would leave a website within 30 seconds if it was hard to navigate or visually unappealing.
- 47% of Brits believe a good website is the key factor in them trusting a brand.
- 25% of the adult population in the UK have switched companies due to a rival company having a better website with a better customer experience. This figure rises to 41% for those aged between 18 and 34.
This should emphasise just how important the functionality and user experience of your website is.
Think specifically about who your target audience is and just how computer literate they are. Perhaps you need to make it more easily functional if you have a more mature audience or for those that might be limited in their web browsing in general. Some age groups might need more visual, vibey content, rather than it being mostly text, too.
ADD A LIVE CHAT SERVICE
Every customer is different and when it comes to communication, you’ll have some customers who enjoy hearing a genuine human voice on the other end of the line and others who prefer the cold, calculating email exchange. You’ll find none who enjoy being put on hold, mind.
In recent years you’ve no doubt noticed an increase in live chat services offered by some of your favourite brand’s customer service departments. In the eyes of many time-poor consumers who favour virtual interaction, these represent the most efficient way of getting an enquiry seen to, and instill confidence in the customer that their needs are being met.
If you’re looking at how to add live chat to your website, then it’s fairly simple to do so, and is a great way of providing an additional service when it comes to communication, along with giving you a reserve option for answering any customer enquiries both during working hours and out of working hours when all human hands are on deck elsewhere. Yep, automated robots can be a great way of helping to provide information when your staff aren’t around to help.
START A BLOG PAGE
When you run a website, generating traffic is vital. Because of this, it’s worth having a blog page running alongside your more functional, formal platform to lure people in and keep them engaged.
Unlike other web pages, this is one that will continue to generate new and increased amounts of traffic due to the content you produce, and helps you engage with your customers on a more personal, down-to-earth level.
The content you provide could be about the company itself or it could concern the industry that your business operates within. When creating a blog page, make sure you’re thinking about what your audience wants to see, as quality content is the most surefire way to generate traffic. By updating the page regularly, you can assure customers that your business is constantly active and with their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and tech in the industry.
OPTIMISE YOUR SEO
Optimising your SEO is a crucial element of your website. The better your search engine optimisation is, the more traffic you’re likely to generate. This can also help you achieve a higher ranking on search engines.
And let’s face it, your Google position matters hugely; the higher you rank, the more customers you reach. However, achieving decent SEO takes time and brands will often outsource this to companies who specialise the much-misunderstood field. This isn’t dark arts, mystery and magic, but rather an area of expertise which can be applied to any website.
Incidentally, check out these 5 tips on improving SEO strategy for a little more insight.
THINK ABOUT WHITE SPACE
The psychology of web design layout is a fascinating subject, and it’s surprising just how important that layout can be in generating custom and keeping visitors on your page. And as we already mentioned, time spent loitering in the margins of your website often translates into cold, hard revenue.
White space is essential within your design. Think of areas with no text or images as a little resting area for the user; should a visitor feel hurried and overwhelmed by information, they’re not likely to stay with you for any valuable length of time. On the other hand, if you’ve provided a virtual park bench for them to take a moment, they’ll likely re-enter the body of your site with a new found energy after their recharge.
The experts at The Next Web put it succinctly when they say that ‘’if a visitor comes to your website and every inch of real estate on the screen is taken up by words, graphics, blinking things, etc., it starts to feel chaotic and makes them uneasy. If no white space is present, there is nothing for them to move their eyes to take a visual break’’.
On the flip side, a well organised space with lots of areas for resting and recalibrating shows a respect for your customer which can be subtly transitioned into engagement and ultimately, sales.
Pop-ups or CTAs (call to action) are a great way to motivate your readers to do something that you want them to do; for example, to click on a specific page, sign up for your newsletter or watch a video.
These pop-ups and CTAs are a smart bit of website technology that can encourage the behaviour of your audience in a certain direction and further push your agenda as a business. They’re also good when people aren’t particularly active on the website or perhaps may need some direction in where they’re going as a first-time user of the site.
Be careful that you don’t use too many pop-ups, however, as this can get a bit frustrating for regular users of your site and interfere with all that lovely white space you’d previously implemented.
In order for potential customers to take note of your improved website, you first need to make sure that they know you exist. It’s a good idea to promote your website actively, then, on other channels.
Sometimes, such focus can be placed on the many virtues of social media that the actual website of a company gets forgotten. But more often than not, it’s your website where actual sales take place, so it’s vital that you redirect engagement towards it. Create viral content on TikTok, promote via Facebook, capture a customer’s attention with an iconic image on Instagram, but ultimately, use these channels to send engaged consumers towards your website; the platform that matters most.