Your customers come to your website for a reason. Do you know what they expect and is your website meeting those expectations?
Regardless of your industry or business there are some common expectations that website visitors share. Here are 5 must-have elements for your website.
1. Great Content
“Great” content is different for each business. If you sell products, then great content will include product images and useful descriptions. If you provide services, then great content will include clear descriptions of your services and testimonials from past customers.
In order to provide great content you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, understand what they need from your site, and deliver it to them as efficiently as possible.
A few examples include:
- Quality product images and useful descriptions
- Qualifications such as customer testimonials, user success stories, and portfolios of past work
- Content that makes a connection with your customer including your personal story or mission
- Contact information! Make it easy for your customers to do business with you
- Expert advice and information such as educational blog posts
2. Intuitive Navigation
Over the years standards for website navigation have emerged and unless you have a very good (customer driven) reason to buck these trends you should stick with the standards.
Intuitive navigation means that your customers can quickly find the content they need without having to hunt for it.
Examples of standard navigation practices that you should use include:
- Logo in upper left that serves as a home page link
- Search (especially for e-commerce sites) at the top of your page
- Menu structure to the right of your logo with a limited number of categories (4 to 6)
- Phone # or contact-us in upper right
- Consistent menus and navigation on all of your pages
- Call-to-action links that are easy to spot by using buttons and accent colors
3. Appealing Look-and-Feel
Let’s admit it, we’ve all been to websites and within seconds thought UGH! These instant impressions are based on visual design elements, the “curb appeal”, of your site.
In a paper published by the Department of Computing, University of Surrey, they found that judgments on web site credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics. That means that your prospective customers are making decisions about your businesses credibility without even reading your content!
What makes an appealing website design? Here are some examples:
- High-quality images, graphics and logo
- Well-coordinated color scheme
- Easy-to-read font with good use of headings and highlights
- Limited text
- Spacing of page elements and use of empty space
- Consistency in all of the above so that an overall mood or feeling is created that reflects your brand
4. Fast Site Performance
A slow loading website will create an instant negative impression about your business. Even worse, your visitors may abandon your site regardless of how great your content is or appealing your design is.
According to Google – 53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load! In addition, Google now uses website performance in its ranking algorithm which directly influences your customer’s ability to find your site.
Many of the techniques needed to speed up the performance of your site are technical and will likely require help from a developer.
Here are a few less technical steps that you can take:
- Reduce image size by cropping, compressing and optimizing them
- Ensure that your site hosting service is appropriate for your needs
- Host your videos on YouTube, not directly on your site
- Use the free Google “TestMySite” website speed test tool to assess your site
5. Mobile Friendly Design
Mobile web traffic has increased from 20% in 2010 to over 70% in 2019. It’s better now to assume that your web user is standing at a bus stop, waiting in line for coffee, or using their phone to complete a quick search while watching TV.
Website visitors expect your site to work on their mobile device. This means that all design elements should automatically be resized and repositioned to fit optimally on the mobile page. Also, navigation should be possible without constantly pinching to zoom in and out.
If you’re just starting to build your website the best practice today is to design it first for mobile, not the desktop. Choose a “responsive” theme that is already designed to be mobile-friendly and choose a developer that understands how to optimize your design for mobile.
If you already have a website that isn’t mobile-friendly, then your best bet is to find a good developer that can help you out.
There are many other customer expectations that your site will need to meet based on your specific industry and business. Following these 5 best practices are important for all businesses and should get you started in the right direction.
Contact us at Flexpro Technology Solutions to review your website needs and improvements you can make in meeting your customer’s expectations.