What Do Your Customers & Prospects Want from Your Website?
By: Lexie Lu
SEO, marketing campaigns, and customer loyalty programs are just a few of the techniques you’ve likely used to draw customers in and keep them coming back for more. You’re competing against a lot of other things vying for your customers’ attention.
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number of small businesses because the number is forever changing, but there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States alone. If you want to grab users’ attention and gain new customers, you have to make sure you offer what users want and even some things they didn’t realize they wanted.
Here are nine things your website should offer your visitors:
1. Place Navigation Near the Top
Consumers expect your site’s navigation to be in familiar places that are easy to find. Upon landing on your page, about 50% of visitors look for the navigation bar to figure out where things are on the site. Users want an easy way to acclimate themselves and move around without spending a ton of time figuring out where main areas of the site reside.
New Chapter places their overall navigation hierarchy at the top of the page. Note how the logo links back to the home page, another navigation feature that users expect. You have the most important elements first, and each main category has subcategories underneath. The navigation is intuitive and easy for visitors to acclimate to.
2. Give Them Amazing Offers
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Imagine that you’re comparing three similar products from three businesses. All other elements being equal, are you more likely to buy the one that offers an introductory deal or the one that doesn’t offer a discount? Figure out how to give your users amazing offers they can’t resist. Be sure to match your offer with what your users are looking for.
3. Include Contact Information
Consumers want to know that if they have a problem, it will be easy to contact your company and find a solution. They are entrusting you with their hard-earned dollars, so they expect a way to get in touch outside of a simple email address; although that is a nice thing to offer as well. Highlighting a phone number in a place easy to locate shows that you want your customers to stay happy.
Reynolds Solutions offers building solutions. They make it easy for customers to get in touch by placing a toll-free number in bright red in the top right corner of their home page. The header is sticky and remains in the same location as visitors navigate through the site. A static location keeps the contact info front and center and makes it easy for users to find.
4. Stay Consistent
Users want consistency in your branding methods. They don’t want a serious tone on your website and a funny tone on social media. The overall tone, design, and personality should stay the same no matter how the consumer comes in contact with your brand. Users get frustrated with big changes, too, so think them through carefully before completely changing the look and feel of your site.
5. Make Info Easy to Locate
Users want a clear look at what you have to offer and why it is the best option for consumers. Make information easy to locate, including any warranty type information. Everything should get laid out clearly and concisely, so the consumer’s questions are answered before they can ask them.
SMARTCORE Floors does a great job of laying out the differences in the four different lines of SMARTCORE flooring they offer. Note how they use images to highlight the look of each product line, a short header description, and then a short summary of the product. Users can then click on a link for even more information on that particular line of flooring.
6. Add Strong Calls to Action (CTA)
Once you’ve presented your information and perfected your design elements, consumers also want a strong CTA. Clear direction guides them and explains what action they should take next. A strong CTA is easy to locate because it contrasts with the rest of the page. You’ll often see CTAs in a bright pop of red or deep blue, for example, because it stands out against lighter backgrounds.
7. Use a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
Security matters to many consumers and Google’s constant changes include a look at how secure your site is and if they should offer a warning to browsers if you don’t use HTTPS. SSL encrypts information and keeps it more secure. It is particularly important on eCommerce sites that collect personal information. If you don’t use SSL for some reason, at least let site visitors know how you protect the information they share with you. Adding SSL is fairly simple, though, and well worth the effort to protect your customers and keep your site trustworthy.
Alexander Real Estate uses SSL, which allows users to feel comfortable contacting them to either list or buy a home. Since they collect personal information to gather leads, this lends security to user information and allows users to feel secure sharing their information online.
8. Test Your Site on Mobile
More and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet than ever before. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic. 85% of people think a business’ mobile website experience should equal or surpass the desktop experience. Responsive design matters. Take the time to thoroughly test your site on different screen sizes and operating systems.
9. Speed up Images
If the images on your page load slowly, you’re going to lose site visitors before they even engage with your site. Almost 40% of people leave a website if images take too long to load. Broken images cause site visitors to bounce away. Images slow down page load times, but people also respond to images, so you have to create a healthy balance between text and images. Optimize images, so they load as fast as possible and get rid of images that don’t work.
People are busy. They are running to work, kids’ activities after school, and trying to shuffle 100 other activities. Anything you can do to make the experience of visiting your website easier translates to more engaged and dedicated customers. Look at your site through their eyes and figure out what works and what needs tweaking.