In today’s business world, building a good website may be one of the most important things you can do to grow your company. Business cards, marketing efforts and even keyword research are all essential steps to driving customers to your business. Your website is both your business face and your storefront, especially if you do business globally.
Because your website does double duty as both a store and an ambassador for your business, branding and corporate identity, it is critical to ensure that your website is as efficient and easy to use as possible. The Internet makes it possible for a potential customer to have multiple alternatives available at a moment’s notice. This means any complication in your website—whether it is unclear writing that confuses the issue, or a difficult user interface that makes it hard to navigate your site— gives customers an excuse to leave and see what your competitor has to offer.
If you don’t want this to happen to you, there are seven important strategies you need to employ to keep customers at your website once they’ve arrived.
People use the Internet for two reasons; speed and convenience. Anything that doesn’t offer both is grounds for a potential customer to leave. A poorly coded website with a sluggish response time and a lot of waiting is not going to be tolerated in a world where one swipe of the finger will take a user somewhere else.
A mobile version of your website is essential. The design demands of a traditional desktop or laptop computer are very different from someone browsing a website on a phone with a 6” screen. The interaction is also different, switching from a mouse and keyboard to a touch/gesture based system. If someone is looking at your website on a phone, you need to have a mobile-friendly version, optimizing their web experience. If not, you may lose a customer.
Even if the product or service you offer is complex, your website shouldn’t be. Unnecessary complexity merely adds more layers of interference to your website, wasting your visitor’s time, and making it harder for them to accomplish their goals. For example, if you constantly fill your website with elaborate, beautiful animations, and these transitions and animations can’t be skipped, it means that someone just wanting to find out more information about your services can take five or more minutes just to accomplish that goal. On a more basic website, finding the information they seek might take 10 seconds.
Never sacrifice useable, simple website functionality for the sake of making an impression. The impression you leave will be a negative one.
A website often has different pages and separated content, allowing visitors to jump from one category to another. As it is with usability, website navigation should be direct. Having a huge list of pages to sort through might seem impressive, but if those pages are filler, it can actually hurt your website.
Always make it easy for visitors to navigate their path through your website. Always have a site map that clearly defines where the content is. Don’t make them play guessing games, or jump to irrelevant pages to find the content they want.
Some people like it, some people don’t, but it never hurts to have a clear call to action on your website and its respective pages. A call to action is your last chance to urge a customer to take the next step and get in contact you about what you have to offer.
Always make your call to action clear, easy and persuasive, and give your visitors the appropriate channel to take that action once they’ve decided to do so.
Your website is NOT where you want to impress people with your vocabulary and command of grammar. A website and its copy and content should be clear and concise. Make sure that your content is easy to read and understand. It should be accessible to everyone who comes across it.
Showing off your extensive vocabulary can be mistaken for arrogance. You may be intelligent and have a great command of the language, but don’t demonstrate this in your web content to the point of being condescending and obtuse. You will only lose customers this way.
You’ve worked hard to build a corporate identity, so make sure that your identity is clear and consistent throughout your website. Now is not the time to play with alternative color schemes, logos, typefaces or other elements of your brand. Maintain consistency about who you are and what you represent.
Wherever people go on your website, consistent branding offers professionalism and memorability. You need to focus on your branding and, once you have it, present it in a uniform, reliable way.
Every entrepreneur charts a difference course to success, but in order to make your website and your business really stand out, you need to develop relevant content to promote how remarkable your product or service is.
All successful businesses have a unique selling point. If you can’t easily promote what is remarkable about your business, you are going to lose out to someone who can. Make sure that you can quickly, succinctly and persuasively show a customer what it is about your business that makes it different—and more desirable—than the others.
By following these seven website strategies, you stand a much greater chance of retaining customers and having them reach out to you for what you have to offer. Play to your strengths and remember these tips.