As technology has advanced, websites have become more complex. What used to be a static, one-way medium has developed over the past decade into a rich, interactive experience for users. The success of your site no longer depends on how nice it looks (although that still counts!) but more on your users’ perception of its capabilities. Making sure they get the best possible experience is essential for returning traffic; otherwise, it doesn’t matter how good your information or how pretty your design is, you’re unlikely to convert your visitors into leads.
So what are the factors that offer users an exceptional experience? Here are just a few of the most important ones:
Mobile-Friendly is a Must
With mobile users now accounting for 72% of all Internet traffic, creating a website that can be viewed on every type of device is more important than ever. Besides, Google announced that mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in search results. If you’re not sure that your site is mobile friendly, try Google’s free tool to find out and if you discover that it isn’t, it’s a good time to revisit your design.
Keeping the Copy Clear and Concise
Visitors leave websites they don’t like as quickly as they arrive, so it’s necessary for your site to be easy to view and read. We all know someone who was absent the day we learned about paragraphs in school! Everything he (or she) writes is one long block of text! After a few sentences, the user’s eyes rebel and they stop reading. Although your friend might not recognize the virtues of white space, it’s imperative that you do if you don’t want your website viewers to immediately click away when they spot the overwhelming amount of text on your page.
There’s no need to include every pertinent fact about your company or product on your home page. A few short paragraphs that entice viewers to learn more, call you or buy your products are all you need.
Make Your Mission Plain
Readers shouldn’t have to guess what you want them to do. A call to action (CTA) will make the next step clear. Whether you’re telling readers to call for a free estimate, sign up for your email newsletter or shop now, your CTA should be prominent and easy to understand. Put one in your header as well as in the body of the page.
Content is Varied and Fresh
Users don’t all respond to the same type of content. In addition to written information, it’s good to use material in other media – photographs, audio content such as podcasts, webinars, downloadable information such as white papers and ebooks, and visuals including slide shows and videos. Using alt tags on the photographs and videos can also help you generate better search engine results. Keep your content fresh and relevant. Add new information about your services as often as possible and if you don’t already blog regularly, adding an informative blog to your site can help you to develop thought leadership in your industry–as well as making all the difference in the world to the quality of your user’s experience.
Navigation is Easy
If it takes more than a few seconds to find something on your site, most visitors won’t bother. The average viewer spends 15 seconds on a site. If it takes longer than that to figure out how to buy your product, you’ll lose a significant number of potential customers. Make your navigation simple and logical.
Use Graphics and Colors Sparingly
Flashing banners and garish colors detract from the credibility of your site. Every element on your site should complement the site design, not distract viewers from learning more about what you do. Use two or three complementary colors at most, and make sure your graphics don’t slow down your site.
Social Media Icons are Prominent
Don’t make it hard for people to find your social media accounts. Place icons for each site at the top of your home page, and make sure your social media pages link back to your website. Use social media marketing to connect your users with new products or additions to your website.