November 14, 2010
The great news for you is there are tons of quick and easy – usually free ways – to make your website more appealing to your customers.
Here’s 5 you can apply today.
1. Site Search
When you have more than 20 pages, it’s a good idea to add a search facility. If you have a site search, make sure it’s prominent. Usability guidelines tend to prefer the upper-right corner of the page. Keep the button label simple and clear – “Search” still works best for most
sites. Don’t unleash your powers of lateral thinking and swap in a word like “Retrieve”. Keep it simple.
To Do: Just using your search, try to find 3 pages of content. Is that process “quick, easy and straight-forward?” Or is it “hit and miss?”
2. Ensure Your Webpages Can Be Skim-read Easily
Few people read word for word online; the vast majority skim-read to get a sense of the page before they read any of it in detail. Make it easy for visitors to skim-read your content. Always use headings and bullets to break up text.
Think about it. If a heading is not relevant for your visitor, they can easily skim down to the next heading, making it straightforward for them to get directly to the information they need.
Always keep your text in manageable chunks, not an unbroken wall of words like insurance small print, so it’s easier for customers to look up what they want right away and with confidence – which is critical if they are making a buying decision.
To Do: Give your website a quick review and make sure all your text is broken up into clear, manageable sections.
3. Keep Your Styles & Colors Consistent
Make sure people know they’re still on your site by being consistent – confuse them and you’ll lose them. Keep the look and feel of your website sections consistent and avoid any radical changes. Visitors can get confused and think they have left your site accidentally.
Layout, headings, and styles should be consistent site-wide, and colors should usually have the same meaning.
For example, don’t use red for headers on one page, red for hyperlinks on another, and red as standard text somewhere else.
To Do: Ensure all your web pages appear to be part of the main site and that they are consistent with each other. Are there any “nasty surprises” depending on the part of the site you’re in?
4. Use Emphasis (bold, etc.) Sparingly
It’s a fact of human psychology: try to draw attention to everything and you’ll effectively draw attention to nothing. We’ve all seen that site, the one with a red, blinking, underlined “NEW!” next to everything. Don’t be that guy or gal.
Remember, if your site’s graphic design is counter-intuitive and doesn’t help visitors get something done quickly, it’s going to make your site much slower and difficult to work with.
Slow, awkward sites never, ever, ever, delight your customer or create a good rapport online.
Visitors will be back at the search engine in seconds if they find your website “complicated” or “busy”.
To Do: Ensure your website is only highlighting critical factors you absolutely need your visitors to gaze at or click on in order to meet your online business goals. Menus, buy buttons, opt-in boxes and so on.
5. Keep Your Ads & Pop-ups Unobtrusive
Ads are a fact of life, but integrate them nicely into your site. Don’t try to force ads and pop-ups down peoples’ throats; you’ll end up creating frustration for your visitors. Also, do people a favor and make your ads clear. If you blur the line between ads and content too much, your content may suffer, since many people have developed “banner blindness” when it comes to surfing, and might overlook some important content by mistake.
To Do: Double check if your pop-up window is significantly increasing your opt-in rate. If it isn’t, you could be annoying present and future customers unnecessarily.
Always make sure you view your website through the eyes of the customer and not through your eyes, the website owner.
Make sure there are no red-flags on your site that are going to frustrate, confuse or bore customers. Keep everything nice and simple to make sure your visitors enjoy spending time (and money) on your site
If your business website is not bringing in the sales and leads you’d hoped for, has been a waste of money and is driving you mad, it’s probably not meeting the needs of your customers either! To find out how customers feel about your website, check out my Website Success System, which shows you how to view your site through your customers’ eyes: www.websitesuccesssystem.com