Spring cleaning time might be over, but it’s never too late to give your website a good dusting. Take a day to assess your website design. It will pay dividends to ensure that you’re following best practices.
Best practices is just what it sounds like. What’s the best way to go about designing your website? It’s the hub of your company, where customers and clients can touch base with everything surrounding your brand. From upcoming promotional events to the latest products, your website needs to represent the face of your business. Keeping it fresh and interesting will convince loyal visitors and potential leads alike to make your page a regular stop.
1. Pay attention to accessibility
All users to your site should get to experience your products and services, regardless of disability. Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for business owners on their website. There, you can find a tool kit to help you audit your website.
Some major takeaways include:
- Allowing your site text to be viewed using custom browser settings
- Including audio descriptions and captions for videos
- Providing HTML and plain text alternatives to PDFs that allow text-to-speech programs to read these documents aloud
2. Responsive mobile design is critical.
It should come as no surprise that mobile devices are eclipsing desktop as far as user share is concerned. In fact, according to Statista, 36% of all eCommerce sales are completed on mobile, and a whopping 95% percent of shoppers use their mobile device to look up reviews and comparison shop while in a traditional brick and mortar. If you’re not making your online presence known on mobile, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your marketing demographic.
Test your website on all the devices you can get your hands on, from iPhone to Android, Mac to PC, and any kind of tablet. Ask friends, family, and employees to take a few minutes to visit major pages on your site and report what they notice about design. Are there pictures they can’t see? Content they can’t access? Fix it before it causes a consumer to change their mind about completing a sale.
3. Keep things organized.
Everyone’s favorite silly old bear Winnie the Pooh said, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” While he wasn’t necessarily talking about website design, our honey-loving friend was certainly onto something.
When a visitor comes to your site, they’ve likely followed a long trail of leads that eventually landed them there. Let’s say you sell vintage ham radio systems. What started as a quick Google lookup to find out what a ham radio is turned into searching for the best deals on a nice radio rig. If your site is well organized, you can fulfill both needs in one fell swoop.
Give them a clear route that takes them from concise, bulleted information to the purchase page in as few clicks as possible. Conservatively use fonts and colors that emphasize the most important bits of information on a page. Draw them in with headlines that are exciting and to the point. Make your visitors feel like they’re not being bombarded with information, graphics, and confusing site maps. Make Pooh proud and keep it organized.
4. Always be selling.
From the moment that a visitor lands on your page, they should be aware that you’re offering a solution to the problem they’re trying to solve. That’s not to say that you have to incorporate bright, flashing signs that say, “BUY HERE, BUY NOW.” In fact, we recommend that you don’t do that. Instead, draw the eye (and the mouse) using thoughtful calls to action that create natural draws to you product page.
Once the customer is on your product page, they’re looking for very specific information. They want to see clean, crisp images of what they’re buying, information on why they should buy your product instead of a competitors, and how your product or service is going to solve their problem. Obviously, they also want to see a price. We’ve all been in a situation where we look at a product that says “contact for pricing” and move onto the next site. Price is one of the most important factors for customers deciding what to buy. Making it more difficult to figure out if your product is in their price range is a great way to run customers off.
5. Use Google to Your Advantage.
There are nearly 70,000 Google searches performed every minute. Your potential customers and clients are constantly looking up questions, products, services, entertainment, and everything else under the sun. Many websites have cracked the code to being seen, and it’s called search engine optimization.
We’ve gone into extensive detail about creating optimized web pages and content, so be sure to check out more information here and here. What you really need to know, though, is that Google indexes websites based on their content. Create brilliant content, with thoughtful use of keywords, meta-descriptions, and alt tags, and you’ll find yourself climbing to the top of the ranks. That’s good news, too. 75% of users go with a first page result to sate their curiosity or purchase needs.