- Maureen Dillon 01.12.2015
In the current environment, a high quality website is critical to a successful business. A website that is bare bones, poorly laid out, or frustrating will drive customers away from your business even faster than a bad product will. If you are trying to improve your business, the solution may be to improve your website. Don't know how to improve your website? Try some of the following ten easy tips for improving your website.
The most important advice for how to improve your website is to minimize the number of times that visitors need to click in order to get useful information. Once a visitor reaches your landing page, it should take one, or at most two, clicks to reach any piece of important information. If it takes more than that, your customer is likely to get frustrated and leave. You should run tests on your website assuming visitors are searching for particular pieces of information and count the number of clicks needed to find that information. If it is constantly taking customers three or more clicks to get places, reorganize in a way that economizes your website layout.
When a potential customer visits your website, it is probably because they are looking for details about your product or service. If you website is vague or makes those details hard to find, you will probably lose a customer. Create bullet lists and offer those details (especially about technical specifications and prices) in an easy to find place.
Many customers go to your website for one reason and one reason only: to find contact information for your business. It is critical that this information is easy to find. Too many websites these days hide that information, which just annoys customers. Additionally, make sure the contact information includes an e-mail address, phone number, and physical address. Just like people don't like being forced to interact with your website using a specific form of media, they don't like being forced to use a specific form of communication.
As many as 85% of all people that use the internet visit YouTube at least once a month. Take advantage of this fact by adding video clips to your website. In general, shorter clips (about 1-2 minutes) are best. You want something that will entertain, but not something that is so long that your audience gets bored or distracted. In general, a little humor in a video is very effective because it is more likely for your audience to share a humorous video on a social networking site, which effectively gives you free advertising.
One of the quickest ways to drive away your audience is to force specific types of interactions in order to learn more about your business or product. Not every internet user wants to read a product description, click through a photo gallery, or watch a video. Any time you put information on your website, try to make sure that someone visiting your site can learn that information through multiple sources of media. For example, provide product information in both a video and traditional text. This is particularly important for video and audio which may not play properly on all devices.
In today's world, internet users want to be constantly updated. The best way to update your customers about your products or business is with a blog. A blog is a completely non-intrusive way to disseminate information regularly. Customers that are interested can read your updates, while those that aren't interested can explore other parts of your website. As long as the blog is updated regularly with engaging information, it is a great way to improve your website.
Every blog should have a comment section. And even if you don't have a blog, a comment section or forum is a great way to engage customers. But if you allow public customer feedback, it is critical that you moderate comments. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to allow comments to be posted without moderation. Even though you aren't posting, everything that appears on your website reflects on you. Be open and public about your moderation policy, but don't let anything appear on your website that hasn't been monitored first by someone you trust.
If you visit the Google website on Christmas, you will see a festive re-design. While you don't need to go all out, if you want to really engage your customers, make small changes to your website for every major (and some minor) holiday. Once you make a habit of this, customers will visit your website to see what changes you made. If you also make a few random changes at other times, or acknowledge weird holidays like Arbor Day, you can get people to visit regularly just to find Easter eggs.
If you allow customers to make purchases directly from your website, and you don't already allow Paypal to be used to make that purchase, it is time to make a change. Paypal is practically ubiquitous today and the majority of online shoppers use it to make purchases at least once a year. Since Paypal charges a percentage that is roughly equivalent to what credit card companies charge, you basically aren't losing anything by allowing this payment option. There is no good reason that any medium to large business isn't allowing customers to buy with Paypal and if you aren't, you can expect to lose customers because of that decision.
If you want to improve return traffic to your website, the best way to do that is to offer freebies to people that visit your website. Think of it as a reward for taking the time to visit your site. Discounts are nice, but an actual free product or service, even if only for a limited time, is really the best way to get return traffic. The internet is a very big place, and people like when businesses show gratitude for them taking the time to visit a specific website.
You need to consider your website as your store and manage it’s layout and aesthetic as though every visitor is a potential customer. Hopefully one of these easily applicable tweaks will lend your site greater UX and help in the conversion of potential customers to actual customers.