How many websites have you visited lately that are just downright awful?
Too many words, too much scrolling, clashing colours, confusing messages – they not only look bad, but the worst part is they stop customers from doing business with the company.
If you’ve got a website, take a moment to consider its effectiveness. Has it got a clear message, is it user friendly and are you driving traffic to the right places?
Here are nine top tips for improving your website and making it easy for customers to do business with you online:
1. It’s about the customer, not you
Design your website and organise the content for the target audience – not for you. Make section names and headings meaningful and use terms that your clients and customers use when asking about your products or services.
2. Keep it simple
Allow for plenty of white space on each page and always choose functionality over looks when the two are clashing. Don’t place too many elements on any one page and don’t distract users with flashing signs and rotating banners unless you know that’s what they want.
3. Write for the web, not a novel
People don’t read web pages like they would a book. In fact, most people only read about 25% of the text on a page. Keep sentences short and write in plain English. The use of bullet-point lists and links to other pages to make information easy to scan is a good idea.
4. Make it Google-friendly
Since more users will find your website through Google than any other method, compose each page so that it is easily indexed and ranked highly by Google. Page titles and headings should match the most popular key words users are searching and this should also be repeated in the body of the page. Each page should have a word count of at least 250 words, if possible, and avoid writing in a contrived style intended to trick Google into ranking
Remember: Google indexes individual web pages, so every page of your website is a potential landing page for customers following a link form a Google search.
5. Less clicks is more
Keep the number of mouse clicks to important information as minimal as possible. Users should be able to find information or purchase your products and services without getting lost amongst your webpages – aim for a maximum of three clicks. Providing a site search function and a sitemap is also recommended.
6. Always let users know where they are in the site
Give each page a clear heading and make the hierarchy of headings clear. Show users the path they took to get where they are and allow them to retrace their steps. Provide a Home button and a link to the sitemap on every page.
7. Don’t hide your message
If the purpose of your website is to sell a product, or to have consumers book a service or make an enquiry – don’t hide this request. Place a shopping-cart or telephone icon in an obvious place on the page and make sure it stands out.
8. Make social media and interactive features easy to use
If providing links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. make sure they are easy to use. Avoid making users download programs to make them work. Also, any forms, PDFs, hyperlinks, shopping-carts and subscription features should be easy for your target audience to use/access.
9. It’s a work in progress – so keep updating
Once your website is published continually look over it to ensure that it is up-to-date. Refresh images, text and links so that repeat visitors get something new every time they visit.
Steven Smith & Aaron Street
KPMG Automotive Service Team