This week we'll be looking at how to create an engaging website so your visitors stay longer, visit more pages and take some form of action whilst they are there.
Before we do all that we need to look at why someone will be visiting your site. People browse the web for many different reasons, from a social perspective people generally search for:
A product or service to buy
Price comparisons - are they getting the best deal?
Searching for reviews - if they buy the product, will it be money well spent?
Discount codes - looking to get something cheaper
Answering a question - how deep is the pacific ocean, who starred in Mr Deeds?
Window shopping - they like a pair of shoes then try them on at the shop before buying online
Boredom - they have time to spare and are just browsing
From a business perspective we can pretty much just consider the top 4 from the list above, however we can add:
So if you want to create an engaging website, you need to consider why someone might visit your site and importantly what action you want them to take during their stay. Think about:
Branding - how will your brand translate to your website. Keep it bold and simple.
Design - The design needs to be accessible, a quick check of the W3C standards can help but basically it is about making sure that everyone can use your site for example a partially sighted person might use a 'Reader' that reads out all the text on the page, if your page has images it can't read that content so we use Alt text to help. This is much the same as how all public and commercial buildings have to have access ramps for wheelchair use.
Images - use striking images that reflect your company's ethos, products and personality.
Content - make sure the content you most want your customers to see is featured prominently on the homepage, for example products or services should always feature highly. Once a visitor has landed on your site the first thing you want them to do is view what you are selling. Feature lots of rich content such as videos, soundbytes, downloads, interactive elements - engage with your visitor.
Audience - remember who might be visiting your site and why. If you are selling a product you manufacture for a highly specialised marketplace, you'll need to include lots of technical information as your audience will be very specific about what they are searching for. If you are selling a holiday then it needs to be less technical, more informal but no less informative and definitely with a bias towards practical and necessary information to help waivering decision makers.
Tone of voice - talk to your customer using friendly and informative language. Here's where you can really convey your brand personality.
Call to action - what do you want your visitors to do? If you want them to order online, then make sure you include clear signposts that help them navigate to do just that. If you want them to visit you in store, then make sure you are clear about how they can find you.
Update it regularly - no business is static and your website should tell your visitor just that. Blog posts, news items, forums, training courses, webinars, events, people are all great ways to do it - you may be surprised by just how many updates a small business can make.
The most important thing to remember is that visitors are interested in your content and it needs to be more than just an online brochure - your visitors want to engage with you. The more engaged with you online they are the more likely they will buy from you.
If you'd like help with your website; it may be that you know something needs to be done but aren't sure what, or you might have a site which you feel is doing everything it should but your visitor numbers are low why not get in touch - we'd be happy to help!