These Elements Are Crucial For A Good Website That Attracts and Retains Customers
Continuing our theme of creating positive web experiences for potential and existing customers, this month, we’re talking about what makes a user-friendly website. Last month we reviewed the reasons your site should combine SEO and good design, and how they’re both equally important. This month, we’ll get into some of the most important details about user-facing web design, and why having an easy-to-navigate, intuitive website with convenient information is so important for attracting and retaining customers.
1) Homepage Design
The homepage is the first thing customers see. Having a professional, visually appealing space is the best way to make a good first impression. This doesn’t just mean having obvious information and navigation (though that’s important too). This means an up-to-date design, professional look, and clean landing page. Choose professional fonts, avoid a busy screen, and keep minimal information on the homepage that gets users to the next stage of what they need.
2) Main Navigation Menu
One element your website needs is a homepage navigation bar. Often seen as a horizontal menu across the top of the page (or denoted by dots or lines on a mobile site), the main navigation should be easy to find with visitor’s eyes naturally traveling to the top right side, and can be located near the header. Many service or product-oriented website have the following navigation from the homepage:
-Products / services
Each of these pages is the basis that allows consumers to understand who you are as a company, what you offer, what they can expect to spend on services or products, and how to get in touch. From there, they can get more in depth.
3) Quality Web Copy
There’s a reason people hire copywriters for their web copy: clean, quality writing on your website doesn’t just make it easier for customers to understand who you are and what you offer, it keeps people on your site for longer, which aids in SEO. This cycle—the higher your site ranks for searches, the more consumers will find you and increase traffic—creates a positive feedback loop that increases site visitation and helps your page rank higher, thus driving more customers. Quality web copy also helps potential clients trust you. If your writing is professional, chances are your service and products are quality as well.
4) Simple Navigation and Searching
No matter how attractive your site is or how good the writing is, if the site is hard to navigate you’ll lose people really quickly. Always have a search bar option on each page, and make sure it takes people to the right place. On the “about” page, a FAQ section might be helpful. Your users should always know where they are on the site, and navigating to more details and then back to the broad overviews should be intuitive. If a customer wants to find out something specific, the main navigation bar and subsequent pages should feel natural as a way to get there. It’s also important to remember that good UX won’t necessarily be noted by most customers, but bad UX certainly will be. The good user experience keeps people on the site without them realizing it.
We come back to this one a lot. What is your call to action? Do you want visitors to subscribe to your video channel? Newsletter? Are you hoping they reach out for more information? Making your contact form easy to locate is a good start for interested clients, as is the option for purchasing online. Offering an incentive like a certain percentage discount for first-time buyers or for people who sign up for a newsletter is also a good way to have people take the next step.
6) Make Purchasing Simple
If one of the goals of your website past the initial introduction is to get people to buy items or services, this should be as appealing and easy to use as the rest of your site. We’ll go into this more in-depth in a future article, but know that the main elements to a good online shopping experience looks similar to the rest of the online experience: visually appealing, easy to navigate, fast speed. Always have high-quality images of your products, and good descriptions that tell users what they need to know without bogging them down with too much info. It should be easy to search for products or services, and the checkout process should be smooth. Always have an option for users to create a new account, log in as themselves, or check out as a guest.
We know the internet is a crowded space these days, and people lose patience quickly with unappealing websites, slow loading, or sites that are challenging to navigate. Eliminate these initial roadblocks and you’ll be well on your way to ranking higher with SEO and attracting (then retaining!) new customers.