At MIL, we get asked all the time, “What makes a website great?”, so we thought we’d spent some quality blog time going over a few ideas to not only improve the looks and functionality of a great site. This is from some of the best web designers in the world as well as from right here in Gwinnett.
First, when it comes to creating a great website, it’s important to think about three main things. Naturally, it has to look good. The more of a “WOW” factor the site has, the more time the browser is going to spend on it which improves your user metrics. Next, the site has to have a high user friendliness factor. If your users can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re just going to bounce. Lastly, but probably most importantly, the website has to have a high conversion rate. This means that once your target market finds your site, the site needs to do all it can to convert them into actual paying customers. Conversion can be defined by either the person goes through with your call to action (i.e. call, email, fill out a form, buys something, etc.) or the browser actually becomes a customer. It depends on how strict you want o be in your definitions. As always, it’s a numbers game. All of this can be defined as improving your user interface (UI).
Here’s a list of ideas to improve the UI of your site (in no particular order):
-On your homepage, try using one column versus two or three. This simply controls where your users eyes go more efficiently rather than giving them choices that could take them away from the call to action you want them to make
-All website design has at least one purpose in mind (i.e. get them to call, buy, etc.). Rather than trying to close the sale right away, consider giving the user something like a free (useful) report, a free month of service, etc. That establishes a relationship rather than jumps into a hard sell.
-Testimonials do help. People argue about whether people believe testimonials or not, but studies show that real people saying how great you are is more effective at converting browsers than you saying how great you are. The fancy term for this is social proof.
-Repeat your primary call to action, but don’t beat them over the head with it. Give the user the option above the fold and then again down at the bottom where they may get to the bottom of the page and stop to think about what to do next.
-Studies have shown that if you give people three choices, the often take the middle one because of perceived best value, but try recommending the best choice. This nudges the user into going down the path you’d most like them to take.
-Don’t bring a shotgun to sniper school. Some websites seem to be for everyone. Use your text to define exactly who your target market is to help you convert the customers you most want to work with.
-Beware of uncertainty in your text. Reread your website copy and consider whether or not you’re telling users that you are the best choice for them or are you being wishy washy at all.
-Use contrast to make your call to action stand out. If you use a button to get the user to buy, make sure the button stands out on the page rather than blends into the design.
-Make your forms simple. People are in a hurry, you can get their mother’s maiden name and their pet’s zip code later if you really need it.
We’ll add more to this list later, but this is a good start to help you improve your overall website design. Take this list and use it to measure what you have to better connect with your target audience.