27 Jun Is your website getting it right?
We can all agree, websites need to be user-friendly.
Unfortunately, the internet comprises sites that could comfortably be described as user-abrasive at best.
When it comes to a site being user friendly, Founder of Huxxer Corporation, Antony Harrowell, makes the case for simpler being better.
In speaking with me, he advocates less text, simpler navigation, design optimised for mobile across all platforms, and forget the jargon. “Put yourself in the end users seat” he says, “and not your own.”
Or perhaps the American writer H.W. Longfellow summed it up best: “in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
The 7 mandatory elements for your small business website:
1. Simple navigation
This is easily the most important, so make it priority number one when designing or editing your site. If your site is hard to navigate, it doesn’t matter what else it has going for it, it won’t deliver results. If the structure is not completely intuitive and logical to you, it won’t be to anyone else.
The most important factor is, if you are not tech savvy or do not know much about building websites or communicating them, then get help. No use you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. You will waste both time and money doing that.
2. Smooth functionality
People use your site for a reason. The site must do what it promises it will do, and quickly. Part of the solution is short load times.
Again, Huxxer’s Antony Harrowell says, “If a site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40 per cent of users will abandon ship and visit a faster-loading site – probably owned by a competitor.
Test your website speeds with online tools such as Pingdom.
In reading an article by HubSpot’s product marketing director, Meghan Keaney Anderson, she says functionality has more impact than “…a good-looking website.” “Make your site easier for visitors to move around throughout the sales cycle, instead of making them jump through hoops to become a customer,”
To do that, make sure your website gives customers a clear path from research to purchase.
3. Minimal text
Take it easy, J.K. Rowling: blocks of text on your site will be skim-read at most.
White space is your friend.
If the text is part of your site and not an article people want to read, then a simple rule applies the less text you have, the better and more beautiful it will be.
4. Content – fresh content
Content means video, infographics and articles people want to read.
And like bread, content can only last a little while before going stale.
Keep it fresh, keep it relevant, but even still, don’t go overboard and publish too much; leave the user wanting more.
5. Clear contact information
A no-brainer – remember the last time you couldn’t easily find contact details on a site?
Chances are, you didn’t contact them.
You want your clients to get in touch. Make the details easy to find on every page in a top corner or in the footer.
6. Engaging visuals: video, photography and graphics
This is more than just aesthetics: research indicates when users don’t trust a site,94 per cent attribute their mistrust to the design.
If your website isn’t pretty, it’s costing you business.
7. Obvious action steps
Again, in speaking with Huxxer’s, Antony Harrowell, he argues a site should be clear about the steps it wants users to take.
The next step might be for a customer to add a product to the shopping cart, or to call you for a free quote, Harrowell says. He also suggests enticing potential customers with offers where they have to provide their contact details – a great way to gain new leads for sales. “You could offer a complimentary consultation to a downloadable guide or whitepaper to gain those leads.” He says.
Don’t be shy – customers are visiting your site, which means they’re curious.
Make your call to action obvious so customers will find it easy to buy from you.