Any business which has an online presence will almost certainly do so using a website. With so many templates now available you could literally have one up and running in a day. However, contrary to the mantra, ‘build it and they will come’, without an effective design, proper website development, and conversion factors addressed, you will struggle for traffic. More importantly, any traffic you do get, will not take the desired actions you hope for.
Website design and development consist of a multitude of principles and best practices, which sadly all too many businesses are unaware of, or simply do not know how to implement. This is why using a website development company to build or redesign your website is almost always the best route to take.
One of the most important reasons is that they will up to date and fully aware of the current best practice and guidelines, especially as it applies to SEO and ranking on Google. These guidelines could literally take up an entire book, however, there are some which take precedence.
Keep It Simple
One of the most common mistakes made by a business is that the more so-called bells and whistles that their website has the better. Sadly, there are many website designers who think likewise. Google knows that its visitors do not like complex and complicated websites, so the simpler you can make it, the better Google and your visitors will like it.
The other aspect to consider in keeping your website simple is to limit the number of choices your visitors have. The more decisions an individual must make, the less they will like it, and the longer it will take for them to make any decisions, both of which will negatively impact conversions.
Site Speed Is Critical
Following on from keeping your website simple, this means it should load quicker too. Your website loading speed impacts SEO factors such as bounce rate, so if you make your website faster not only will you be helping your ranking on Google, visitors to your site are more likely to stay, and have a positive experience. Several elements can impact site speed, including your hosting company, so ensure the one you use has a proven track record.
Scrolling Is Better Than Clicking
While you want to keep your website as simple as possible, that does not mean you can’t include lots of informative and relevant content for your visitors. The way in which this content can be navigated is key to how long your visitors stay on your site. Research shows that if you allow them to scroll down a long page in order to read and access content, rather than making them click through to multiple pages, they are more likely to remain.
Use Visual Pointers to Direct Attention
There are going to be locations on a webpage that you wish to draw your visitor’s eyes towards. This could be an email opt-in form, or a special offer, for example. You can use website conversion techniques that will act as subtle visual cues to a website visitor, and which will divert their eyes towards where you wish them to look. A simple one is an image of a human who is looking towards a piece of text you want them to read, or using arrows pointing towards the target area of the page.
Use Social Proof
Research into human behaviour shows that we like to do as others do. In other words, we tend to follow the crowd, rather than strike out on our own. Therefore, the use of social proof on a website can play a huge role in improving conversions. Testimonials, success stories, certifications, awards, and association membership seals are just a few of the many social proof items you could use to help any visitor feel that they are not treading into unchartered territory when they arrive at your website.