Article contributed by Code23, Grazeley, Reading
Is your website fit for purpose?
How many websites do you think there are in the world (wide web)? Go on, have a guess. The answer, as of January 2021, is (drum roll please) a mind-boggling 1.83 billion.1
This equates to roughly one website for every seven people on earth. Yet just because everyone and her aunt seemingly have a site isn't reason alone to jump on the website bandwagon. As a business, you need a solid reason for giving your brand an online presence.
For some, it's to sell products or services. For others, it's to generate leads. Or, sometimes, it's simply to provide visitors with more information about what you do. Why is it vital to pinpoint the purpose of your site? Well, it's the only way you'll be able to check if it's fit for purpose. Now we've discussed why purpose is important, let's take a look at how you can ensure your website is primed for success.
- Optimise for search engines
- Focus on the user experience
- Keep mobile in mind
- Improve your site speed
- Provide relevant content
- Include social proof
- Clear calls-to-action
- Make it easy to get in touch
1. Optimise for search engines
To optimise your website is to make it more relevant to visitors by ensuring your content provides the answers to what they're searching for. The best way to achieve this is search engine optimisation (SEO), the process whereby you research the keywords your customers are searching for, then tailor your content to include those specific keywords.
Doing so will help your website appear higher in search engine rankings which will drive more traffic to your site. Another advantage of crafting your content to visitors' needs is that you're providing a positive user experience. This leads us on to...
2. Focus on the user experience
If your website provides visitors with a positive experience then they're more likely to stay longer, convert, and come back again. That's why it's important to think like a user and create an engaging customer journey with simple functionality. It takes visitors just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a site2 so time is of the essence. Here are a few user-friendly tips:
- Use white space: it can improve a website's readability by up to 20%.3
- Offer on-site help: 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site with live chat support.4
- Create an easy-to-use checkout: 65% of people abandon shopping baskets due to a complicated process.5
Your SEO optimisation will help bring visitors to your site. Crafting a positive user experience (UX) will persuade them to stay. For more in-depth information on User Experience (UX) design, check out our article, The Benefits of UX Design for Your Business.
3. Keep mobile in mind
If you thought 1.83 billion websites was impressive, you ain't seen nothing yet. It's estimated that we'll be downloading 258 billion apps by 20226. So it's no surprise that more than 60% of web traffic is from a mobile device7 and non-responsive websites rank lower on Google.8
That's why it's never been more important to ensure your site is mobile-friendly. A miniature version of your website won't cut the mustard, the design and interface should be intuitive, clean, and in portrait mode (which is how 94% of users use mobile apps).9
4. Improve your site speed
Websites that are slow to load aren't just frustrating for visitors, over time it can also lead to a lower search engine ranking. So, what is 'slow'? A study found that a one-second delay in a page loading can result in a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% reduction in conversions.10 A couple of quick fixes to improve site speed include:
- Compress images: which can take up 66% of a website's 'weight'11
- Minimise plug-ins: to remove any unnecessary functionality
- Compress content: to help free up bandwidth on your site
5. Provide relevant content
One of the benefits of SEO research is that it gives you an insight into the keywords and topics your visitors are interested in. You can use this data to create a content plan designed to provide visitors with the information they're looking for.
As well as articles, product descriptions, and FAQs, this can include educational downloadable content, which is interactive, a great source of data collection (by asking visitors to complete a form before they can download), and a further step towards converting a visitor.
6. Include social proof
Social proof is the phenomenon where people adapt their behaviour based on the actions of others. When making a decision, social proof such as reviews, client testimonials, and personal recommendations provide a 'safety in numbers' type reassurance - e.g. if they've all bought it, it must be good.
No less than 92% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase12 and 72% take action after reading a positive review.13 So if you don't already have reviews or testimonials on your site now's the time to start adding them.
7. Clear calls-to-action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a website's secret weapon. They're the breadcrumbs that lead a visitor along the customer journey from curious to converted.
That's why you should include them throughout your site where visitors visit most, such as at the end of blogs or in banners. They're more likely to stand out if you use contrasting colours from the rest of your site, and it's best to keep them short and sweet, e.g. 'Buy Now', 'Find Out More' 'Get in Touch'.
Oh, and if you've got the technical know-how, personalised calls-to-action, such as 'Buy Now, Joe', have been found to convert 42% more visitors.14
8. Make it easy to get in touch
If a visitor to your site likes what they see, they may want to contact you. So it's good practice to include a 'Get in Touch' style call-to-action on each page so your contact details are easy to find.
Beyond the traditional phone number, email, and address details, live chat (where a member of staff responds in real-time) and chat bots (which use a series of automated responses based on frequently asked questions) are an increasingly useful addition. Both of these messaging services let visitors receive instant help and advice, which strengthens their connection to your brand and boost conversions.