They say that it only takes visitors 50 milliseconds to form a first impression of your website. If you’ve ever clicked on a website only to immediately hit the back button, you know that this is true. The first impression you give online is either going to make visitors want to stick around on your website and perhaps become a customer, or it will make them want to leave. Ultimately, your website is the face of your business. It is your “front door”, if you will. Es muy importante.
There are thousands of pre-made templates and themes that can make creating a website “easy.” However, a simple off-the-shelf website is not going to differentiate you in today’s competitive landscape. The fact of the matter is that almost every business has an online presence – especially now, since the COVID-19 pandemic. Your website needs to uniquely stand out, and clearly and convey your message and your brand in a
short amount of time. Oh, and it has to be fully functional – on multiple platforms. Whew.
All of this to say, let’s take a look at a few of the key elements of what goes into a great website, and how to impress your visitors with a stellar first impression. So let’s look at How to make a great first impression with your website!
An Easy and Fast User Experience (UX):
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. When you visit a website, you want your
user experience to be an easy and quick one, right? Well, the foundation of a painless
user experience is a website with good framework. The framework is the bones. It’s
what holds the house up. There are a few things that factor into a solid framework.
Easy navigation – Your website should have an obvious, logical navigation with clear
hierarchy. You’ll want your site to satisfy both the searchers who are coming for a
specific purpose, as well as those who are just visiting.
Ultimately, you’ll want to make it not overly complicated. Be sure to keep your navigation titles clear, accurate, and also easy to recognize. Stay away from overly complicated titles. Don’t compromise a good user experience in the name of trying to “wow” your visitors with innovative navigation. Just keep it simple.
Mobile-friendly navigation – There are several different navigation menu options available, and we won’t bore you by going into the details (though it’s worth looking into.) One very important thing to remember, however, is that your navigation is mobile-friendly/responsive: Oftentimes the navigation may look great on a desktop, but it doesn’t translate well to mobile. Be sure to do a test on mobile.
Some of the things to look out for include:
– Tightening the menu so that it fits smaller screens.
– Making the links large enough for phone users to tap on it without much effort.
– Using a “hamburger” menu on mobile devices.
By the way, use a footer – The footer is oftentimes overlooked. However, this navigation can have a big impact on the user experience. Again, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You’ve scrolled all the way down to the bottom of a home page, and now all you want to do is go to a specific service or product page without having to scroll back up to the header. A footer allows for simple and easy access.
If you’re wondering what you should put in your footer, consider mirroring the links you
placed in your header navigation menu. Alternatively, you can put links to other key
pages on your website.
Website load time – Waiting for a website to load will lose visitors. This is a fact. In today’s fast-paced society, nearly half of web visitors expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less! They will potentially leave a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds and cost you conversion.
It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint what’s slowing your website down, but you can use free tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to help. Google’s short audit of your website will find a number of factors that are affecting the speed of your site. It will then analyze these factors and serve you a list of opportunities and diagnostics to help you speed up your page load time.
There are a variety of factors that can slow down your website, ranging from your visuals being too large, to your network or hosting service slowing you down. Luckily,
whatever the cause is, it’s all fixable. The first step is diagnosing it, and then finding a solution.
Use the scroll – With today’s modern increase in mobile use and social media websites which use infinite scrolling, visitors are now used to the scroll. In fact, they expect it. Don’t just put everything in one place on your website. Keep your images, testimonials, special offers, etc flowing even below the fold so that people will want to go deeper into your website.
Use up that white space (don’t clutter) – One of the worst things you can do on your website is overload the visitor with too many graphics and too much content. This is where style and taste come into play. If you’re careful and tasteful with your design, you’ll have a better chance that the right information will jump off the page. The goal is to direct the visitor’s eyes to where you want them to go, and any designer will tell you that white space is crucial to making this happen.
Consider using video – Nowadays, video is king. Understandably so, as it’s one of the fastest ways to consume and understand information. Videos will likely keep people on your website for longer, and engage them with whatever content you’re putting out there. Some websites have an introductory video play as soon as someone visits the site. If you think this is appropriate for your business, consider having a professional introductory video done.
The importance of accessible customer support – It is imperative that your customers (and potential customers) know that they can easily reach you if and when the need arises. There are many issues that can take place when your customers are online- ranging from the website freezing, to the item they’re looking for is no longer in stock, to the promo code they’re using isn’t applying their discount, and beyond.
Regardless of whether your business has a brick and mortar location or is solely online, it’s crucial to have a top-notch customer service system in place. It can be in the form of a chatbot or a 1-800 help line. If you don’t want to handle the support yourself, consider hiring a VA (virtual assistant). You can easily find virtual assistants to hire through services like Fiverr, Upwork, Craigslist, and more. Alternatively, you can use a service like Zendesk to share Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
It’s also important for small businesses that operate online to clearly display their email address and phone number on their website to make it easily accessible for customers to reach out to a representative. Remember to make this contact information easily accessible via mobile as well! Which brings us our next major point…
Be sure to optimize for Mobile – You’ve probably heard this a few times before, but you need to make sure that your site is legible on all screens. Nowadays mobile viewing accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. If your website isn’t responsive, or mobile friendly, you’re missing out in a big way. Just as with the desktop version, if the website doesn’t properly function well on mobile, your visitor will also quickly close out. That said, here are some of the best practices to follow for legible navigation on your website.
– Avoid any narrow scripts and fonts.
– Use a font that’s no smaller than 12 pixels.
– If your website holds a lot of pages, consider hiding some, or use multiple-level dropdown menus to organize your navigation.
Use a heatmap – We know that this can all be a little intimidating, and you may feel like you have no idea if your website is functional or not. There is where a heatmap tool will help you research different designs to see where your visitors’ eyes are going. Using a tool like Hotjar will help you understand what content is working and whether or not the position it’s in is making a difference. Tools like this will give you results quickly, and they are constantly updated so you can keep tabs on your testing.
This may seem like a large and overwhelming checklist, but at the end of the day, it is completely worth it. Try to keep in mind what you appreciate the most about websites as a consumer, and be sure to execute those same ideas and elements on to your own site. Remember, a good first impression of your website can lead to conversion and new customers!
Do you need a website built, or does your current one need a facelift? We would love to work with you on any of your website needs. Click HERE to learn more.