They say you only get one chance at a first impression, well your website is it. Your website represents everything you stand for, and if potential customers can’t figure that out quickly and easily, the likelihood that they will convert from potential customer, to purchasing customer-is slim to none. As a consumer, and as a business professional it’s stressful when I visit websites and there’s no contact information, no product descriptions and pricing, and everything is simply all over the place. I’ll only spend maybe 30 seconds to a minute before I just say forget it and give up.
When you design your website you need to keep your customer in mind. For example, when we designed the Agency|163 website, some people felt like it was a lot of information on one page, but we decided to keep it as a simple one page website because we know our customer. Our customer is a busy entrepreneur, checking e-mails and links on their phone or tablet, and want to find information as simply as possible. So, instead of making things difficult, we chose a one page website that they can easily scroll through on their mobile devices to find all of our information quickly, and easily. While this format may only work for certain businesses, these are 5 key elements every website needs will work with any and every business. Earlier this week we stumbled upon a greatly designed website by a new company, Onyx, and we’re going to use their site as an example of what a great website should look like!
1. An Attention Grabbing Home Page
Your home page is the first thing that visitors see when they come to your website. Does it say “Welcome, we’ve been expecting you” or “Hold on, let us clean up a bit”. Depending on what type of business you run, your homepage could have anything from a slide show with 3-5 images from a recent campaign, photos or buttons showing your services offered, maybe even a transitioning feed of your latest news, but whatever it is make it the best you have to offer. Something that will make a customer say “I like that, and I want to know more about it.”, which will lead to a customer clicking a link, exploring your site, and spending more time on the site overall. Which in turn, increases the likelihood of a purchase being made.
2. Who We Are
Whether you call it About Us, History, or Who We Are, your website needs to give some type of backgrounder describing your business. This is another great area to grab the attention of those potential customers. There are thousands, if not millions, of fashion designers out there, but if I knew that you paid your way through college on your designs, and now you give 10% of your profits to a scholarship foundation for inner-city youth-I’d be more inclined to choose you over the competition. This is also your chance to tell me why I should trust you. So you say you’re a life coach. Well did you get that title from some 6-week online course, or have you been working years to master this craft and learned from over 10 different successful life coaches, as well as written 3 award-winning Self-Help books. There’s a big difference, and a customer deserves to know before they invest their hard-earned money into you and your business.
3. Product Descriptions
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m sure we’ve all visited a website that just didn’t tell us anything we wanted to know about a product. Can I order individual cupcakes or are they only sold by the dozen? Does this dress come in any other colors? Are your mugs dishwasher safe? These are some of the basic things that you need to list in your product descriptions among other important information like your return policy and shipping and handling costs.
4. Contact Info
Now let’s imagine for a second that you’re an up and coming designer, looking to gain some marketing and publicity. Then imagine, an A-List celebrity stylist comes across your website, and likes what they see. Now, they don’t need anything at the moment, but that want to add your contact information to their database, to reach out to when they need some eclectic jewelry for a photo shoot. They look at your website, and all they can find is a contact-form. No e-mail address. No first name. No last name. No phone number. Nothing. If you think they’re going to take the time to fill out that form, and complete your captcha, you’re out of your mind. Unless they’re absolutely in love with your work and convinced they will never see anything else like it again, they’re going to move on. Moral of the story, make yourself easily available to potential customers and opportunities. Whether it be through a catch-all e-mail or a business phone number, give them something.
5. Social Links
As important as being active and engaging on social media is, it’s equally, if not more, important for customers to be able to find you on social networks. Having links to all of your social networks easily accessible on your website will encourage users to interact with you one other platforms. Maybe they aren’t ready to make a purchase today, and maybe not even tomorrow, but being engaged on social media platforms will keep you in the forefront of their minds so when they do need a custom camera strap for their new SLR camera, you’ll be the first brand they think of.
If you haven’t implemented these 5 simple components into your website structure, then you’ve got some work to do. If you’re still in the design process remember to keep your customer in mind, while you design. Concentrate on ease of use, and information availability. What hurdles have you come across in making your website perfect? Let us know in the comments below!