There are approximately 2.06 billion pages indexed on the internet. And I can guarantee you that 99.99%
of them do not sell.
It’s actually not that difficult to avoid a terrible website. Standing out from the pack is key, as well as having products or services that people want, but so many websites fail the basic fundamentals that lose visitors as quick as you can blink.
Here are some simple tips to help you reach online success.
Know your audience
There is no point getting a brilliantly designed website, with the latest technology only to discover your target audience is for a government agency that only has access to a 20 year old computer that can’t even view your brilliant website.
Knowing your audience is essential. All elements of your site should appeal to who you are selling to. Not your husband. Not your mum. Not your best friend’s daughter.
Things to consider when identifying your target audience include age, gender, computer literacy, technology requirements and socio-economic factors. This is just the very base level and I advise that every business creates their own customer avatars to get an understanding of their ideal client.
If you are selling anything online, whether it be yourself as a consultant or products within an online store, you really need to provide a level of confidence to your potential customer and prove that you’re the real deal. As cliche as it might sound, having a professionally designed website, that runs like a dream, with professional photography will make a huge difference to increasing user confidence and getting you those sales.
People are fickle, if your website looks bad or performs poorly or they just can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave and find the next best thing. I know, I do it all the time.
Technology and design trends move so quickly. So, what was innovative 2 years ago can often look dated. You may not need to overhaul your entire website but potentially some slight changes to your design can help bring it up with the times.
Another way to build confidence is to update the content on your website including updating a blog regularly. This not only shows users you are still around, but is also extremely important for search engine optimisation. If you don’t have time to blog, make it, or hire someone to do it for you.
Don’t over complicate
You’ve got two seconds to grab someone’s attention, and this means you’ve got two seconds for a user to realise they’ve landed on a page that is relevant to what they are looking for. It does not mean you should jam every single service offering into the top position with blinking graphics all vying for the attention of your user.
Some old school marketers will have you believe everything needs to be ‘above the fold’, which means everything needs to be in view before you start scrolling. Let’s be honest, who the hell doesn’t know how to scroll? It’s all we do now on our smartphones and tablets.
Compelling and relevant content is what is going to drive your users to the places they need to be. And yes this space should be used to lead your user to the content that they are looking for. Take the time to organise your content in a manner that is natural for users to discover the information they need. If you have too much, break it down and have it laid out (or designed) in a way that is easy to scan.
Clarity is key
It should be clear exactly what your business does or what you sell when the user lands on the page. Throw away those vague vision statements. If you can’t sum up what you do in a single sentence that would make sense to a 10 year old, then employ a business or branding strategist to help you.
If you have a varying array of products and services for different demographics, organise your content this way. If you’ve got ten thousand different service offerings, combine key services into top level categories. Examples of how this is done well are banking websites. Generally it will be pretty clear whether you’re a personal or business customer, and you can get to the information you need quickly.
The less decisions a user needs to make in the onset, the faster they will get to what they are looking for. The faster they get there, the less frustrated they will be and in turn will have a pleasant experience – which potentially could convert to sales.
Capture leads and build your list
Most of the time, a user will not make a decision about your services or products on their first visit. The best way to get a stronger hold on them, is to get them onto your email marketing list. If you don’t do email marketing then I strongly advise you to jump on that as soon as possible. It is a great way to capture those warm leads and turn them into paying customers.
Often you’ll need to entice users to sign up to your list, and the best way to do this is by offering freebies. I don’t mean give them the shirt off your back. I mean ebooks, worksheets or discounts.
Ask the source
If your website is getting lots of traffic but still no sales, ask your clients for their feedback. After all they are your target audience! Generally you’ll get a pretty honest appraisal. It may be something so minor that you may not have considered.
I highly recommend engaging a usability expert to do some ‘use case testing’. You will get access to the people within your target audience demographic and see how they attempt to achieve your website goals. It’s a great way to get instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t based on your website goals.
This article was originally posted in Issue #1 of ROOOAR Magazine – get your free copy now.