The typical range of time that a website remains viable is about three years. That’s because evolving wants and needs of consumers creates new strategies and possibilities, while raising visitor expectations.
That puts pressure on businesses to meet those expectations or risk having website visitors leave. So what are some of the current website must haves to generate more leads or turn visitors into customers? In this post, we'll focus on the user experience and content marketing. You’ll want to make sure you have these areas optimized within your site in 2018 and beyond.
Everything about a website should be designed with the customer in mind. That makes the focus on user experience a must have for any website that wants to generate leads or customers.
One way to assess the current state of your user experience is to simply go through the entire site yourself. Are you finding the answers to your questions quickly, such as the who/what/why of your company or product? Can you easily navigate the site to find the information you need or, more importantly, get in contact with someone? Everything should work quickly and with zero friction for site visitors.
If you find even the smallest roadblock, so will consumers. And chances are that potential lead or customer will get away from you since there’s always another site that's just a click away.
Here are some issues that impact user experience, along with helpful hints:
Site speed. An estimated 40% of users will abandon your site if it doesn’t load in two to three seconds. That’s just a fact of how consumers surf the web.
- Tip: Conduct a site speed check to see where you lie. This tool can help. If loading times are over 3 seconds, consult with your IT department to help optimize page load speeds.
Navigation. Sites plagued by broken links, page flows that are not intuitive and/or lack of a clear path to a conversion page are sites that will lose visitors quickly.
- Tip: Map out the navigation of your site, starting with your top navigation links, and fix any dead-ends or roadblocks.
Site search. This is a big advantage for customers who want to find something quickly
- Tip: Include a search functionality to your site. If you already have one, test it to make sure it’s pulling relevant data when queried.
Contact information. This gives customers a sense of security, knowing who you are and where you are.
- Tip: Post contact information on any global elements of your site so consumers can always have a means to contact you, regardless of the page they're viewing.
Calls to Action. There’s no use having great navigation if it takes customers to a conversion page that does not have a clear call to action (CTA).
- Tip: Conduct a CTA audit in conjunction with your site navigation mapping (mentioned above). You can turn any dead-end into a CTA.
Pop Ups. Try to avoid pop-ups if possible
- Tip: Use sparingly and with intent i.e. a discount pop-up during checkout.
Consistent design. Nothing drives customers away faster than sites with disjointed designs within its pages.
- Tip: You must understand the psychology of web design to resonate with consumers. This is where partnering with a professional comes in handy.
Engaging and Value-driven Content
Content is what drives value, customer engagement and enables sales. It’s another website must have, and it’s one that is a challenge to execute given the resources it takes. This post contains quick tips on how to best go about website content creation.
The potential pitfalls for content are many. Poorly written content that is not clear and concise is an issue. Having “thin content’ - the absolute minimum to describe a product or service - will turn off many consumers. On the other hand, too much content also will drive people away. There has to be a balance and the purpose should always be on helping the consumer.
This is where a full-service online marketing agency can also provide a great deal of help. Research is done around the product or service, finding out who your target consumer is and what questions they need answered.
Content then can be produced over time that answers their questions. This makes content relevant to them and evokes further engagement with more of your content, strengthening the bond between that consumer and your brand. The other key to content is to publish regularly to stay top of mind. And always remember, write for the customer, not the search engine.
These are some of the website must haves moving forward into 2019. They will provide a solid foundation on the front end of your site to generate more leads and customers.
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