Your brand’s website is the most vital tool to converting passive observers into loyal consumers. But because it’s such a massive undertaking and likely the most expensive investment your marketing department will have to make, most websites are the single most neglected asset of your brand.
We know not every website needs the bells and whistles of a Fortune 500 ecommerce site. But there are basic components every website must have so it’s always working for your brand—instead of against it.
Here are seven basic vital signs and tips to get your website where you need it to be:
- CLEAN DESIGN ALWAYS WINS
From the very first time someone lands on your homepage, you have just seconds to convince them that you could be the answer they’re looking for. If they’re met with a vibrating color palette from another decade, clashing design and typography that is nearly impossible to read on screen, you can bet you won’t be high on their list. What you may not also know, is that studies have proven that bad website design triggers immediate distrust. That number is also especially high for health-related websites.
Stick to clean design that matches your brand and always use a typography, and font size, that give your users the best possible experience.
- USEFUL AND COMPELLING CONTENT
If the content on your website is too technical or in a neutral voice—it’s time for a rewrite. Your website’s content is being read by a captive audience. Each word should build a deeper bond between you and your audience and lead them to other areas of your site.
Another tip is to make sure each page on your website give your audience the answers they’re looking for—and something they might have not expected. A good way to test this is to stay on the pulse of what people are searching for and how they found you. From there, you can start to map out what answers they’re looking to find.
- EASY SEARCH AND NAVIGATION
Take a strategic and user-focused approach to your website’s navigation. Does the hierarchy of your site make sense for what users are searching for? Is the most useful information on your site accessible first or is it buried deep on various subpages?
Messy, or poorly established navigation won’t just leave people visiting your site frustrated—it will also affect your SEO rankings, costing you valuable site traffic and presence in the marketplace.
- IS YOUR BRAND PERSONALITY SHINING THROUGH?
If you read our sister post on building your brand’s identity, we’ve already proven why brand personality is so important. And when you have a captive audience ready to immerse themselves in your site, that’s the best way to let your personality shine.
The content on your website and in your marketing campaigns should engage and connect with your audience in a meaningful way. People want a reason to choose you. Make sure the content you’re serving them reflects that in both the solutions you’re offering and way they’re delivered.
- FAST LOADING AND MOBILE-MINDED
It’s 2018. That means people have certain expectations when it comes to their digital experiences. As it turns out, site speeds and mobile experiences are ranked of highest importance. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:
47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load within two seconds or less
40 percent abandon a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load
30 percent of mobile shoppers abandon the transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile
Remember to keep your technology up-to-date and don’t risk not optimizing for mobile throughout your organization’s site.
- DIFFERENT BUYER CYCLES. DIFFERENT OPTIONS.
People land on your site for various reasons and fit into different persona categories. That’s why your website needs to have something for every phase of the buyer journey. For example, if someone is just in the ‘research phase’, is there a way they can easily sign-up for a newsletter or piece of content they can review and consider?
- CLEAR CALLS-TO-ACTION
From forms on your website offering additional content and newsletter opt-ins, to signing up for an event or requesting a consultation, make sure the calls-to-actions on your site are positioned to do one thing: convert leads.
Keep your copy short and compelling but action-oriented. For example, make it easy for users to download more information or opt-in to hearing from you on a consistent basis. If your organization has a series of events or seminars, place those calendars in registration forms front and center to make it easy for people to attend.
We know websites can be a massive undertaking for every organization—no matter their size. But hopefully by keeping these best practices in mind, you can start shifting your website into a user-first mindset and transform your homepage into an opportunity for growth.