by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
Now that your business is up and running, it is time to go about designing your website so that it is both awesome and effective to help get the word out about your brand as well as attract prospective customers.
In fact, an effective website, which is one that puts you right in front of your target audience, helps you stand out among your competitors in online searches, thus also helping to increase the chance of conversions due to the number of quality visits.
However, as a new business or a business that is new to the online world, knowing the various elements that go into effective web design can be difficult without prior training and knowledge.
But the following information, also used by professional marketers themselves, will help provide you with the training tips and resources you need to help take the guesswork out of what makes a website effective and propel you towards success.
Begin With Your Target Audience in Mind
Contrary to popular belief, a business website is less about what the business wants the customer to know and more about what the target audience wants to accomplish, which helps decrease the bounce rate, or the rate of visitors who enter your site only to leave before viewing the site in its entirety or making a transaction.
In fact, research shows that more and more customers are turning to the world wide web as their source of information and even research a company’s website before making a purchase decision online or in person.
Therefore, to be without a website, let alone one that fails to cater to your customers, can cause you to miss out on valuable leads, which can be detrimental to your sales and cut into your bottom line.
Some ways to ensure your website is customer-focused include:
Make It Personal Yet Inclusive
For customers to appreciate and find worth in a product or service, they need to feel as if it was designed with them in mind.
Therefore, the general notion that your visitors are a part of your business should be built into every aspect of the user experience, so that they don’t feel alienated but instead like they belong, which helps build strong, long-lasting relationships that can ultimately lead to repeat business, as well as other potential customers in the future.
On the other hand, it is also impossible for your business to cater to every customer and every need, so before you begin, identify your target audience, as well as what your product or service will do for them to help make your marketing efforts and web design even easier.
You should begin by learning the main customer groups that engage with your site, and why, which user research and testing can help you do. Using this customer insight will help you plan the most effective web design and features, thus easily safeguarding against any factors that may hinder the goal of your site.
Focus on the Content Before the Web Design
The content or message of your site helps set the stage for all else that follows; therefore, it is important to develop your content or message before the actual web design.
However, when it comes to content, quality is key because it plays a major role in the user experience. In other words, it adds value to the user. When done right, it can even capture the attention of future users, which in turn also helps increase your sales leads; therefore, it pays to carefully plan it out.
To help develop quality content, after you have conducted thorough research on your target audience, next consider the goal you hope to accomplish from conveying the content to your audience and then create a strategy to display it on the web site.
You can also hire a ghostwriter to do it for you.
Provide Factual Information
In the era of search engine rankings and social media popularity, unfortunately, many websites have turned away from being customer based to solely focusing on SEO
rankings, likes, shares, and Tweets, etc., which has caused them to resort to various questionable tactics, such as publishing misleading content, in hopes of going viral or to increase their ranking in major search engines.
However, this does not add value to visitors, which can not only cause you to lose credibility as well as sales in the long run but also land you in hot water with the powers that be.
In fact, as of recent, various social media entities, including Facebook and Twitter, have incorporated several measures to prevent the sharing of false or inflated information, including having content checked by independent fact-checkers and then boldly labeling the content as false if it is found to be untrue.
Meanwhile, Google also has various penalties for publishing false or misleading information, which can not only cost you search engine rankings but, in some cases, even cause your page to be blocked or removed altogether.
Therefore, rather than just focusing on short-lived fame, you should instead aim to provide information that is both useful and fact-based, which can actually help grow your business in the long run.
Some ways to help show your visitors that your site contains factual content include:
- Clearly state whether the content is sponsored – If your website contains sponsored content, don’t try to hide or disguise it. Instead, label it as such. It should also be displayed in your design work, such as using larger fonts for the title and making sure the author’s name is obvious, which provides visitors with someone to follow up with for greater assurance.
- Use reputable sources – Using or linking to reputable sources in your content encourages readers to consider the weight of your sources, which also helps boost your credibility. You might also consider linking to or listing author credentials to also help build trustworthiness.
- Incorporate related content – Linking related content using an encouraging heading, such as You Might also Like, provides users with additional information and contrast, which enables them to conduct their own research and reach their own conclusion. It also makes your content look unbiased, which helps build trust.
User-Friendly Digital Trends
Today’s consumers are consistently looking for ways to be awed by added convenience, sans the gimmicks; therefore, as part of your customer friendly web design, you might also consider incorporating, or at least checking out, some of the latest technological trends that promise to do just that.
Some digital customer experience trends for 2020 include:
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is and will continue to be a growing trend as customers are always looking to access the internet on the latest device.
This type of design, which a professional web designer can help you achieve, enables websites to look good across all devices, and it should also include fast page loading times to help enhance the user experience, which helps reinforce your professional image.
Voice assistant technology, think Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant, is another growing trend in 2020, as it enables customers to activate a device or make purchases hands free while they go about their daily routines.
In fact, research shows that voice shopping is expected to rise from the current $2 billion to $40 billion in 2022.
However, companies can also develop their own eCommerce experiences using their own platforms, which will enable their customers to also interact with their brand through voice.
Omnichannel delivery enables consumers to start their interaction with your brand from one touchpoint and then pick up where they left off another, which essentially turns more objects into connected devices.
To utilize this function in your own website, you will need to incorporate a headless content management system , which an experienced web designer can also help you do.
Web Design That Works
Gone are the days of slapping up a website that just looks nice, in today’s world, it must also actually function as an effective marketing tool to increase the chance of conversions, which means you must put in some work.
Simply begin with customer research, which can be easily done using customer surveys and more, to gain valuable insight about key customers that can then be used to help make designing your website much simpler and your campaigns more effective.
Meanwhile, web analytic tools, such as Google Analytics, can help track customer behavior, such as page views and bounce rate, etc., once your site is launched, which can also be used to help improve your focus.
Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.