In our fast-paced, information-driven world that we live in, individuals are spending significantly more time online. According to The Next Web, in 2019 there were 4.39 billion internet users worldwide, a stat that has grown by nearly 10% each year. We’re programmed to jump online and seek out answers to our questions and solutions to our problems. Your customers are no different than you in that sense.
In business and life, we have been told for years we only get one chance to make a first impression — so why is your website any different? It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of five seconds for someone to form an opinion about you or your brand, especially online.
Give the people what they want
The concept follows a simple logic that was developed by author Steve Krug back in 2000 in his book, “Don’t Make Me Think.” The idea is that an individual coming to your website not only should be able to grasp, upfront, what it is that you do but quickly be able to navigate to what it is they’re seeking in the first place.
Move away from the stale “products” and “services” mantra that plagues most business-to-business websites and work toward calling attention to the primary elements or categories you know are beneficial to your customers.
Simplify site navigation
Breaking away from the products/services arrangement now gets you thinking differently about how you talk about your business, or better yet, how others talk about your business and what it is that you do. Your navigation should follow a similar path.
Take for instance a home improvement company that focuses on the exterior of your home. Instead of “services,” why not call it right out in your main navigation: roofing, siding, doors and windows. This reduces the number of clicks it takes to get the user and search engine to the area on your site that is the most helpful.
Content is still king
We’re told content is king. So, we produce blog posts, resources and content until we have exhausted all efforts. Some of this content might even rank well in search, but what good is it if your user gets lost or it doesn’t add any value to the reason they might be there in the first place?
Instead, get back to basics and consider your audience. If I am a home services company, do I sell mainly to homeowners, other contractors, builders, landlords and/or property managers? Understand that each of those individuals will be seeking out something different.
Showing a before-and-after photo might seal the deal for some, but not for all. A contractor might be seeking out a particular specialty, certification or requirement, whereas a homeowner is more concerned by your timeliness and quality of the job completed compared to the next contractor.
Yes, this model for content development can seem long, but it’s what’s best for the user and search engines. Consider breaking your content up into different blocks, highlighting those key points within each section that talks to each of your audience members. The key here is talking to them and not at them. Using natural language and write for the way we all talk will help you in the long run.
Tune for speed and performance
With over half of all website traffic coming in from a mobile device, spending a bit of time tuning your site for speed and performance is not going to be wasted. The efforts spent here help create a much more frictionless experience for your customers.
Most sites fall short on the performance due to the lack of optimization at the technical level or back-end elements that have been used to build a site. That does not mean your site is horrible or it cannot be fixed; it just requires some work.
Key areas to address are image file sizes and any third-party scripts or render-blocking code in the background. When we’re talking about image sizes, it’s the file size that matters and not the physical size of that photo. Remember, over half of your website visitors are on a mobile device. Meaning even the most beautiful lifestyle shot when compressed will look excellent on that iPhone.
At the technical code level, items such as plugins and add-ons for those running robust enough content management systems (CMS) can often lead to lag times in page load speeds. In addition, many of those might be outdated or unused, leaving your site susceptible to a backdoor hacking situation.
Running your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool will allow you to run a diagnostic on the pages on your site to see the weaknesses. Not only will you receive a score, you’ll receive a report that acts as a guide letting you know what the issues are. Work with your developer to get things straightened out.
These are not only good elements to consider when rebuilding your website but, in many cases, can be used as a resource guide when you’re looking to simply make updates. Over time, your site will become more user-friendly and easier for your customers to get what they need, thus making not only your customers happier but Google, as well.
Drive up your positive user experience, tune for performance and improve your bottom line online.