If anyone tells you that building and maintaining a website for your business will be easy, they’re either crazy or lying. Websites are a lot of work, and the work is never done.
Think of it like running your own physical store: You can’t just hang up a sign and walk away. You still have to serve your customers, update products, and streamline processes. As your digital store, websites should be continuously updated and optimized to allow for the best possible customer experience.
So what makes a website good? (And, perhaps more importantly, what makes it bad?) Each of us has our own idea of what the perfect website looks like. But the only thing that really matters is this: Does your website drive customers to convert (purchase a product, book an appointment, contact your sales team, etc.)?
Here’s a quick overview of what all great, modern websites have in common:
1. They have excellent UX (user experience). From the home page to checkout, all the content is engaging, informative, easy to use, and relevant to the customer.
2. The conversion pathway is clear and simple. People don’t want to click through a bunch of pages just to make a purchase. A good website makes it clear what you want users to do and how you want them to do it.
3. The images and graphics are relevant and captivating. Choosing visuals that are creative and/or unique to your business will help keep customers clicking.
4. Pages load quickly. Nothing screams, “This website might steal your money” like long page delays. If this is a problem on your site, fix it right away. Even if you think your customers don’t notice, Google definitely will, and your page rank will suffer.
5. They’re mobile-friendly. The majority of retail site visits and online purchases are now completed from a smartphone. Make sure your website looks professional on mobile and is easy to navigate.
Customers are picky—and smart. As soon as they see broken links and funky fonts, they’ll click “x” and move on with their lives. Users are constantly on the lookout for scam sites. Make sure yours doesn’t scare them away.
What Not to Do
Here are some common reasons websites fail to convert (aka: scare consumers off before they get a chance to purchase).
1. Overly aggressive pop-ups. Pop-ups are great in moderation. But when they interrupt the purchase process, or ask for too much information, people will get annoyed and go elsewhere.
2. Long purchase forms. Customers don’t like to wait in checkout lines, and they don’t like to wade through a bunch of text to complete an online purchase. Many companies will break up the checkout process into separate windows so that users aren’t overwhelmed. Does your website block auto-fill on forms? Kiss your conversions goodbye.
3. Loading delays. As mentioned above, loading delays are the worst of the worst. It’s usually a technical problem on the back end, and someone with web experience should be able to fix the issue relatively quickly.
4. Broken links or images. Regularly check your links and images to ensure nothing’s broken. If it is, customers will see that you haven’t paid attention to your site, and they probably won’t feel comfortable giving you their payment information.
5. Inconsistent use of fonts or branding. Your website shouldn’t look like a ransom note made with magazine clippings. If it does, it’s time to streamline your use of fonts and branding. Keep fonts to three, max, and unless your branding is intentionally rainbow themed, limit your color pallet.
How We Build Websites
After building hundreds of websites, we’ve come up with some best practices to help companies find their footing. Although your site will certainly have its own exceptions and eccentricities, we’ve found that by applying these principles our customers have been able to drive more conversions and ultimately bring in more revenue.
Reach out today to learn more!