In today’s Internet-dependent world, creating a website is not just a ritual you go through when starting a business. It’s increasingly becoming the primary way customers contact and interacts with business. Even if you are running a brick-and-mortar enterprise, there’s a good chance that many or most of your customers will make their first contact with your business via the internet.
Your website can, therefore, become an indispensable asset in your marketing efforts. How successful of an asset it will come down to how much thought, time and effort you invest in it. Here are four tips on making sure your website delivers a great experience for its users.
1. Leverage White Space
The overwhelming majority of websites have a white background. While some end up this way simply because the web designer adopted the default settings of the design tool they used, there’s actually a legitimate reason for most websites having a white backdrop.
White backgrounds and white space makes content more readable and focuses users on both website text and website elements. White space can increase attention by as much as 20 percent. It creates an airy, fresh, open and modern feel that makes visitors want to hang around longer.
2. Optimize Speed
Page speed on its own is one of biggest threats to your website’s success. The average internet user (especially in the developed world) is incredibly impatient. Since telecommunication infrastructure is quite good, few expect slow-loading websites. In fact, if your website takes more than 4 seconds to open, about half of the visitors will abandon it and move elsewhere.
One of the first things you should do when your website goes live is to check the page speed using the free tool from Google. The tool includes suggestions on how to improve loading speed. For example, you can reduce the image resolution, compress image files, and adopt more optimized image formats (for example, converting PNG and BMP images to JPG).
Monitor the performance of your web applications too to make sure they aren’t an impediment to website speed (see monitoring java applications).
3. Intelligent Calls to Action (CTA)
Your website may have plenty of text content but it’s the visual cues that are likely to influence visitor behavior the most. The CTAs that are most successful are often those that are prominent, well-marked and in just the right position on the page.
As you create CTA buttons for your pages, choose colors carefully. Different colors create different moods and evoke certain emotions. Think about the message you want the color to relay. Red is a favorite for CTA buttons and for good reason; it carries a connotation of excitement, intensity and urgency.
The wording, font and size of the CTA text is just as important. Use words that create an emotional connection and compel the user to take action.
4. Differentiate Hyperlinks
When you place links on your website, it’s because you want users to click on them. Your efforts will be wasted if it’s difficult for visitors to see the links. Make sure hyperlinks are underlined and the link text is of a different color from the rest of the content.
Stick to the convention as much as possible. The average web user expects the text of a hyperlink to be blue in color. Using a non-conventional color such as yellow, orange and brown would create confusion and unnecessarily reduce the number of users who click on it.
The hyperlink text should be descriptive. So instead of “For more information on the Federal Reserve, click here”, you’ll get more clicks with “Check out the Federal Reserve website here”.
These tips are useful in making your website more appealing to users without breaking the bank. They aren’t exhaustive though so always keep an open mind. There’s no singular path to building a successful website. It all depends on numerous factors including who your target market is. Make changes as needed until you find what works for you.