With all the talk these days about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the effect that Google’s algorithm has had on the industry it is easy to forget that SEO is only part of turning potential customers into a steady revenue stream. SEO gets people to your website but if you don’t have an attractive, well-designed and user-friendly website those potential customers are going to go to your competitors.
Although the issue is relatively easy to identify, turning your website into a model of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is a little more difficult. What you need is a way of keeping potential customers once they have landed on your website and the first eight seconds are the most critical. If you have not captured the attention of your visitor within just eight seconds, you probably won’t.
Responsive Design is no longer optional
It isn’t surprising that the number of mobile users has increased by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, but it might surprise you to know that almost a third of all users (31 percent according to ComScore) are on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for these users, you won’t retain them.
RWD (Responsive Website Design) adapts your website to fit any accessing device. From laptops to smartphones, RWD optimizes pages and features to fit them all making navigation of your website simpler and more convenient for your customers and easier to maintain for your technicians.
Keep it Simple, Seriously
The best way to avoid insulting your intelligence is the same way you keep potential customers on your website. Keep it simple. Avoid heavy animation and flash features that slow downloading speeds and don’t try to cram too much information on a single page. Since more people are using devices with smaller screens (like smartphones) a simple, clean layout can be attractive across several different devices.
One of the most effective design concepts comes from photography but can make your website devastatingly effective. The rule of thirds divides photographs into thirds both horizontally and vertically. By putting essential elements of your website at the juncture of these lines, it focuses the attention of visitors on them. Combining the rule of thirds with effective use of white space can create focal points that customers cannot ignore.
The Importance of Navigation
Keeping in mind that you want your customers to find what they want within eight seconds, you need to make navigating your website easy and intuitive. Minimalized designs great for loading speeds, but without a clear and easily found navigation bar or buttons, they can quickly get frustrating.
Keep paths to destinations clean and easy to follow. Pare away superfluous distractions to ensure that your customers are interacting with your site not searching for what they need. Don’t forget to make it simple for potential customers to contact you, specifically by email or a chat function. Having phone access is great unless the customer is using his smartphone to access your website. Having to leave your site to call you for information is a quick way to lose that customer. They will go to a different site where they can stay online and focused while getting answers they need.
Don’t Forget the SEO
Website design is just one tool in your toolbox. SEO is another Attracting potential customers to your website is a fine goal, but not the end one. Just like making it easier to use your website and keep potential customers engaged is not the end of the process. Merging those two major processes is one more step toward having an effective and engaging website. Again, this is not the end goal of your website.
Successful websites manage to find a way to balance effective SEO with strong conversion rates. Having engaging content with effective links will keep customers focused on your business. The more focused they are on your website, the more likely it is to convert them into paying customers. Which is, of course, the entire purpose of SEO, CRO, your Website and, ultimately, your business.