|Web Design: How to make websites stick – 10 ways to engage visitors
(Mon Jun 15th, 2009, by Michael Jenkins)
With changing times come new rules, a fact many website designers are familiar with. Building a successful website is indeed not the same as putting a colorful flyer together to promote products and services. Both concepts are quite different, yet can both be equally effective.
Quite often, brochures will grab our attention instantly. They are colorful, detailed and we can take them with us wherever we want. An online site can have the same traits, except for the fact that they are less easy to take along – unless you always carry a computer – and the competition is only a click away. That raises the question: “how can you make visitors stay longer, thoroughly view all your pages and have them come back?”
Here are 10 basic steps to make your website stick:
- Keep navigating simple: The foundation of a successful website is an uncomplicated, intuitive lay-out. Like at a real store, customers like to know where they are going and where the merchandise is located. Compare your website outline to competitive sites, and don’t be shy to ask unbiased strangers for their opinion.
- Speed and accuracy count: Time is money and customers do not like to waste either one. Use the proper tools and monitor your site frequently so visitors don’t stumble upon slow loading pages, broken links, or unclear and unattractive pictures.
- Know your audience: profile your customers so you know exactly how they prefer to check out your merchandise. Some may like complicated stimuli, such as guided tours or video demos, while others may be more at easy simply reading text and viewing pictures.
- Introduce yourself: Creating an “About us” section will enable you to introduce yourself. Customers like to know the face behind the company and the team that will be handling their order. Telling your story will involve them and will make the entire transaction more personal. It is like shaking hands with the manager, the customer service clerk or cashier. Add a section for company news and merchandise related articles and your audience will be hooked.
- Fresh content rules: Keep your audience in suspense by constantly adding new content. This can be by adding graphics, video clips, links to new products, more informative articles and blogs, and if you have any, updating sales items regularly. As experts always say: variety makes us hungry for more! Further, freshly updated content helps with your SEO campaign.
- Archive old pages: Nobody is interested in outdated charts, sales presentations, press releases, company fact sheets, deadlines and statistics. The future is ours and people are eager for progress. They want to know what your expansion plans are, what new merchandise they can expect and if you will be around a year from now. For that reason, remove unnecessary clutter from your pages.
- Keep your labels and links in the pink: The quality of labels, buttons and links go a long way and before launching your new or revised site, put it through a usability test. Watch an actual client click through the pages to see if they are insightful. If your design elements and link texts are not straightforward, or are misspelled or broken, the customer will get frustrated and move on to a competitor’s site.
- The launch is not the end: Don’t think that because your website has passed the first test, you can recline on your couch. Far from! You will have to keep pushing the envelope, analyze Web traffic and improve visitor count. Find ways to optimize and market your site to the fullest. With a little effort and maybe some inexpensive, automated software, you can be the top honcho on the major search engines in no time.
- Establish credibility: Make your customers believe in you by providing legitimate contact information online. Build a clear ‘privacy statement’, which should be added to every page. Customers like to know how safe their personal information is, where they can go in case they need customer service, or if they have additional questions.
- Power to the people: A key part of making your website a smash hit is by giving your audience the illusion they are in charge. Add powerful search and catalog features, or an easy-to-use navigation system. These online applications not only look professional, but will also help customers reach their goals! As a result… they will come back!
About the Author:
Irida believes that Web design is about creating interactive user designs. Web design is changing rapidly with the introduction of new technology.
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