(This is a contributed post)
Every business has a website these days. Hopefully, you do too. But not every business makes the most of their small corner of the internet. Too many companies put up a basic website, add their logo and a few service details and then forget it even exists.
There is nothing more damaging to a business than a poor website. If you can’t make the effort to create an informative and user-friendly website, what hope does your customer have in your services or products? Not much.
So, open up your website in a new tab and give it a proper look. Do the following statements ring true? If so, it’s a very good idea to get in touch with a website design company like Digital Hitmen as soon as possible and get back in the game.
Your branding is what makes your business recognisable. But if you can’t decide on your branding or you don’t stick to it on absolutely everything you do, your customers are going to get confused. Move away from your branding at your peril.
Where your website is concerned, your branding guidelines should give you a set of rules to follow on every page. From the most basic things like font sizes and colours to the finer details like framing images, each page should feel similar to the last. Whatever you do, don’t suddenly choose a different colour for your call to action buttons or decide that a different font would be better. This will only confuse your customers and make them distrust that particular page.
Website design is a subtle balance between making the most of the space while giving the impression that you have plenty of room. A cluttered layout is a disaster on a website. When people are faced with a lot of information that’s all jumbled together and packed in as tightly as possible, it makes it difficult to decide what to concentrate on. Indeed, cluttered websites are so off-putting that many people simply exit the site and try somewhere else. Luckily, there’s a very easy fix.
Whitespace is often underrated but it can help to make your content easier to read, to draw people’s attention in a particular direction and create a more calming layout. By giving people more space, you are also subtly inviting them to spend more time taking it all in. Though whitespace doesn’t give people any more information about your business, it does show that you understand how important the user experience is.
Spelling mistakes are raelly easy to spot. See? And now that you’ve spotted that mistake, you’re probably thinking about how easy it is to see and wondering how the writer missed it. And you’d be right to wonder.
Poor spelling, punctuation and grammar are so easy to spot and correct – especially if you use a site like Grammarly to check your work. This is why people tend not to trust sites with spelling mistakes. If a business can’t even spot an obvious mistake like the one above, how can you possibly trust them with more serious work? It might seem like a small thing but trust is quickly diminished.
When people see spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, they are also more likely to assume that your site is a scam. This is because scammers often use spelling mistakes to ‘weed out’ the people less likely to fall for their scam. Indeed, people are significantly less likely to buy a product or service if they spot a spelling error.
It takes no time at all proof a page so if you are writing your own content, get a friend or colleague to check your work!
There is nothing more frustrating than a website that offers absolutely no intuition. When you know that something exciting could be on the next page but can’t find the button that takes you there, you aren’t likely to waste much time searching. And, given the bad experience, you’re not likely to return any time soon either.
Intuitive design is all about taking the customer on the journey they expect and the journey you want them to take. This means making links obvious, putting the information they are looking for front and centre and understanding how to present what they are looking for a page at the time.
However, do be wary. Some “intuitive design” is actually far from what you would expect. Remember who your target audience is and how they think. If in doubt, test, test and test again.
Now you’ve gone through and sorted all those things out, your website will finally be telling your customers who you are, encouraging them to trust your business and hopefully guiding them towards a purchase. But something is still missing, the most basic thing in fact.
Your contact details should be obvious and simple to use. Many businesses now use chatbots to encourage customers to talk to them while they are on their site, but you as a minimum, you should have a phone number and email address that’s easy to find. If the basics are missing, not only will your customers be unable to get in touch but their trust is likely to be eroded once again. A ghost business is not a reliable business, even if you have perfect spelling.
Improving your online presence should always start with your website. What you say only ever half of what your customers see. In other words, they don’t just believe what you say, they also look for other ways to judge your integrity and capability as a business. If your business doesn’t make a good first impression, it’s likely to be the last impression it ever makes.
That said, there are lots of ways to influence how your customers perceive your website. Pay attention to even the smallest details and ask for outside opinions. This isn’t a one-off job, either. Check your website at least once a month and look at your stats to see where people fall off. Everything is fixable, you just need to take care to spot the mistakes.