It’s nearly impossible for any business to survive without an online presence. Whether it’s e-commerce or social media, customers expect to see your business online. It helps to have an arsenal of digital marketing strategies in your tool kit, but there’s one part of the digital presence that’s crucial, no matter what else you’re doing.
It’s your web design and it can single handedly shape the customer experience.
Web design should be the core of your digital marketing strategy. This is your home base, it’s where you want people to land, and you want them to enjoy every minute that they’re there. Unfortunately, the importance of web design sometimes goes undervalued, and it costs big time in terms of customer experience.
Here’s the great thing. Paying attention to just a few elements of web design will make a huge difference. Here are a few ways to optimize your web design to attract more visitors and improve their customer experience.
First Impressions Matter
Try to remove yourself from your business for a minute. Yes, it’s a difficult challenge, but you want to try to see your web design from the perspective of your customers, especially the first-time visitor.
Go ahead. Pretend you’ve never been to your site and find your way to your homepage. Now, what do you see? If this wasn’t your site, and you weren’t personally involved, would you like what you see? Think about your own favorite sites and what makes them so great. Are you seeing the same knockout elements here?
The College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. By using bright colors and a clean design, their website is able to quickly highly their mission and what they’ve been able to accomplish over the years.
Those first few seconds that a visitor is on your page are huge. It’s here that they’ll decide if you’re worth investing more of their time, and potentially their money, in. It’s also at this point that they can quickly bounce right out of there if they don’t like what they see.
Here are a few key elements that make for a great first impression.
It’s eye catching. Your web design should be visually appealing to your target market. Nobody really wants to hang around on a site that’s hard to look at. Granted, the definition of “visually appealing” will change depending on your audience, but a few things remain consistent.
- Clean focused design is key. Clutter is kept to a minimum.
- Amazing visuals tell part of the story instead of relying solely on written content to do the work.
- It’s instantly intuitive to navigate. A quick visual scan and your customer should be able to figure out where they want to go and how to get there.
- You’ve used video. Video creates a positive user experience and having a video element on a landing page increases the rate of conversion.
The website for Retreat Central includes an interactive map for ease of navigation as well as large photos of each site. The CTA buttons are also in a bright color so visitors can easily get to the information they need.
Responsiveness and Mobility
Have you been to your local coffee shop recently? If you have, you’ve probably noticed at least one person with a laptop in front of them and scrolling through their phone at the same time. We’re at a point where we’re not just using multiple devices, sometimes we’re using them simultaneously.
When your customers are hopping from one device to the next, they’re expecting a seamless experience. Let’s face it, most of the world doesn’t know that much about web design and isn’t going to understand why your site looks and works differently on their phone than it does from their desktop.
Honestly, this isn’t even something that they should be giving a second thought to. Their experience should be consistent across all devices and that means responsive web design is key.
When viewed on mobile, the Pathos Printing site focuses on a succinct brand message and encourages visitors to sign up or sign in to their account.
Responsive design allows your web page to adapt to the device it’s being viewed on. This is important because how your customer is using and navigating your site is largely determined by device. For example, someone sitting at their desk at home might leisurely click through content and read what interests them. Meanwhile, someone on their smartphone might quickly scroll through a site and rely on eye catching headlines to catch their attention.
The Need for Speed
Load speed might be the number one factor in providing a great customer experience. Why? Because if your pages are slow to load, customers aren’t going to hang around long enough to even find out if they liked using your site.
The amount of time we’re talking about here is miniscule. If a site is taking more than 2-3 seconds to load, especially on a mobile device, it’s toast. From a customer perspective, there’s just too many other options to wait around on one.
It isn’t just them either. Google feels the same way. Pages that have been designed to load within the first 2 seconds rank higher in search results. Google loves UX, and speed is a huge factor.
If your pages are taking a little too long to load, look at these two quick fixes.
- Reduce the size of your images. Huge images create major lag in load speeds. Resize them and use high resolution jpeg files instead.
- Kill the auto play. Few things are more frustrating than video or music that starts playing automatically. Especially when it consumes data, or the user is in a public place and your auto play has just brought unwanted attention onto them. The real advantage for you is that this one step is going to cut load times drastically. More customers will stay around and like what they see.
There are plenty of ways to improve your customer’s experience on your site, and it all starts with great, user friendly design.