Creating an effective website that not only draws in but converts and retains customers is a fine art that few have ever mastered, if any. The complicated formula of effectiveness and visual attractiveness revolves itself entirely around a website’s usability. Its no good conveying its point and looking amazing if no-one can find what they need. Unfortunately not every website suits every customer, so there isn’t one amazing base design you can adapt either. The trick to building an effective website relies on your ability to listen and explore, think about how your users view your website and what they expect to get out of it. This may be your website, but nothing on it is for you. You website is simply a vessel in which to appeal to your customers and make a sale, the more you tailor it and your services to your customers, the more credibility your website and company gets. Here are some tips on how to make the most effective kind of website from the offset.
Don’t make your customers think
The worst thing you can do is create a website that gives nothing away, it may seem like you have air of mystery about your company, but you don’t you will just confuse and send away your customers. The trick to an inviting website, is to not make your customers think. Communicate who you are effectively and make it painfully obvious what you do, even if you don’t do so in words. The layout of your site alone can give users a hint of what you do. As well as this, show off what you sell and where they can search for items they don’t already see before them. Offer easy to find navigational menus that point them in the direction to find specific things and generally just help them on their way. You should find the less time your visitors spend trying to figure out what you do, the more time they’ll spend looking and shopping for items.
Make it simple and usable
Getting across your message isn’t the only thing you need to do however, you also need to find a way of displaying your amazing information that will actually get it read. Doing this relies on having a form of structure across your website, use grid based layouts to keep your sessions in line and not seemingly randomly placed across the screen. Keeping good structure will make you look a lot more professional, especially when your carry a similar theme throughout the whole website. Keep in mind that we read left to right, keep all important information to the left and at the top of your page so you don’t have to worry about it falling below the fold on their screens. Sticking to conventional website layouts doesn’t make your website boring, with a personal twist it can actually make them look incredibly individual, and well performing. However much information you want to provide your customers, make sure you’re not giving them too much. Be sure to leave white space ( or whatever colour of your background) and not fill every possible corner of your viewers screen with a visual or some kind of text, keeping it simple and airy can do a lot of good. Keep useless info in the back and avoid unnecessary animated gifs unless you want your website to look like it strolled out of the early 2000’s. Instead, use your solid graphics to emphasise main parts of your website.
Don’t waste customer patience
Online shoppers are fast paced and hate waiting. Meaning that your well structured well read site should only contact information your customers will need, with information they may want later such as articles hidden in the back. Accessibility is also key, as eCommerce takes the world by storm more and more people are shopping on your mobile phone and however much they love your store on their laptop screens, if it doesn’t convert to mobile it’s likely you’re going to lose their custom. Keep any useless content off the site, even blogs and articles should be tailored around content your customers find truly interesting so it fits easily with the flow of the website. This does not mean however that the blog should be pushed as the first thing they see when they enter your website, it’s more of a thing to advertise after they have made a purchase and are likely to not visit your site to buy items again any time soon.
Make it visually attractive
Along with putting in all your amazing information, and making it readable, and also making it easy to find and access you also need to make it some somewhat visually attractive. Use your overall design to focus your shoppers attention where you want it buy using effective text that is short and to the point. Put emphasised text in a bigger font size or a different colour to the rest to help it stand out and direct attention further. Don’t use paragraphs and only use so many typefaces and sizes, otherwise you loose your websites uniformity and risk looking unorganised and unprofessional. Choose a good colour scheme that supports your brand identity and its logo, try not to choose more than five main colours for both your design and text to help them link into each other better. While designing and placing content it is good to keep in mind visual hierarchy, keeping things higher and displayed larger the more important they are, with smaller details lower down and in the footer. Using visual hierarchy makes a page easier to scan, and also decreases the risk of shoppers getting bored of reading before they get to your main point or amazing deal that will draw them in.