Your website is a reflection of your business. In many cases, it provides a first impression to potential customers about your products and services. More than 230 million people in the U.S. are estimated to shop online by the year 2021. An optimized website can increase your conversion rate and boost your sales, while a poorly designed site can cause you to miss significant opportunities.
You may have a web design agency or in-house web developer who handles your website look, feel, and function. You could also have a do-it-yourself website running on WordPress or a similar platform. No matter which type of website you use for your business, you can benefit from the following five tips to optimize your site.
Map Out Your Goal
Before you start designing or modifying your website, you should have a clear goal in mind. What do you want visitors to do while they are on your site? If you map out the journey of your buyer before designing your site, you will have a clearer picture of your site needs.
In order to map out your site, you must have an understanding of your customers. Who are they and what are they looking for? Knowing these things will enable you to provide a quality experience that answers their questions in a timely manner. Plan your site out step by step, thinking through each page a visitor will hit. By taking your site design one step at a time, you can ultimately reach your overall goal.
Remove the Clutter
The average attention span online is about eight seconds. Your site needs to grab a visitor’s attention within this short window of time and entice them to keep reading. Clutter on your site will detract from the audience’s focus and lead them away from your goal. Anything that does not directly pertain to your message should be removed.
That super cool animation might be interesting to look at, but is it driving home your message in a clear and concise way? While some motion and graphics are beneficial, too much of anything detracts from your goal. You should also take a look at the copy on your site. If the language is confusing or consists of insider jargon, it can turn the average consumer away.
Calls-to-action are crucial for any website. These elements guide your users to the next step, ultimately leading them to your overall goal. Whether you are trying to make a sale or gather contact information, a clear call-to-action should be on every page of your site.
You may already be using calls-to-action throughout your website. It is imperative to make sure they are clear and concise. Buttons are a standard format for calls-to-action because they stand out from the rest of your page. Use colors and fonts thoughtfully to create a call-to-action that grabs attention.
Have Cohesive Imagery
Your images and graphics throughout your site should match your message and branding. If you are a serious tech company, cartoons may not be the way to go. On the other hand, that could be the style you’ve cultivated over the years and what your customer comes to expect. There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing imagery for your site, and you need to be thoughtful about what goes on each page.
The ideal solution for images is to use your own original photos and graphics. This method can build trust with your audience and comes across as more genuine. However, original photos and graphics are expensive to create. Utilize cohesive stock photos or free image options until you are able to build up your own content library.
Maximize Space Above the Fold
Some consider the space above the fold on your webpages to be outdated. While you do not need to squeeze all of the relevant images and copy for your company above the fold, it is still a prime piece of real estate on your website. This is the first section of any page that visitors will see. If you can maximize the space above the fold, you can catch your audience’s attention before they click out of a page.
Make sure your message and a clear call-to-action are situated above the fold. If a visitor does not scroll down the page, will they have a complete understanding of your business and their next step? From there, you can add more images, videos, reviews, and copy to highlight different features as they keep reading.
Your website can make or break your business, and that is true for any company – large or small. Instead of blindly designing a site based on popular trends or cool, new features, business owners and marketers must be thoughtful about optimizing their websites. Learn about your customers, including their needs and wants, to map out your website. Include clear calls-to-action and cohesive imagery to bring the whole thing together and increase conversions.