Businesses of all sizes in an emerging digital world need a website presence, which is why most get one, but not all of them are as efficient as you would think. A sale being made, a lead being captured, and even getting traffic to website pages all seem like good indicators of effectiveness, but if the website isn’t performing as best is could, the next question that comes to mind is, how is this impacting my business when it doesn’t?
There’s a simple answer to that, and it’s company loss. The first thing that may come to mind is lower revenue, which is commonly the biggest concern, but the most important ones are hidden expenses. If you: included certain content on your website this could save sales labor on calls by not having to explain, leveraged user research to support layout decisions your marketing campaigns could be more effective with conversions, or if you hired a professional web development agency that may cost you more upfront, this could save you money over time by having better strategies in place.
Design is subjective, but user research which is a part of the user experience (UX) is objective. There’s data about each targeted audience and the design choices they will be most receptive to and this comes from usability studies, focus groups, interviews, advanced testing, etc. Therefore picking a layout or even emulating another website because it looks nice, may not yield the same results as a design supported by user research that says ‘this’ is what your audience ‘needs’ and will ‘take action’ with most.
Design is one of the biggest culprits in why conversions don’t happen on websites, but unless if a user provides that feedback, a business will never know why they didn’t move forward.
When a user goes to a search engine such as Google and searches for something, what returns back are websites based upon what was search for. Therefore, a business needs to include those exact words on their website, so they show up. It’s as simple as that!
This is why we have search engine optimization (SEO). You want to optimize your website, so you’re better found in search engines by your users. Although, SEO must be strategically done. It’s not as simple as guessing the keywords to put into paragraphs, but doing market research to learn what consumers are searching for and then putting that vernacular into the correct places on the website (headers, SEO settings, image alt tags, etc.)
This is why if a business doesn’t have an SEO expert, they need to hire one because if a website can’t be found properly it remains hidden from customers.
The best thing about having a website is that everything can be tracked. From the number of visitors per week to the time they spend on each page to the places around the world they’re located and how many decide to make contact.
A business needs to be prepared to understand what the numbers are telling them. It could mean that the design should change or SEO isn’t fully optimized or even that relying on organic traffic isn’t enough and outbound marketing (such as campaigns), should be used.
It’s crucial to not only review these numbers in alignment with awareness, but also from the perspective of action!
There’s a common misconception that websites don’t have enough call to actions (CTA), which is a prompt telling a user to take action. Although, placing “Contact Us For a FREE Quote” on bright buttons 3 times on 1 page + a Contact button, more than enough indicates what a user should do if they want to reach out. The bigger miss is not including enough options for being contacted.
A phone number and a form at a minimum are the biggest ways of ensuring a) they can email or b) they can speak to someone immediately, but some business models could benefit from a few more. Chat is a good option if a user wants to speak to some immediately but isn’t free to talk via phone. As well, another opportunity is to schedule a call if a customers wants to communicate on their own schedule versus running the risk of a business reaching out and they’re not available.
If user research supports it, including as many options that can be supported is a great way at a minimum to test which communication methods are most effective and it could be unveiled there’s an equal split.
Commonly websites include: who we are, what we offer/do, and how to make contact! Although, if a user is already seeing that content, there’s a big opportunity to include more such as: your process so you don’t have to describe it via another communication method, benefits versus hiring your competitors, starting prices with sales options so financial expectations are set, demos/work samples to give a preview of your offerings, reviews or a portfolio to support prior experience, and policies to align on how your organization operates.
The goal isn’t to overwhelm the user but to give them more reasons why they should choose to work with your organization for services or products i.e. strengthening your competitiveness.