The world of small business is changing fast and the desire for an online presence is becoming no longer a want but a need to keep up with competition. As though that were not enough, as technology becomes more proficient the expectations of customers increase making basic websites unsatisfactory or obsolete. For small business owners, this can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible to stay in front of, but with a few simple changes you might not be as behind as you originally thought.
1. Less is more & simple is better
Place yourself as a customer for a new pair of sneakers and ask the question: “What do I want to know?” Immediately, our minds go to what we look for most in a shoe: style, color, comfortability, durability, etc. In this mindset we are on a mission for one thing: information. But there is a catch, we don’t just want information, we want it fast. In fact, if we start scouring through websites, looking for shoes we might like, and we have to read more than 3 or 4 sentences to understand what we are getting, it is likely that we are going to bounce to a new site that will give us more information faster. One of the biggest mistakes we tend to see at ANIKO are websites that have a weighty amount of words on the front page. Remember to think about what your customer wants to know. If there is anything extra than what your customer absolutely needs to know then try moving that content to an about page or services page.
2. Leave space above the fold
“Above the fold” defines any button, picture, menu, or content that appears on the loading screen without scrolling. This could also be defined as the top part of your homepage. Leaving a small space above the fold sends a quiet but effective message to the viewers of your website: “please scroll.” There is a lot of valuable content on a homepage of a website that is used to draw a viewer towards a sale and this can be missed if a viewer chooses not to scroll. By sacrificing 5 to 10 pixels of your homepage banner you are introducing a tool that could diminish your website’s bounce rate and lead to better influenced customers. An example of this tool can be found on the ANIKO website homepage.
3. Answer your user's questions in bullet points
So now that we have talked about what to place above the fold, what content should be placed below the fold? A good home page accomplishes two things: it informs its viewer effectively and drives its viewer to a call to action. Answering key questions that your customers might have is one of the most effective manners at qualifying yourself to your customer. The best way to present this information is in concise bullet points if possible. Remember people want information fast and we have taught ourselves this through nearly every aspect of our lives. That is why people write lists, notes, study guides, and other necessary information in the form of bullet points. It is easy to read and effective in helping us memorize pieces of information.
4. Place your call to action on several sections & pages
Websites provide several important key benefits to a business’s image and reach, but it will fail to be fully effective if there is not a properly placed call to action or CTA. When looking at your website what is it that you would like for your customer to do before leaving? Maybe it is to fill out an application form, schedule a meeting, or purchase an item from your online store, in each case it is important to place your CTA on several sections throughout your website. This makes your intent clear and repetition allows several decision making opportunities for the customer to click on the CTA.
5. Keep your navigation menu to five main tabs
Revisiting an underlying point from topic one less is more and simplicity is better even when looking at your navigation menu. A simple rule of thumb is to keep your navigation menu to 5 main tabs including your call to action. If you feel like your navigation menu should have more selections it is better to try and add any additional menu selections as sub-menu items. This will pull up a drop down menu while keeping your navigation menu simple and concise. Remember that the main point of any website is to get the end user to complete your call to action. The more options we add to our website the more likely we are to overwhelm our customers rather than answer their questions or direct their actions.
Yes it is true expectations for websites are increasing every year, but by implementing a few simple changes you can have confidence that your website is meeting the public’s expectations. Take some time to brainstorm and review these topics and see what you can come up with to stay ahead of the curve.