Nobody wants a boring website. Could you improve yours? Take a look at your website through the prism of the seven secrets of highly successful websites and see if you can make yours just as effective. Here’s a tip: just about all of these secrets revolve around providing your clients with a better experience. If that surprises you, your website’s in big trouble.
When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar. Okay, I know that’s not the most original joke in the world, but the first time we hear it the joke works because it plays with our notions of reality. How can a door stop being a door? When the joke reveals itself as wordplay we laugh, but websites don’t work like that. We don’t really want those kind of surprises. Imagine what you’d think if the next time you visited the Amazon website it turned out to be a website about the River Amazon? It might be amusing for a while, but pretty soon we’d be annoyed at not being able to buy that book or DVD we wanted.
Highly successful websites make a promise and keep it. If your website promises to deliver information, make sure it does. If your website is a place to buy screwdrivers, you’d better make sure that the shopping cart works. Make sure that product descriptions explain things in ways that your buyers can understand. “4 inch flat head screwdriver” doesn’t do the job as well as “This screwdriver is perfect for all general purpose uses. This 4 inch long screwdriver will reach into most household spaces and the specially-toughened flat head means it will give you years of service. This model has been the choice of professionals and DIY enthusiasts for over 10 years”.
Make sure your online shop looks like a shop, link to your products as soon as your visitors hit the site. Google’s website may not be attractive but it immediately gives you access to their core product: the search engine.
In summary: highly effective websites deliver on their promise.
Highly successful websites not only look professional, they sound and behave professional too. They don’t DIY. These websites are created by professionals who choose colours and layouts for more than just aesthetic reasons. Highly successful websites use words that have been crafted by professional copywriters who know the difference between a comma and a semicolon. Importantly, highly successful websites contain photographs that have been taken by someone that does it for a living. Yes, you can do it yourself but should you? Cutting corners to save money on your website is a false economy.
In summary: avoid the Do It Yourself option, highly successful websites are built by professionals. Let us do our job.
When I was young I read even more prolifically than now. Which is to say I read a hell of a lot. At one time I became fascinated by the lives of people who had made a difference in the World. People with lasting legacies. One thing that struck me at that time was a quality which was shared by them all. It was a small thing, but one that their contemporaries felt set these people apart from others. This was their reliability. When they said they would do a thing, or agree to meet at a particular place and time, they invariably came through. Websites are the same.
Highly successful websites don’t keep crashing. Highly successful websites have consistent navigation. Highly successful websites have brand integrity. Highly successful websites aren’t afraid to improve.
In summary: invest in making your website reliable, and keep improving.
The best websites have a purpose and articulate it clearly. However what that purpose it is sometimes hard to tell; looking at some sites it’s almost impossible. Make sure your website is clearly focused on your clients’ needs. Look at the imagery, copy and all the interactive elements on your website. What impression would a stranger get from your website? Is the copy about them or more about you? If you use the word “we” more than the word “you”, who do think your site is really about?
Highly successful websites have copy and imagery that is all about their clients.
In summary: make sure your website is focused on what your clients need, not what you need.
5. Calls to Action
One of the hallmarks of the Amazon website is that at every point there is a clear course of action for the visitor. There is no point in their user experience where the visitor is left without a Call to Action of some kind. they always know what to do next. Sometimes it is a link to related products, at others it’s the Add to Cart button. This is a practice that all websites could easily adopt, yet most don’t. Oh, by the way, if you need a better website or some social media guidance, contact me. It can be as simple as that.
In summary: highly successful websites always include clear Calls to Action.
6. The Nobility of Mobility
Gone are the days when your website is most often viewed on a desktop computer. The explosion in tablet devices and smartphones has changed all that. From now on, your website will be increasingly viewed by people when they’re out and about. If your site isn’t responsive (i.e. is easily viewed on both desktop and mobile device) you’re already in trouble.
In summary: if your website isn’t already responsive, talk to your web designer and get that sorted ASAP.
How valuable is your website? I’m not asking you how much someone would pay you to own it. I’m asking you to evaluate how much your customers and potential clients rely on it. How many people would genuinely regret it if your website crashed tomorrow and was never restored? Would anyone care apart from you? Get real about how valuable your content is and how social it is. When I say that to other small businesses like yours, most often they smile and say some variant of “Oh we’re fine. We have a Twitter feed and a Facebook feed on our website. Anything we say on Twitter is immediately visible on our website. we’re really social-media-savvy”. If that’s you, I’m sorry but that hasn’t been good enough since 2011. At the latest. You need to do much more. Go back to basics: how engaged in your website are your clients? Do you even have a blog? Think about it. Really.
In summary: put your customers first when it comes to your website’s content. And get more involved with them.
The Next Step
It’s time to re-evaluate your website. Start from the ground floor, as they say. Pretend you are building a completely new website and go through each of these Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Websites. Are you using any of them? Could you use more? Maybe it’s time to get an independent assessment. Oh and if your website isn’t integrated with your social media strategy, you need to talk to us at Design Inspiration. Seriously.
Web Secrets Podcast (Ep. 2)
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