Firstly, it's important to understand that the success of any website is measured by the results that it achieves.
What do we mean by website results?
When visitors of our website complete the actions we want them to complete - i.e., more sales, more enquiries, more bookings, more business and more customers.
So how do we get more visitors to take action on our website?
There are 5 factors to work on...
Find visitors who are motivated - this will happen if the promotion is relevant, i.e., it's attracting the right kind of people to our website
Convey the value proposition - the website needs to communicate this aspect quickly and clearly
Reduce friction - make it easy for the visitor to navigate around the website and complete the website goals smoothly (for example, long or unnecessary forms can lose visitors).
Relieve anxiety - get the visitors to trust you so they are willing to do business with you
Create incentive - offer something to prompt action (putting a time frame on it can also create urgency)
But....... the one thing that most websites ignore and the one thing that can make the most difference (from our experience) is a value proposition conveyed clearly and concisely!
What do we mean by value proposition?
When anyone visits a website, they have 2 questions in their mind....
What? What is this about? What can I do, buy or get here?
Why? Why should I be interested? Why should I continue?
Marketing Experiments study shows that if your website can't answer these 2 questions in about 3 seconds, visitors are less likely to take action.
Therefore, in the first 3 seconds, the top part of the page needs to tell the visitor why they should stay here to look for the solution..... rather than look somewhere else.
The order is important
Not only does the page need to answer these 2 questions, but it's important that the questions are answered in the correct order.
Our tendency is to rush into 'why' before we have answered 'what'. For example, it's no use describing the unique flavour if I don't even know that you sell ice cream.
Otherwise you create confusion..... & confusion creates mental resistance.
How does design fit in?
The visitor must be interested, understand and believe the message and design is the art of presenting that message.
Great website design will communicate the message...
How can design do this?
Using an eye path
Design controls what the visitor sees 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. There are 6 ways to control this...
We use these methods to emphasise one thing over another - we create a visual hierarchy to control what the visitor sees 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th.
Let's see that in practice....
Present the message in a linear format so that the visitors' thoughts come in the right order. Their eyes should travel from top left down to the center through the headline and vertically down the page.
Incorporate the value proposition in the opening headline. If the visitor reads anything on the page, you can guarantee that it will be the opening headline.
Make the message short and sharp. Get straight to the point - provide just enough reason for the visitor to continue with the next step.
Break content into headings and sub-headings - Use bullets or icons such as a 'tick' to break up text and draw the eye
Use large text for important words
Reduce distractions - Remove, separate, tone down 'related content' so it does not distract from the primary message
Convey the message with images - take care not to confuse or distract with irrelevant images
Tell the story with case studies & testimonials - convey your value proposition through a story and build trust and credibility
Convey your message with your 'call to action' - let the visitor know exactly what you want them to do next
Use white space - to reduce clutter and make the message easy to read. Think of it like a 'pause for effect'
Use depth - depth can be used to separate and emphasise content. Textures and drop shadows create the illusion of depth
And finally... our golden rules
'Quirky no worky' :-)
And always remember to measure, review and improve for continual progress and improvement on your website results.
It is easy to design a good looking website. A good web designer will create a website design that is unique, reflects the brand and builds instant trust with the visitor.
It is hard to design a website that generates results. It takes an expert designer to create a website that presents the right information, in the right way so it achieves your business goals.