It doesn’t matter how flashy or attractive your website is. You don’t want an ugly one, but today’s visitors are interested in much more than visuals. The average attention span has declined from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds now. While this is a shorter attention span than a goldfish, what matters more is that it’s an incredibly small window of opportunity.
Perfecting anything takes time, including upgrading and revising a website. It helps to know where to start and where to focus your energy.
In light of that, here are seven areas your business website might be lacking currently that can offer a significant boost to engagement.
1. Place Your Value Proposition
Every business or brand needs a value proposition, or what many also refer to as a mission statement. It tells potential customers what you do, what you offer and what that means for them. You have a maximum of 10 seconds to leave an impression on visitors and entice them to interact with your brand.
Always place your value proposition front and center. It should be on your landing page and home page. It should be on a blog or about page. It should be immediately available to anyone visiting your site, period.
Do you need help framing the proposition? Start with who your company is and what you do, and then explain how you can help customers and what they’ll get out of it.
Wherever your visitors land on your site, you want them to find their way around easily and quickly. The most obvious way to do this is by providing an intuitive navigation menu. Keep in mind this does not mean including every single page on your site in a list. Long, unintuitive navigation is considered a UX mistake.
To make things easier, navigation should always follow a layered approach. The first step is to ensure your site design is correctly configured so you don’t have more pages than necessary. This might mean combining content from various pages to keep everything all in one compact space.
Then, you should structure the menu options in a smart, efficient way. Since you’ve already optimized the rest of your site, this step should be much easier. Most menus include five to 10 top-level categories or options, with only the most important subcategories nested underneath. An exception can be made for e-commerce sites where product categories are numerous — think Amazon.
3. Keep Your Contact Form Direct
Contact forms are great when they work correctly. A lot of websites and services collect any incoming messages and store them in an exclusive place, like directly on the site. This adds an extra step when dealing with communications, which can be easy to miss. Always make sure any communications go right to an email address or inbox you check regularly. If they go a remote team instead, make sure they’re receiving the messages directly.
As for the contact form, keep it short and simple. Forms are generally considered boring by most people and can end up being a huge deterrent for certain visitors and prospective clients.
4. Upgrade Your Visuals
Aside from text and descriptions, visuals are the most important piece of content on your site. If your images look outdated or are just plain hideous, then no one is going to spend a lot of time there. This is especially true of products and goods listings. People want to be able to see what it is they’re buying or planning to order.
Spend time regularly refreshing your pictures to ensure they are high-quality and relevant. If you’re not sure what needs to be upgraded or replaced, you can always host user polls to get a feel for what people don’t particularly like.
Be sure to consider visual elements that you might not normally, including lighting, shadows, subjects and even backgrounds. Most photos are taken during the day or with bright lights, but some of the best shots may be captured at nighttime depending on the subject.
The “about” or “bio” pages are not just a place to tell everyone about your brand and business. They should also discuss the team behind the company’s success, including yourself. Inject some personality into the content to show off who you truly are behind the scenes, even if the brand is strictly professional in tone.
6. Incorporate Client Testimonials
Never underestimate the human touch, or more specifically, the peer element. Testimonials serve as client-devised reviews, establishing credibility for your business and detailing what you’ve done for past customers. They build trust between you and prospective clients, which is incredibly important in today’s market.
Some might consider creating a dedicated page for testimonials. However, a better way to incorporate them is to splash them throughout your site like in a sidebar, footer or various page segments. That ensures they are placed in full view, and everyone who spends time on the site has the opportunity to see at least one or two of them.
When people aren’t sure what they should be doing, they’ll most often look to their peers’ behavior as an example. As humans, if and when we see a lot of people doing something, we tend to emulate their behavior. This is also referred to as social proof, and it’s exactly why testimonials are so powerful.
7. Fix the Errors: Never Stop Upgrading and Optimizing
Many businesses commission a website or have one built and then leave it as-is for years at a time. They may update a blog or news section, but the general design and structure remain static. That’s not a good idea and it’s not effective, especially these days.
A website should be dynamic, and that includes both its design and content. As time goes on, you’ll find some things work well and others that don’t. Some changes may lower engagement or turn away visitors, while others might bring new people in droves. Continue evolving and learning as you make changes with your site, as it’s the only way to truly keep the portal in an optimal state. It’s also important to review all hyperlinks, both internally and externally, to ensure there are no broken links.
Follow These Tips to Success
Truthfully, there are many areas of a business website that could probably be updated, optimized or downright changed. That’s why it’s important to build a dynamic site design and make continual improvements. If you focus on the areas discussed here, you should see a significant boost to user engagement. It’s a great way to start the current evolution of your site.