Having a website is an outstanding opportunity for any business. You can explore new and effective sales and marketing techniques. You can sell your wares twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is a support portal for your customers. The limits are, well… limitless. But what exactly do consumers expect from a website?
While simply having a website does give you greater online visibility, not all websites are created equal. Some are new and innovative. Some stick to more classic tried-and-true strategies. Some are responsive, while others are fluid.
Regardless of what route you take, there are certain things that set websites that work apart from those that don’t.
1. Easy to navigate
In a study conducted by HubSpot, 76% of consumers said their primary concern is that a website is easy to navigate. If someone cannot find what they are looking for quickly and easily, they will seek a solution somewhere else.
This is the most common reason people will bail on your site. Many businesses focus heavily on having a cool look or being cutting edge, instead of focusing on ease of use. If this applies to your website, it may be time to consider a different approach.
Unclear navigation is not only bad for user experience, it can also be detrimental to your on-site SEO.
2. Clear calls-to-action
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of clear navigation. This applies to much more than just the links in the header and footer of your site (you do have footer navigation links, right?). Using clear calls to action (CTA) give the readers concise instructions about what you want them to do next. Whether it’s to subscribe to your email newsletter, buy something, or ‘like’ your business on Facebook.
When it comes to direct response marketing, don’t ever assume that your visitors know what you want them to do. Make your intentions clear. Be explicit. Instead of “Click To Get Started!” say something like “Register Now!” or “Download Your Free Guide”.
3. Fast page speed
Research from Kissmetrics found site speed has a significant impact on user experience. The report suggests that 47% of consumers expect your website to load within two seconds. Furthermore, 40% of users will abandon your site if it isn’t loaded in three seconds or less. This gives the user a feeling of direct control over your website. Click a button, immediate response. Click a link, immediate response. A la Pavlov.
Not only does slow load time drive users away, it also negatively impacts your on-site SEO score as well.
For more information on site speed, you can view the full infographic from the Kissmetrics study here.
4. Social proof
The most effective marketing is word of mouth recommendations and testimonials. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers say they believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of marketing. Numbers as staggering as this can mean only one thing: you absolutely must display review on your website and also provide a way for customers to leave reviews as well.
Make sure reviews are easy to find. Visitors to your site won’t go out of their way to find out if you’ve matched up to other visitors expectations. Place reviews on your homepage and clearly state that this is what other visitors are saying about you.
5. Ability to provide feedback
This falls right in line with the last point. Not only should positive reviews be easy to find, they should also be easy for people to create. This adds a level of transparency, by encouraging people to leave honest feedback for you. Not only does this validate your company in the eyes of consumers, it also gives you great insight on where you can improve.
You can add a link below your current reviews asking people to leave their thoughts. This can also extend this to the buying process. Try implementing an email campaign which fires upon purchase so you can ask how the buying process went.
As of 2014 mobile device usage surpassed desktop. As this gap between mobile and desktop usage continues to grow, it is imperative that your website serves up a pleasing mobile experience. Consumers expect websites to look good and function well on their phones and tablets. This is another example of something that impacts user experience as well as on-site SEO.
Unsure if your site is mobile friendly or not? Our free tools will help you find out.
7. What sets your business apart
Consumers have tons of options these days—what makes your brand a better option than your competition? People want to know what makes you unique. How are you going to solve their problems faster, better, and/or cheaper than your competitors? By giving users a clear sense of what you offer and how it will help them, you greatly increase your chance of making a conversion.
Take a moment to think about how you set yourself apart. Now head over to your About page on your website. Is this clearly outlined and easily understandable? If you don’t clearly state how you are going to improve your visitor’s lives, they will find someone else who does.
When designing or redesigning your website, customer expectations should be your guiding light. If you don’t account for what consumers expect from a website you give them no reason to stay (and no reason to pay). Losing website visitors means losing business to your competitors.
To find out if your website is delivering on consumer’s expectations, sit down with someone from your market (a friend or family member will work too) and ask them to complete some specific user goals on your site. This might be purchasing a specific product, subscribing to your email list, or leaving a review. Take notes and ask them to verbalize their thoughts as they navigate your site.
We understand that performing this type of testing can be time-consuming, so you can also contact us for a free business review.