Did you know it takes about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website, and if it’s negative, 57% of people say they won’t recommend a business because of that? Needless to say, a website plays a significant role in attracting new customers to your business and needs to be designed with the user experience in mind.
There are crucial components that make up a website that allows visitors to find the information they’re looking for and convert them into potential leads or customers. We’ve put together a list of essential elements to include on your site to keep it running at peak performance.
Website security is essential not only to protect your business but your customer. First and foremost, you need to update your site’s software whenever necessary. An update’s primary function is to reduce security vulnerabilities and stop any efforts from hackers, bots, or any other potential threats. So regularly checking updates for your CMS, plugin-ins, and eCommerce software will greatly reduce any security breaches.
It is also crucial to make sure your site is HTTPS and cookie secured. As the protection of user data increases, having an SSL certificate is a must. Not having one can cause your site’s performance and ranking to decrease in search engines compared to competitors. It also helps to build trust with your consumer, especially if they are entering sensitive information for contact forms or eCommerce purposes. Having secure cookies supplements the SSL and prevents users’ information from being transferred or used to impersonate them on another site.
Lastly, it’s important to deploy a web application firewall (WAF). A WAF identifies and stops any malicious traffic such as SQL injection, broken authentication, and sensitive backend data exposure, cross-site-scripting (XSS), file inclusion, bot attacks, cross-site request forgery, and many more. Minor security measures include securing passwords, maintaining and updating user permissions, and backing up data regularly.
It’s becoming much more apparent that as technological capabilities increase, users’ attention spans decrease. Loading times are critical for customer experience, with 53% of mobile users leaving a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load. And if that’s not enough, site speed is just one of the many factors Google considers for search rankings. With this in mind, website maintenance is crucial, ensuring that you’re staying on top of elements that could be slowing down your site.
If your website appears to be running slower than usual, consider checking these factors that could be the culprit:
–Your media files are too large
–Your site’s code contains unnecessary characters and line breaks
–You’re not using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
–Too many plugins
With up to 70% of website traffic happening on a mobile device, it is important to consider how users experience your site via this channel. While having a responsive website should be a top priority in website development and design, it is no longer enough to stop there. Making your website mobile-friendly is good, but consider making it thumb-friendly. There’s a pretty standard rule of thumb (ha, get it?) about how users hold their phones. By adjusting the layout, navigation, and usability based on where a user’s thumb can easily reach on their screen, you’ll provide your customers with an easily accessible website. As a result, they provide you with a positive outlook on your brand. This positive experience on behalf of the customer provides increased traffic and engagement, more qualified customers, and higher profits on your site.
There is nothing more annoying than confusing navigation on a website. Most users stay on a website for at most 15 seconds, and poor navigation is among the top 3 reasons a visitor will leave. Take a look at your navigation – Is it easily accessible? Does it have too many buttons? Is it easy to understand and use? Here are some best practices when building website navigation:
–Descriptive labels to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ranking.
–Labels should provide helpful information to users (products, about, blog, etc.).
–Try to stay under seven items in the main navigation bar.
–Navigation should be optimized for mobile devices (i.e., ‘hamburger menu’).
–’Sticky navigation’ that stays locked in place as the user scrolls.
Meaningful Call-to-Action (CTA)
Everyone wants to have high visitor traffic to their site, but what do you want them to do once the potential customer is there? A website CTA is what drives action and collects relevant contact information from your customer. Before you create a CTA, you need to think of your company’s goals, whether that be lead generation, buying or downloading something, signing up for a free trial or demo, etc.
Some potential call-to-actions are as follows:
Basic SEO & Quality Content
You could have the most beautiful, easy-to-use website, but if your content is minimal and low quality, all your efforts will be pointless. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. And the way to do that is to write rich descriptive content that focuses on providing useful information to your desired audience.
First, think about the keywords that your potential users would search to find your product or service. Once you’ve gathered a handful of relevant terms, start crafting content around them. One thing to note is that content should never be stuffed with keywords but written organically and naturally. Otherwise, your site could be penalized and lower in rank. When crafting your content, also think about adding videos, high-quality images, webinars, or creating a blog on your website.
But it doesn’t stop there. Implementing keywords will only get you so far, as updating and maintaining relevant keywords is crucial to ensure the highest possible ranking.
Clear Path to Content
Your website has it all. Quality content, great layout, clear mission statement, and your user is ready to get a quote for your services or visit your store but wait – where is the contact form, address, or phone number? It’s vital to have the correct contact info live on a dedicated page and display it throughout the site. Whether you want to include it in your footer or at the bottom section of each page on your site, it needs to be easily accessible.
While a contact form is crucial for a website, this should not be the only way customers can reach you. Some customers are not able to wait 24-48 business hours for a response, which is why also providing a phone number on your site is a smart move.
Not only does this push your potential lead further down the sales funnel, but it also provides a level of trust, knowing that you are easily reachable.
While you believe that your product or service is the best option out there, customers usually need a little more convincing. 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business. Incorporating previous customer and client testimonials will increase customers’ trust that your business is not only reputable but that they’re making the right choice by choosing you.
Now take it a step further. By including testimonials on your site by people who most closely resemble your buyer persona, you can influence your target market to buy from you and trust you.
These are some basic elements that your website should include for optimal user experience. We hope this blog helped you better plan your next website design or optimize your current website. We would love to help get your website where it needs to be. Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or drop us a line to get started.