Websites are both strange and wondrous.
Strange because they are so consistently undervalued by business owners. Wondrous because they are in most cases the #1 touchpoint for a brand, available globally 24/7.
Business owners will pour money into bricks and mortar, into perfecting products and services, into sales people, into marketing. But struggle to invest in the one asset most roads lead to. And it’s true, websites can be expensive, but that is because they are the tapestry of many skillsets – brand positioning, content strategy, copywriting, photography, film, design and of course the code that stitches everything together.
“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.” – Cynthia Ozick
Lucky for us entrepreneurs there are now very cost effective ways to get a high speed, responsive website off the ground very quickly – tools like Shopify and SquareSpace.
Which means that we can focus on making sure we have the essential ingredients for a site that delivers results.
The term UX gets bandied around a lot these days – so what is it exactly?
It’s the process design teams use to make sure that all of their decisions are based around the user’s perspective. In a nutshell, everything needs to be meaningful and relevant for your customer.
It can be difficult as a business owner from the inside looking out to realise that your navigation names are full of jargon, your descriptions are all about you and that the goals of your customer aren’t really being addressed in a seamless way.
Putting on the lens of the customer from the get go and having that view for all your decisions will vastly improve your website, even if you don’t have the luxury of doing research with actual users. Think about how you can add value every step of the way, look for ways to simplify and minimise friction (eg short forms not long ones, easy to access navigation, clear link styles etc).
Convey key messages
First impressions happen seriously fast and users don’t loiter for long before they hit that back button. It’s critical that you are communicating what makes your business different (and more meaningful) than your competitors. But this doesn’t need to be a shouty look at me approach, it can be conveyed through design, photography and customer-centric copy.
Whatever your unique points of difference are just make sure they are being communicated and you aren’t missing out on an opportunity to engage your potential customers.
Although it sounds obvious, so many businesses get bogged down in the blah blah blah of what they do and overlook the deeper layers that are so much more likely to capture attention – their points of difference, purpose and values and of course talking to the customer pain points.
Getting a visitor to your website isn’t cheap. In many cases you may be paying per click to Google or social platforms. Even if you haven’t it likely means you are investing in content creation, SEO or other marketing activities. The point is – you got them there, now what do you want them to do?
It is only the tiniest percentage of visitors that are in a ready to buy state, so you need to provide something of value that addresses their needs and encourages data exchange. Yes, the holy grail, an email address. The email address is powerful, it means you can email them without a pesky algorithm deciding your message isn’t important, and you can also use it in other ways such as building lookalike audiences or retargeting when marketing.
Make sure you have clear calls to action on site that tick two boxes – adding value to the user, adding value to your business.
Time to think of your website as a wondrous, powerful asset that can be working hard for you while you sleep. Is yours in need of an overhaul? Well that’s an opportunity. Happy planning Brigaders.
Jodie + Em xx