11 May Is your website generating enquiries?
When someone visits your website they want to be able to find the information they need quickly – no one wants to have to work to find it!
So can your users understand the design and structure of your website?
Your website is considered user-friendly when it is easy and intuitive for visitors to navigate and they can efficiently meet their goals for their visit.
Design & Consistency
With the use of internet, people build their own online experience and create expectations when they visit a new website. Designing a website with consistency and standards in mind reduces the visitors thinking process and eliminates confusion.
Organising content to follow natural eye movement patterns is the core requirements for any effective site. The Z pattern of eye scanning is common for small businesses’ websites. The users eye land on the top left corner of the page and scans along the top towards the right, then glances down through the content following on a diagonal to the bottom left, before moving along to the bottom right following a “Z shape”.
Having this in mind, the header is the most important area of your website; followed closely by your promotional area with a hero image. The content component of your website comes straight after these two elements in the list of importance.
This section of your website is referred to as “the fold” area. The fold is basically the part of the website your visitor can see before having to use the up-and-down scroll bar. The fold area constructs and influences your visitor’s first impression of your business. This is the most important section of your home page so be sure not to add too much information here; but make sure to add your logo, navigation, primary call to action and your business overview.
The website footer is also a very important part of your content. It may not be the area of greatest design or impressive written content, but it is a place where users frequently look for information.
Two of the most important information basics you must include in your website footer are:
- A brief description about your business
- Your businesses’ contact details.
Grouping footer items in columns with headers such as; about us, contact, links, services, social media makes it easier to see and to find the information needed.
A standard content structure for every website is header, body and footer. Content pages may include a side bar in the body area.
Checklist for a user friendly website
When you first start a website, you need to create a sitemap. Your sitemap should be consistent and as simple as possible.
- Make your hierarchy logical
- Each main category should be unique and distinct.
- Each subcategory should relate to the main category under which it is located. Each content page needs to be named appropriately.
- You can use default links such as services to create dropdown menus and make your visitors experience easier, but make sure your website has a page for each service, each product, each team member and topic.
- Make sure you list your most important content at the top so it is more relevant for SEO.
Remember the “Z” shape, place your logo at the top left corner as this is always the first place visitors will start looking at your page.
Your navigation menu works as per your sitemap. Use standard menu links that are easy for users to recognise such as; Home, About us, Products, Services, Blog and Contact us. (Remember that you need a page for each of your services or products).
User experience may be best served by placing your navigation menu horizontally across the top of the page, or vertically down the left side. Another way to enhance user experience could be to use a “Sticky Menu” for sites that have a long scrolling option.
Promotional Area & Primary Call to Action
Most pages should have a promotional area below the header area of the website with a hero image and a call to action. This promotional area is used to communicate the main message the business is selling to potential customers.
Since vision is the strongest human sense, hero images are one of the fastest ways to grab a user’s attention. Bold, graphic, and intentional imagery helps to engage the user. Call to action can be “Register Now”, “Get a Quote”, “Contact Us”, “Find Out More”. They are verbs that make the user click so you can drive them to make an enquiry.
Business Overview & Services/Features/Products
If people don’t have an understanding of what your company does, users are less likely to spend the time perusing your website to find out!
The key reason a customer is coming to your site is to find out more about your company and the products and/or services it can offer them. On your home page you should always have a welcome message with a brief description of what your company actually does.
Another key tip is to feature a few key services or products that you offer; either the most recent or your most popular. It is still important to include these features, products, or services on your homepage. Having this information present on the page offers a bit more detail for prospective customers and also helps your page rank higher for those services in search engines.
Including a blog on your homepage is a great way to let visitors know that you are continuing to be active and your website remains fresh and up-to-date. Your blog content shows your expertise and offers people the opportunity to connect with your brand.
Proof of success
Your product or service could be the best in the world, but other people may not believe it unless they hear it from some of your other customers or clients.
When someone lands on your website they don’t know whether your offer is any good, but if they see that people have engaged your services or products in the past and are speaking positively about it, they are more likely to think positively about it and take the steps to fill out a contact form.
You can do this by showing some customer testimonials, your case studies, social sharing buttons or embedded social media posts. Another great way to offer immediate credibility to your site is to include; industry recognition, awards, certifications and associations logos on your home page. They represent the quality of your work, and support your business as an expert in your field.
Visitors should be able to find your contact information easily on your homepage. Most commonly found in the footer it should include a mailing address, email address, and phone number in case someone is interested in reaching you. Also, often in the header area it is good to have a phone number and/or a button for your primary call to action such as “Enquire Now”, “Book Online” or “Call Now”.
Secondary call to action
Secondary calls to action should be included to offer additional conversion opportunities for prospects who are not interested in your primary objective.