Creating and maintaining an effective website is an easy way to turn a locally focused small business into an international brand. Many small businesses have a website in place, but do not focus on the user experience, or UX, to grab and keep the attention of a potential customer or client. For some, a website is used almost as a yellow page advertisement, with an address, phone number, and general information about the business. In today’s connected world, customers and clients expect more than the basics, they want an experience designed with their needs in mind.
User experience can be made up of a number of factors, but is commonly broken down into the website’s ease of use, speed, and customization to the target audience.
With limited resources, skills, and knowledge in comparison to larger companies, small businesses fall behind in engaging customers online. In fact, a 2016 survey by Espresso Digital found that 97% of small business websites are ineffective and need an update or complete redesign to the user experience.
So, what does it take to create an effective small business website with a dynamic user experience? These 7 factors can transform your website from a relic of the past into a sleek, effective marketing tool.
- Keep it clean
- A website that is free from popup advertisements, flashy text, and an overwhelming home page is more likely to be viewed by customers and clients
- Most website visitors will spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website, but that number increases by 20% when whitespace is appropriately used in the design (biz2credit.com, 2017)
- Speed it up
- Your website should fully load in a few seconds, even if you’re using a secure website format (HTTPS).
- Implement a content delivery network or CDN for content management and fast delivery globally
- Consider using page level content caching to allow your site to load faster for repeat visitors
- Make it fresh
- Your website is often the first impression a customer or client will have of your business, make sure the information they see is current
- Nearly 25% of small business websites are updated less than once a year (Espresso Digital, 2016)
- To keep visitors coming back to your page time and time again, continuously add new content via blogs, photos, videos, and information
- When asking for information, keep it simple
- Your website is an easy way to build up a customer or client database and email list. Find simple ways to engage your target audience
- When asking for information from visitors, cut down on the number of fields you ask for to prevent customers and clients from leaving your website, keep it contained to the information you absolutely need
- Keep mobile in mind
- Globally, mobile has taken over digital consumption, with 71% of all digital minutes being on a mobile device (Smart Insights, 2017)
- Make sure your website doesn’t alienate most of the world’s population by making it mobile friendly, with responsive design and fast loading times
- Don’t drop the call
- Calls to action are fundamental to websites, as businesses want to highlight their best features and prove their worth
- Make sure visitors to your website know what you want them to get from each page of your website, be that reading testimonial or case study, requesting more information or a quote, signing up for a newsletter, or directing them to more products or services
- It is best to keep calls to action at one or two per page and not inundate visitors with tasks
- Make it repeatable
- An excellent user experience will make customers and clients want to return to your website over and over
- Ensure your website is easy to navigate, provides clear and concise information, and has content relevant to your target audience
- User experience design gives your business the ability to increase repeatable traffic with your customers and clients by making the user and their experience a priority, while providing instant feedback about how they interact with your website. Great UX design provides excellent return on investment, as marketing audiences go from locals to international clients and customers; increased digital sales save time and labor; and your business will be able to track and analyze marketing and business effectiveness from the website.
Archetype SC’s UX design team can help your business take the next step to optimizing your website and making it into an experience your customers and clients will enjoy.