By Leigh Whitney, Managing Director of digital agency, Design UK.
1. Ensure that your website is focused on conversion and profitability
It takes just one second for website visitors to make a decision about a site: 'do I stay or do I go?', so it is vital that in this first second of a site opening, the user sees everything they need to keep them exploring the site.
Just a 0.1% rise in conversion rates can increase profits by millions of pounds, and if you can increase your conversion rate from one to two, you have doubled your profitability, and the success of your website.
2. Make sure your website isn't just about cutting edge design, but is also focused on the user journey
The perfect website is no longer just about cutting edge design. A site needs to drive action, and provide journeys that will accommodate for explorers (those who are browsing), hunters (those who are looking for a certain type of product), and trackers (who know exactly what they want to purchase and are ready to spend money).
A website's ability to direct visitors to the information that they are seeking and allow them to consume that content is critical to its performance.
3. Fully engage your users
Clear signposting and clever use of typography can provide a visual indication of the content that sits behind a link or is within an area of a page, helping people find exactly what they need.
As such, the perfect website accounts for the fact that users scan web pages quickly, so typographic scent trails are needed to draw users into the content that they are seeking. Also eye-tracking technology can ensure that peoples' eyes are drawn to the most important parts of the page, helping make their journeys smoother.
4. Emulate a real-life experience
When putting a website together, you should think about how decisions are made in real life, and emulate that online.
In physical stores or visitor centres, major investments are made to create environments that improve consumer engagement, and increase the time people spend inside.
The more time someone invests in understanding products and services, the greater the chance that they will go on to make a purchase.
Online, consumer engagement is even more critical than offline, as the ability to touch and feel has been denied, and we are more reliant on the written and visual world.
The perfect website copy will therefore be engaging and succinct, while photography must be clear, large and abundant, with alternate and detail shots available.
5. Take advantage of rich media
The addition of rich media content such as flash video or embedded podcasts can really make a site engaging for visitors, meaning they stay on the site for longer and view more product or information pages per session.
This directly translates into more profit from the website. In addition, if a user enjoys their experience on a website they are likely to return, and getting people to come back and view your products and services is the sign of a successfully built, designed website.
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