#’Cos we are living in a
material digital world and I am a digital girl.
(*Humms, Madonna’s Material Girl)
I’ve been making websites since about 2009. Things have changed SO MUCH in that time.
But do people still care about websites? I’d say… no!
We’re on websites multiple times a day. So much so that we’re not really even thinking
“I’m on a website right now”.
More likely, we’re researching, gathering info’ or trying to find support or entertainment. The thing is, that it’s not about the website itself it’s about the experience. And done well, the experience provides enough of an emotional response that the site visitor takes action – makes a booking or a purchase or subscribes to view exclusive content to continue that experience.
As business owners, we tend to over-complicate things. We make site visitors work really hard while we should be making an effort to ‘reduce friction’. The geeky term here is UX or “user experience”. It’s the strategy behind the visual design, the content and ease of use. (Don’t worry I’m not going deeper on techie terms here.)
Just to say that if your visitors are thinking about your site, it probably means they’re not focussing on the work you might do together. If they’re thinking about the site itself, it’s probably because there’s a problem.
To really nail it with your user experience, make sure you have these 3 things:
Crystal clear messaging
If they don’t know how you can help them, they’re very likely to leave quite soon without taking action.
- Make sure your home page hero section (the top bit before the scroll) states clearly what you do, who you help and why they should care.
- Make sure your services are clearly described in terms of benefits (not just features like how long it takes and what tools you use)
- Make sure you use language that your ideal client understands
- It’s NOT ABOUT YOU! If your site reads like a CV your site visitor isn’t going to stick around. Be sure to position your experience and qualifications in context of how you help them to solve your problem.
- Proof: There are probably thousands of sites out there targeting the same clients as you. How can you prove that you’re trust-worthy? Social proof! But not just data. Can you tell stories of how you’ve helped others just like them? Testimonials, reviews or case studies? Make sure they’re relevant and compelling to read. If possible make them visually stimulating.
(Related post: How to talk to people about what you do)
Reduce friction, create flow
The flow of a website should be designed to guide users towards the action you need them to take. Consider:
- Make sure everything is TOTALLY readable!!! (no blocks of text on top of detailed images, or overly decorative fonts for important information)
- The order in which information is presented is important- Start with “Why should I care” through to “Would this work for me”.
- The placement and phrasing of of calls to action should make sense to their overall experience.
- Navigation – consider how they move through the site so that they don’t have to think about it or search too long.
- Try to avoid big blocks of text. Break up big concepts visually with good typography, images, icons or videos.
- Make sure it all loads properly and quickly on all devices, desktop to tablet to mobile.
I cringe saying vibes. I’m much too close to middle age to use it. BUT HERE WE ARE! You’re probably sick of people harping on about the importance of your brand, so let’s zoom all the way in to creating a vibe through visual design.
This is probably the most difficult to create without strong design skills. There are lots of teeny-tiny micro-decisions to be made when it comes to visual design. Honestly, your site visitors won’t be impressed by a particular font or animation effect, but altogether the visual design creates a vibe that can support the feeling you wish to cultivate. Vibes man. (Folds arms and adjusts shades).
The vibe (Oh God I said it again) is the key to pulling together the experience for your site visitor. Some things to consider:
- Is the trend you jumped on still relevant?
- Is the visual style still current or is it looking a bit outdated?
- Does the audience you’re hoping to reach have the same taste as you or do you need to lean more towards them?
- Have you tweaked and changed a lot of parts to make it all out of whack?
- Does your site match the other touch points of your business online? (socials, features, promos)
- Does your visual style stand out against competitors or does it blend in?
I could go on and on about the vibe here, but done well, it brings the whole experience together so that the visitor is not thinking ABOUT your site, but rather feeling an experience that inspires them to take action and see you as a person they want to work with.
If you’re looking to upgrade your site to offer your visitors an experience that inspires action, check out my services here: SERVICES
Thanks for reading 🙂