It’s July, and the combination of warm weather, a relaxed schedule and longer days all fuel the good vibes of summertime. But what about your website design? Is it giving off the right kind of vibes, or is it setting a chill on the customer experience?
Your website design should begin and end with the customer experience in mind. Which means you have to know who your customer is.
Start with Your Ideal Customer: Knowing who you’re marketing to is a foundational part of any marketing activity, and website design is no different. Get detailed with your target market, segmenting them into smaller groups until you can definitively create a few buyer personas.
Think about your buyer personas as people, and then define what would be important to them.
Create a Mood Board: Before you get started putting anything into your site, visit the sites your target market already frequents. Look at the look and feel of the sites. Are the colors bold and bright, or are things centered on a more mellow color scheme? How is white space being used?
Look at the photos included on the sites, and notice whether they are stock images or if this is a company that populates their site with user-generated content. You can also view the websites and social media pages of your competitors to see what is trending and preferred in your industry.
As you gather this info, create a mood board that helps you begin to shape your look and feel for your site. Your design should be consistent with your brand color scheme and voice, but there are a lot of decisions you can make to create good vibes on your site, like how much text you place versus white space, or how images and video play a role.
Ease of Use: Nothing kills a good vibe like a website that won’t load quickly, or that is so poorly set up that a user has to go back to Google to find the specific info on your site that isn’t clearly findable on your menu options.
It doesn’t take but a minute or two for a visitor to leave a site that’s inconvenient to navigate, so do plenty of testing to see how a video might be slowing down your load time or whether you need to more clearly organize your menus. You’re shooting for frictionless navigation.
In addition, think about how your branding and messaging are communicated to your visitors because they’re making a decision about your credibility within seconds.
And when it comes to your content selection, is it presented in a way that’s approachable, or does it carry a feeling of being flooded with information?
Mobile Optimization: Mobile browsing has outpaced desktop Internet use for the past five years, and it’s not going back. If your site is hard to view on a smartphone or tablet, or if a person has to scroll right and left to read the line of text, they’re not going to bother with your company.
Think about the places tend to be when you browse online. It’s not your desk at home anymore, is it? It’s the grocery store line, the waiting room at the dentist, that ten-minute period of your conference call when you can get away with only pretending to listen. Browsing happens everywhere, so make your site easy to use everywhere.
Snackable, Scannable Content: Is your blog one long paragraph? Or maybe you’re into video, but it’s hard to tell what each video is about.
Making your content accessible requires some thinking about how people consume content. Unless they’re making a final decision, or they are purchasing an item that’s an especially big investment, they’re more likely to scan your content.
That’s why your blog needs bullet points, your video needs to be short and your emails should give them valuable information right from the start.
Make your content easy for people to do a fly-by, not camp out. They are looking for quick hits of information that’s valuable to them, and when they see a bullet point that offers details about the specific subject they’re researching, they’ll stop and read.
Keep That Vibe Going: You’re never finished with website design. While this news might cause a range of reactions between a heavy sigh and throwing your laptop across the room, don’t despair. Once you get going, it’s more about maintenance and revisions.
You’ll need to invest a little time in website analytics to see where on your site your visitors are bouncing and where they tend to stick. Use Google Analytics to learn more about how your visitors arrive: is it all traceable to Facebook or are your emails so engaging that they click right through to your site?
Be sure to engage in some A/B testing, setting up two versions of a landing page or a product page to see how they perform. Apply this technique to your distribution, too, to see how a change in an email subject line might deliver more visitors to your site.
Getting the right vibe going on your website is no small task, but you’re not on your own. At SJC Marketing we don’t just create a vibe; it’s where we live. With our team of graphic designers, web developers and writers, you’re about to live there with us!