If your business has a website, you face a monumental challenge. When a new customer visits your site, you have less than a minute to convince that customer to stay. Fifty-five percent of those visitors will leave less than 15 seconds after arriving. This puts the burden on your business to convince those customers to stick around.
“With attention spans seeming to get shorter every year, site design has to be more compelling than ever,” says Tomas Gorny, CEO of business communications provider Nextiva. “If you aren’t designing your websites to captivate potential customers, your competition probably is.”
However, with so much competition, you may find it difficult to find ways to get customers to stay. There are a few standard things that can make a business stand out, but the true test will be to know your own customers and realize which of these things are most likely to engage your demographic. Here are a few things that might help you get started.
Make It Immediate
Experts recommend that site designers focus on evergreen content because a blog post that isn’t time-sensitive can satisfy readers for many years. However, timely content draws customers in, prompting them to read immediately. After analyzing the amount of time consumers spent on a page, web analytics firm Chartbeat found that the articles on a page that were most likely to get clicks were news items. For businesses, posting timely information relevant to their industry on the main page may be a way to convince customers to read, rather than click the back button.
The shrinking attention span has been good news for video, which has become a central part of content marketing strategies in recent years. By posting at least one explainer video on your landing page, you may be able to keep a customer around to learn more about your business. For best results, keep it short and interesting to watch, limiting your content to only high-level details. Research shows most view videos for less than 30 seconds, so make those first 30 seconds count.
Make It Eye Pleasing
Obviously, the goal of any site is to make it as visually appealing as possible. However, in doing so, it’s important to know what scares customers away. If a visitor sees large blocks of small text with little white space, they immediately view it as a great deal of work to get to the information they need to see. Large, easy-to-read fonts with extra white space and images will get the best results.
Focus on Navigability
People who visit your site usually come looking for information. Either they’ve heard about your business or a search engine referred them based on keywords. Determine the most common search terms for your industry and make sure customers who enter those words can find the information they need within seconds of landing on your website. If not, they’ll likely go back to the referring page and click on the next result.
Simply tossing content onto your site and hoping it works will lead to disappointing results. Instead, carefully strategize your layout and make sure everything you do conveys your brand messaging. This goes beyond the words on the page and includes the colors you use and the images you place. When a customer visits your site, that person should instantly get a feel for your brand based on the design of your page.
Use Tracking Tools
With so many analytics solutions on the market, businesses have access to information on everything customers are doing from the time they hit the landing page until the time they leave. Heatmap tools can show businesses activities like mouse movements, clicks, and how far down a page customers scroll. This information is vital for uncovering flaws in the design of your pages, helping you improve your strategy. You’ll also learn at what point customers leave your site, as well as any search terms they use to try to find the information they need.
A business’s website serves as a chance to give potential customers information. If done correctly, it could lead to increased sales and brand awareness. But a poorly designed site can send customers straight to a competitor’s site, where they may choose to purchase from them instead. By understanding what works and why it works, you can create a website that wins customers.
About the Author: Dan Steiner is a technology entrepreneur, author, and marketing consultant. He is currently serves as CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., while also running Avila Web Firm, a web design and internet marketing agency based out of San Luis Obispo, California. Additionally, he is as an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout region. Get more from Dan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.