Welcome to part 2 of our website planning checklists. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 of our website must do’s before starting digital marketing or SEO then we’d suggest that you do that first, but once you’re all up to date it’s time for us to get into the onsite planning part of things!
To kick things off we should say that this is by no means a design or development blog or an exhaustive list, but rather a rundown of what we think are 5 noteworthy and often overlooked elements of website planning based on what we’ve come across in our dealings with some clients. Often we’re actioning a lot of this stuff after the fact (after the website has already gone live), which means that at least some opportunities have most definitely been missed in the meantime. So to help a few of you to avoid such pitfalls, here are 5 of our choices for “must consider” items when you’re getting a new website or a redesign together for your business.
1) User Navigation
This should seem obvious to most, however we’ve seen a fair few websites where a lack of foresight in this regard has derailed the user experience. Things like an incorrect choice of template that was considered primarily for monetary reasons without user experience being taken into account (the templates often lock you in to certain functionalities), to the use of “buzzwords” as menu items rather than practical terminology that enhances a user’s ease of navigation, pages with insufficient information, unintuitive categorisation of products and services, to pages that you’d barely know existed if you didn’t know beforehand how to navigate to them and the list goes on. So be sure that from the very beginning stages of your website planning that user experience remains front and centre.
2) Calls to Action
Human beings are funny creatures psychologically. You might think that just having great information that answers any potential questions they might have would be enough for them to want to find your contact form and start doing business, but they often need more coaxing than that. It might sound infantile, but the right colours, shapes and enticing phrases can make all the difference to your website’s conversion rates. Here are a few important ones to remember:
a) Whether it’s in the main menu or appearing via a button, the “contact us” page should always be visible above the fold (which is the visible part of any page on the website before scrolling down). This ensures that no matter where they land, they can immediately rest assured that they’ll be able to get in touch should the rest of the information they encounter have them decide that they’d like to.
b) The language of the text on any given page should never forget to invite users to contact you. While it’s definitely important to think about the informational goals of each and every page on your website, be sure not to forget that the goal connecting all of those pages is to inspire them to buy a product, hire a service, perform an onsite function or get in touch! Once you feel like the onsite content has made the point that you want it to make and that it will have them ready to do business, insert a call to action!
c) Never underestimate the power of a good button to help an offer or important note or website function stand out. You might want to draw attention to your specials, your online booking functionality, a contact form or just something you’d really like them to know. Hiding important functions like this in the main menu or modules/sections that you can only find by scrolling down the page is passing up prime opportunities to help conversions along. Think long and hard about anything that you might need to draw extra special attention to. It might not always be the case that you will, but you’ll be glad that you at least gave it some thought.
Forms should be simple and to the point. This is the part where you’ve already won them over (or at the very least have no reason left to impress them if they’re taking this action) and people dislike filling out too much information online. So get their name, email, phone number, whatever other info specific to your business that you need from them and leave them a comments section for anything miscellaneous. They’ll appreciate the ease of contact. You’ll also want to make sure that they stand out rather than camouflaging into the background as it’s yet another call to action/reminder of how easy it is to get in touch.
4) Telephone Links
Do not miss the opportunity to make it easy for your customers to call you! Ensure that all telephone numbers onsite are set up as links so that they can be used for their intended purpose. Requiring someone to copy and paste the number or memorise it for use in another app or at another time will dramatically decrease conversion rates and ensure that any other work you’ve put into being useful and available goes to waste. These links are also trackable via Google Analytics so that you can get even more data around conversion rates rather than just tracking online interactions.
5) Email links
Something too many businesses still practice is email “links” in that when you click on a contact email, that link tries to open up an app or a new tab or install an email client (program) if you don’t have one. This is a hopelessly frustrating process for users and something that very few end up completing. Unless it’s absolutely essential that you list contact emails in writing (although even then they don’t necessarily have to be links) then you should use forms wherever possible for ease of user experience and to stay in control of which emails go to whom.
Well that’s it from us today. If you think we’ve missed anything super important then please feel free to leave a comment below. If you have any questions, would like us to elaborate or would generally like to explore your digital marketing options in and around Brisbane or the greater region then please feel free to get in touch!