Having a website is one thing, but having an effective website is another matter altogether. MYRON SALANT, web services product manager at Webafrica, outlines five top features that visitors expect from your website.
1. Page speed/loading time
A slow-loading website and slow-loading pages are some of the greatest detractors to your site and will harm your conversion rate before you start. Visitors don’t have time to hang around waiting for your website to load. The simplest thing for them to do is click the back button and go to your nearest competitor’s site even if they are below you in search rankings. By minimising your load time by just a second you can increase your conversions, boost your reputation and increase your page ranking.
2. Website design/call to actions
The next thing that grabs the attention of the visitor is the layout and web design. If your website does not look professional, has pop-ups all over the place or seems to be somewhat complicated to navigate, it will deter even the most loyal customers.
When visitors visit your website they expect it to:
- Organised: It should provide users with a quick and clear understanding of what the site is about. It should display all of your most important selling points and it should guide the users with easy to see calls to action. Remember, direct visitors where YOU want them to go.
- Easy to navigate: A navigable website is the essence of creating a well-organised and user-friendly website. Your website should allow visitors to explore further, while still being able to find their way back to where they started. An easy-to-navigate website will keep your visitors there longer and increase the chance for conversion.
- Offer value: If your users come to your site for your product or service, then make sure you deliver. Craft your website around those products and services and present them in a way that the user knows exactly what you are offering. Most times visitors search for specific topics and keywords, so if you have specific topics make sure the relevant information is there.
3. Self-shot images
The use of stock images on websites, gives it a somewhat more ‘professional’ look, but that is not a true reflection of YOU or YOUR business. When visitors land on your website, they want to see the people behind the brand. By revealing yourself and your business you build rapport that will result in lasting relationships. Another significant aspect of self-managed photography is that it shows willingness to go the extra mile, which to a potential customer is GOLD!
4. Images over content
It is sometimes hard to find the balance between content and images. But it has been proven that people prefer image-heavy websites over content-heavy websites. It is not always possible when you have intricate products or services, but the use of diagrams and infographics can be beneficial. These image-heavy tools convey complex products in simple ways, offering enough space and area for text. We are not saying ditch content completely, because at the end of the day content is key when it comes to website ranking and for those Google bots to pick out keywords. The key is to find the balance.
Visitors expect a guided user-friendly experience, while still being in control of their experience. This means creating a website that does not force users to go to certain pages, does not have pop-ups, auto-play videos or links that activate when hovered over, does not direct and redirect your visitor to various pages, does not expose them to more of your brand or tell them more about your business. These things actually cause visitors to leave because they come looking for specific information, and only if you have their attention will they navigate further. Visitors seldom mind advertising and videos on your websites if they are not placed in the middle of your page where your important content is. Somewhere towards the side is usually the ideal place, because there it will be caught in the visitor’s peripheral vision and he/she will have the option to click and view.
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