When you hear about a new business, product or service, what is the first thing that you do before making a purchase? If you are like 80 percent of people, you will research online through search engines, reviews, and company websites.
According to research from the Nielsen Norman Group, the average person spends a minute or less on a website. Another study found that over half or 55% of people will leave your website after just 15 seconds. Either way, it is within the first 10 seconds that people make the decision to stay or abandon a site. Businesses must convey important information and make a positive impression in a very short amount of time.
In today’s digital age, window shopping has been replaced with website browsing. Your website will form the first impression that people have with your business. It is critical that it includes the information that people expect to see and is presented in a design-friendly way that is easy to understand and navigate. We’ve helped to build a number of websites for our clients and for our own businesses. These are the top website elements that your business can’t afford to leave out:
Your “About Us” page should convey more than just what you do. A well-crafted page tells the story of your business, and what makes it unique. It can be one of the primary reasons why people connect with your brand, so it is important to dedicate enough time and thought to develop it. Some questions that can guide you in crafting an effective “About Us” page are:
1. Who are you?
2. What are your values, culture and goals?
3. Why are you different from your competitors?
4. Why should visitors support you?
A “Team” section can help to put a face to your business. Including photos and a brief bio for at least your management team adds a human element to your website. However, remember that each should convey your organization’s personality and qualifications. For example, take a look at Greatist, which produces content around healthy lifestyles and food. Their "About/Team Page" reflect their brand’s quirky, positive personality with team members posing with workout and food props.
Along with the “About Us” page, a company blog is often one of the first sections that website visitors will view to learn about you. Brands that include a blog on their website and provide consistent, high-quality content are more likely to generate sales and leads from it. In fact, B2B businesses that have blogs generate 67% more leads.
One of the reasons why businesses with blogs experience more conversions and sales is because of the SEO benefits. With a blog, websites have 434% more indexed pages and get 97% percent more inbound links.
Social Media Buttons
Researchers from the Missouri University of Science & Technology used eye tracking technology to understand what people looked for and spent the most time viewing on websites. On average, people spent just under 6 seconds looking at social media links. Considering that the average visit is usually less than a minute, it is one of the top attractions.
Also, 7 out of 10 consumers prefer businesses that are active on social media. Embedding social media links and buttons makes it easier for your community to connect with you and adds to your credibility.
Some websites with have a “Contact Us” page that is solely a form, in which people input their own contact info and a brief message. This is usually an annoyance for visitors and a mistake for companies.
At the very least, people want to see an email address that they can contact for information or customer service. However, most users want thorough contact information. A main telephone number and physical address help to foster trust and meet visitor expectations.
For websites with a large amount of content and frequent updates, a search box is imperative. For e-commerce companies, it is a necessity. A search box allows people to explore your site on their own terms and quickly find what they are looking for. Nielsen Norman Group recently studied user interaction with different e-commerce company sites. They found that users value search box navigation. However, if the internal search engine doesn’t produce relevant results on the first query, they are highly unlikely to search a second query.
Google Custom Search is a free tool that allows you to integrate an internal search function into your website, and install a search box into your homepage. The free version has basic capabilities, but businesses can upgrade for as little as $100 per year. For enterprises and larger businesses, Google Site Search has more sophisticated capabilities at higher rates.
Humans are visual creatures. We absorb and are drawn to imagery usually more than text. In fact, over 40% of people are primarily visual learners and prefer it over text. Furthermore, the brain processes information that is communicated through images 60,000 times faster than text.
Images are essential to websites, but choose them wisely. According to several eye-tracking studies, stock photos and small or low-resolution images will negatively affect how visitors view your brand. On the other hand, images that feature real people or your products add value to your website.
Each image on your website should convey details, stories or values relative to your brand instead of simply filling up space. But, make sure that the images that you use load properly and quickly. Research by Adobe found that over 39% of people abandon sites with images that fail to or are slow to load.
The content on your website is critical, but it won’t hold any value for you, your users or customers if the site itself doesn’t function properly. When it comes to website performance, there are a few qualities that people absolutely demand:
1. High-Speed - Loading time greatly impacts a website. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of people expect a site to load within 2 seconds or less, and will abandon sites that don’t meet the criteria. Conversely, companies like Walmart have found that for each millisecond they decreased their loading time, there was an increase in traffic and conversions.
2. Mobile optimization - As of December 2016, there are over 7.9 billion mobile devices worldwide. In other words, there are more mobile devices than people on Earth. People are also browsing the Internet more on mobile than desktops. If your site is not optimized for mobile usage, you are losing a large chunk of business.
3. Reliability - Downtime, outages and glitches can cost you dearly. Over 79% of consumers won’t shop on a site again if they experienced poor performance.
Your website is the central place that people go to learn more about your business. Websites are now the digital storefront of businesses. If visitors don’t like what they see or can’t easily find what they are looking for, they will leave and will likely never come back. Ensuring that you are providing the right content and that your website design and performance is up to par, is instrumental to business survival and success. Find out how 10twelve can help you build or improve your company website by contacting us today.