A positive website experience leads to better conversion rates. Unfortunately, lots of businesses focus only on a nice web design. Your website’s design is like delicious food at a restaurant.
You may love the cuisine at a restaurant, but many factors play into having a good “restaurant experience,” including the location, the quality of the service, and the pricing, to name a few. The user experience on your website is very similar.
If you want a website that converts well, then you need to consider much more than just the design.
Offer Some Good Comfort Food
On the hierarchy of human needs, safety trumps everything else. If a restaurant has a “D” rating, it doesn’t matter how tasty their soup is; you’ll probably take a pass. On the flip side, if a chef has tons of five-star reviews, diners will be confident in what they’re getting.
With your website, it’s important to establish a baseline of credibility. Trust symbols like an SSL certificate are important. Invest in security & maintenance to protect your website against hacking & malware. There’s no faster way to scare away web visitors than with a security warning.
Any business can claim to be “the best” but giving actual, impartial evidence is what engenders confidence. Some excellent ways to build trust include displaying award logos, reviews or testimonials. Anything visual is particularly powerful. Make sure these are prominently displayed, especially on the home page, which is often a user’s first point of contact.
The Risk of “Too Much on the Menu”
Think about being confronted with a 15-page menu at a restaurant; you don’t even know where to start. What’s more, you don’t have a clear sense of the restaurant’s specialty, and in today’s world, defining your brand clearly and succinctly is everything.
On your website, keep it simple, and steer clear of “visual bullying” like distracting animations, automatic audio or pop-ups. Like an overeager wait staff who won’t leave you alone, too many distractions will only annoy visitors.
Make it Easy as Pie
With so many people accessing the web via their phones today, a mobile-friendly site is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Much like a restaurant that takes an hour to get seated or has an inattentive wait staff, web users have a low tolerance for sites that aren’t mobile responsive and don’t load quickly, and many will leave such a site immediately. Ensure that your site is compatible with and easily viewed on a variety of devices and software.
Also, while a simpler, cleaner look and functionality are the hallmark of mobile optimization, we are seeing carryover into desktop users desiring this in their website experience. Ask your web designer to take a “mobile-first design” approach, considering how the content, design and functionality will be laid out for mobile at the outset.
Create That Perfect Ambiance
Never underestimate the power of emotion. It influences even the most mundane decisions, often on an unconscious level. In a restaurant, the best meal can be ruined by an environment that is too loud or crowded, or by a waitstaff that isn’t friendly.
Consider the overall tone of your site—from visuals to layout to text. Does everything align with the tone of your brand and your target demographic? For instance, do they desire the feel of a “quiet, intimate meal” or a “night-on-the-town?”
The pages and content should also be constructed in a way that gently entices the visitor to take the next step. The more you can serve your offerings in bite-sized pieces, the better they’ll be digested.
Catering to Every Need
For a restaurant, location is everything and the success of a new restaurant can really depend on whether the demographics and needs of customers in that area fit with the restaurant’s service and offerings. Even if the food is pretty good, you probably won’t drive to a restaurant 45 minutes from your home every weekend.
On your website, the same idea applies. You need to match your website messaging and services to your audience. It’s also essential to design a simple, user-friendly navigation so that different visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. Not every visitor to your website will be ready to buy or speak to you immediately.
By the stages of your customer journey, you’ll create better engagement on the site. Every customer just wants their needs to be catered.
Food for Thought
Just like the dining experience at a restaurant is critical to its ultimate success, your website’s performance depends on creating a secure and engaging ambiance, offering a simple and clear menu of services, and optimizing everything for all functionality and devices.
While taking the time to create this positive user experience might seem like extra work or another expense, it’s actually a lucrative investment. In multiple studies, positive user experience translates into higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Now, that’s definitely some food for thought.