In our world of technology, it can be argued that the look of a website is the single most significant factor to market sales. E-commerce is a multibillion dollar business, spending a little less than $2,000 per person annually. Likewise, most people use websites and social media to make their purchasing decisions. Having a website with the proper design elements is more than a luxury. It is a necessity that has a direct impact on your bottom line.
Know the Importance of Aesthetics
The visual appeal of a website is the most important design element of your online marketing. Customers will overlook many wrongs for a site that is pleasant on the eye. According to the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology, a theoretical model for e-commerce behavior, visual appeal on a website has a halo effect that governs other parts of buying behaviors. Clean images with good white space translate into a belief that the company has high quality products.
Don’t Make the User Angry
On the flip side of the coin, irritating a customer is a sure way of losing business. One of the common sources of irritation is in the navigation bar. Since most of your customers are coming to your site to learn about and buy your items, being able to find the information is the number one priority. When consumers cannot easily navigate the system then they become irritated. For example, tire retailer TireBuyer has many different places for click-through opportunities but most lead you to the requisite information in one click, reducing the potential for consumer ire.
Identify the Stakeholders
Many companies design their websites with the consumer in mind but do not acknowledge all of the people that may be involved in a purchase transaction. Ideally, we want a fully automated system but the reality is that there will be several people needed for some transactions. This is typical in the education world where the student is the target but educators, financial aid personnel, and administrators all need equal access as important stakeholders. When designing your website, identify every type of user, not just the customer.
Know Your Audience
The audience is somewhat different than both your consumer and your stakeholder. Not everyone is going to look at your website with a specific goal in mind. Some will do the Internet equivalent of window shopping. To capture these people, you will need great content. A good illustration of this comes from Zingerman’s which is an Internet gourmet retailer but they also present their merchandise with a story, holding a shopper’s interest as they shop. This way, they can keep a person on their site for a long period of time as they read, giving them an extra opportunity to shop the site.
Measure Your Impact
Marketing is as much about science as it is about art. The only way to know if your site has elements with customer appeal is to measure its success rate. This includes click-throughs, time on site, and overall sales, if it is an e-commerce site. There are numerous analytical tools, with Google Analytics being on the top of the list, but the best thing is to have all of the available analytics in one place. G2 Crowd lets you use a laundry list of great analytical tools to make your site the best that it can be.