When you launch or relaunch your business’ website, there’s an understandable temptation to make it all-singing and all-dancing. There’s so much that you want to tell your customers, and you want to do it in as stylish and attractive a way as possible.
That might mean sophisticated animations, introductory videos, customer testimonials and all the exciting product information that you have to hand.
What we’ve seen happen as a result of that far too often is that new websites become cluttered and confusing to negotiate. You’re shouting about so many things at once that no individual message resonates with your visitors; they’re simply overwhelmed with noise.
The last thing you want for your business is to have your website end up on a ‘worst designed’ list, so in this modern and loud era of web design, it’s time to take a step back and focus on clarity instead. Here are the reasons why.
Busy websites take longer to load
The more content you have on your page, the longer it will take to load. Having an attractive banner or a high-resolution image occupying your homepage is great for the aesthetic, but bad for the loading time.
That isn’t good news for you when it comes to your potential visitors, who now expect things to happen almost immediately.
In the 1990s, with dial-up connections, it wasn’t uncommon for even the most basic page to take 30 seconds or more to load completely. That would be totally unacceptable now. Research has indicated that up to 40% of casual browsers will leave your page if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds.
That rules out almost all video content, as well as bandwidth-heavy animations. Even banner adverts could add to the problem. Take them all away, and instead, make the most of the things that will load quickly.
Unclear purposes lead to unclear customers
What is it that your business does, and how is that represented on the first page of your website? There’s an increasing trend to use ‘marketing speak,’ and artistic visual styles. Looking great is one thing, but having an ultra-stylish logo and branding on your homepage isn’t particularly important if you’re a plumber.
An effective homepage should immediately answer three questions for its visitors; where are they, what are they able to do on your website, and why should they do it?
They won’t be able to do that if they can’t pick out the important details. As an example, UK mobile slots websites are invariably good at this. They operate within a very crowded market and are in direct competition with hundreds of other sites offering the same service.
Their visitors want to find their way to playing slot games as quickly as possible, and if they can’t, they’ll go somewhere else. You won’t find a slot games website wasting time on sloganeering or distractions; the slots will be on the first page visitors arrive on, along with a clearly visible route to playing them.
Think about what your visitors are actually looking for when they arrive on your site. Forget about what you want to tell them, what do they want to know? Is it right in front of their eyes? Is there a clear way for them to obtain it? If not, it’s time to think again about your design.
We can’t read images
Images are great at illustrating a purpose, but not providing it. The written content of your website is almost certainly the most important aspect of the site, but too often we hide it all away on pages other than the landing page.
Because we’re looking to ‘wow’ our audience, we sometimes opt for a design that’s heavy on images, with single-word clickable links to take our visitors through to find the information that they came looking for. Some of them may not bother.
What’s the first thing you do when you’re considering making a major purchase, book a hotel, or do just about anything significant involving money?
You read about it. You read reviews, product information, competitor information, technical specifications and whatever else might be relevant.
When a potential customer arrives on your website, they want to read all about you, and what you do. It’s in your interests to make it as easy as possible for them to do that. That means being concise and clear on your homepage, and keeping your links for further information.
Too many pages create confusion
How many times have you arrived at a website only to be confronted by multiple category links across the top of the page, with further categories appearing on a drop-down menu when you hover over them?
It’s frustrating, and it means you have to spend time sifting through the links to find the information you want. For some people, if they don’t immediately see what they want they’ll just log off and go and find it somewhere else.
Think about the information that you either already have or want to have on your website.
How much of it could be grouped together as opposed to having multiple pages? Does your ‘About Us’ and ‘Meet The Team’ information really have to be on separate pages? Does ‘Contact Us’ merit a page in its own right?
A good website should contain no more than four or five pages at most. It doesn’t matter if the pages are long, so long as all the information is in the right place, and easy for your visitors to find.
People know what stock photos look like
Stock photos are the curse of the digital media age. People can identify them easily, and they’re put off by them because they know they’re not a representation of reality.
Even the people who appear in them don’t like them! They represent an idealized version of what you’re selling, come across as sales aids, and take away from your uniqueness as a company. There are no good reasons to use them.
Consider whether multiple stock photos of people with suits round a table or a mother with a child in the sunshine are actually telling people anything about your company or your product, or if they’re just taking up space and adding to the loading time of your website.
If you want to use images, keep it down to one or two, and have them be photos of your real office or your real self. People are attracted to reality, and they’re smart enough to know when they see it.
These are small changes you can make, which could have a big impact on the effectiveness of your website as a communication tool. Make the time to both speed-check and sense-check your website. Spring is in the air now, so it’s the perfect time for a little cyber spring-cleaning!