Easy website solutions to gain more customers

Does your website allow visitors to quickly find what they want – and to buy it?

Does your website allow visitors to quickly find what they want – and to buy it? If your site is slow and hard to navigate, you could be losing business.

According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), nearly 8 in 10 Canadians are online and most of them are daily users. In fact, Canadians spend an average of 45 hours a month online – more than any other nation.

Small businesses simply can’t afford to ignore these lucrative online opportunities. So how can you improve your website to attract more visitors, and turn more of them into customers?

Enhance your site’s navigation

Moving around your website should be easy – naturally leading visitors to take desired actions, like:

  • Placing an order.
  • Requesting more information.
  • Clicking to speak to someone.

“Your most important navigation tabs should be closer to the left in a horizontal navigation orientation, or closer to the top left in a vertical layout,” suggests Paul Chato, President of website development company, Your Web Department. “Make sure you think through the order of navigation tabs – for example, a consultant might place the ‘About Us’ tab earlier in the sequence.”

Chato says secondary or less important tabs can be relegated to footers.

Improve load speed

Forget about fancy animation like Flash – the name of the game is speed. Visitors get impatient with slow-loading pages and images that make them want to click away. The objective is to find a balance between design aesthetic and load speed.

Chato offers a really simple recommendation to help speed things up.

“Trim the size of your photographs because large images really slow down load speeds,” he says. “Use free online cropping tools to properly size your photographs and improve download speed – image sizes below 75KB will usually do the trick.”

Stay above the ‘fold’

Like a newspaper, visitors to your website may only see the top half of the page unless they scroll down. The ‘fold’ is the bottom of the screen, and anything above it is valuable real estate.

Your key messages have to appear above the fold – otherwise you risk people missing them. Some important details you should place above the fold, include:

  • An important offer or discounted special.
  • A call to action.
  • The main navigation bar for the site.
  • Your logo and company message.

Let people scroll down for details and other less important information.

Chato recommends doing what you can to make the site actionable, meaning clearly communicating the next step you want visitors to take – such as downloading a free sample or ordering a product.

He offers other tips, too. “Try to keep graphics clean and simple,” encourages Chato. “Use short videos to communicate brand points instead of pages of text. Use only professional images for blogs and newsletters which are available from any number of photo licensing sites.”

Have a clear ‘call to action’

You need to focus on getting potential customers to the pages they’re looking for, once they arrive on your website. If your site is too flashy and creates confusion about where to go next, users will first get lost, then frustrated – eventually leaving your business to look for a simpler alternative.

Have a clear ‘call to action’ that doesn’t leave users searching for a needle in a haystack.

Remember mobile users

Many businesses have complex designs that do work well, but they still dull down their mobile or tablet offerings. The reasons for this include:

  • Faster upload speeds for the user.
  • Ease of use on smaller screen sizes.
  • Increasing font sizes to make content and links easier to read.
  • Compacting the site so users can only scroll up and down (eliminating the need to scroll left and right).

Keep your site’s content up-to-date

Web users expect each site they visit to have content that’s current and relevant. Your site should contain the latest information on your goods or services, and your business as a whole. If your website isn’t up-to-date, it can leave potential customers thinking your business isn’t operating any longer.

Worse, consumers may even assume your business just isn’t innovative and is lagging behind the competition. They may also have questions about whether they can trust your business if its website is blatantly out-of-date.

If you have a blog on your site about new offerings, updating it at least once a week is crucial. No one likes to visit a website with their heart set on an item they think they’ve found, only to be informed that it’s out-of-stock.

Stay on top of the game

Pay attention to what customers want from your website, embrace strategies to attract their attention – and once they arrive, make their online visit enjoyable and efficient.

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