Your website is the key to online business. You’ve gone to great lengths, and probably no small expense, to outline all of your services, your price structure, and even provide a shopping cart, if you are a retailer. You’ve found a payment gateway to process online payments, and you are ready to take orders. But, the orders have slowed down.
Your ranking on the search engines is determined, in part, by how many click-throughs you get on your site. The amount of time people spend on each page, and whether or not they go from one page to another is also recorded, and figures in to your ranking. What can you do to keep users interested in your website?
Design and Function
Design and function are key in keeping people engaged on your website. If you have a lot of Flash, you may actually drive people away.
- Keep it simple. While some products or services may benefit from a dramatic, active website, most retailers and service providers will not benefit from a website that is too busy. Remember, the more stuff you have flashing, moving, and making noise on your website, the slower it will take to download. Most people looking to spend money don’t want slow downloading.
- Make it readable. Your text and background should contrast enough to be legible. You can use colors other than black and white for your text, but just remember that if the visitor’s eyes get tired, he’ll quit reading. You want them on the page as long as possible.
- Make it navigable. There are website designs that are almost an interactive challenge, with floating tabs, and links that fade in and out. This might be fun for someone bored at work, but if you are trying to sell a product, you don’t need to play games with the prospective customer. The customer shouldn’t have to guess where the shopping cart icon will pop-up next time on your screen, and certainly shouldn’t have to stress over whether or not he can click it before it fades out again.
- Make it businesslike. The only time you should use a butterfly as a cursor is if you run a butterfly sanctuary. If you want to convey a sense of beauty, you can do it with design and color. If you want a sense of nature, do it with design and color. Don’t make your website look like a third grader’s Lisa Frank binder exploded on your website.
- Provide widgets. You can find widgets just about anywhere online, and they can add some punch to your website. If you change them out, people will keep coming back to see what’s new.
You can also provide coupons on your website. If you are a retailer, offer a 10% discount on a particular product with the coupon printed from your website. There are other ways to get customers to follow through on your site. Check out the competition, and see what they are doing.