The internet is a busy place and your clients are busy people – making a website that is streamlined, clutter free and intuitive to use is one of the most effective ways to stand out online.
When you build a website yourself, or add to a website over months and years it can become cluttered with unnecessary information including expired information and seasonal details. This gives your clients a lot to wade through before they can arrive at what they need – by which point there is every chance they will have left the site altogether.
Let’s take a look through some ways to ensure that your website is streamlined and easy to use for your clients, turning visitors into sales.
Marie Kondo-ing isn’t just for clothes and possessions – give your website a good clearout by evaluating every photo, image and piece of content. It is incredibly hard sometimes to be objective about the content you have created for your site – maybe it took a long time to put together, maybe it was very expensive to hire someone to get it designed – maybe it’s hugely important to you on a personal level that the back story of your business is told in detail from it’s inception. Absolutely, a certain amount of information can keep a client on the site and provide a richer experience, showing more depth to your brand and allowing your clients to see you on a more personal level – that said, it is also vitally important to respect your client’s time and make it very clear to them that you respect your own time (and that you’re busy running your business in a way that benefits them directly). There is a balance here – you need just enough depth to sell your brand to clients without so much that it puts them off choosing you.
Take a look at each item on your site. Is it relevant? Is it on-brand? What does it contribute to the site and your overall image? Is it well designed and easy for clients to use? What will happen if you leave it out? Is there an easier way to put across the same information? Is it easy to update if needed? Will it lead ultimately to a sale?
Sketch out your site so that the most important information is front and centre for clients to see the minute they join you. Keep a note of any information that is seasonal or needs updating and of where to find that information so that site updates can be done quickly and easily, and consider adding date-specific information as blog or social media posts where they can be linked to from the site without any need to update the main pages. That way, you can keep what makes your site and brand feel personal without creating yourself a beast of information that needs regular monitoring.
Consider adding date-specific information as blog or social media posts where they can be linked to from the site without any need to update the main pages of the site.
Take time to check through your photos – are they all good quality? Do they all represent your brand well? Do they look like they belong together, or have they been added over years? Take out any old or poor quality images.
A homemade website is easy to spot thanks to the layout. The way you use fonts, colours and spacing will add to a feeling of clutter or clarity – imagine the feeling you get when you enter a room that feels clear, bright, airy, tidy and inviting: that’s the feeling we want your clients to feel when they join your site. Don’t be afraid of negative space (gaps between content) and use the same spacing throughout the space. Ensure that everything is visible and aligned beautifully so that it feels ordered and well thought out – all of this attention to detail will help your client to access the site more easily.
It helps to think through the order everything has been placed in throughout the site – have you shared all you need to put across in a logical order? Does a client know what they need to do next in order to work with you? Think of it as setting out stepping stones to guide your client through your site, emphasising:
- Relevance: Make it clear who your service caters to, tell your client exactly what you sell and at what price so they know whether your business is the right one for them;
2. Quality: Why should your client choose you over everything else? What makes your product or service unique? What do your current clients say about your product? What guarantees do you offer?
3. Next Steps: How do clients work with you? What do they need to do next?
Use of branding (colours, fonts, logos and image design) will make your brand stand out across the web and beyond, and that familiarity and sense of recognition that clients feel when they visit your website via your social media will help clients settle into your website quickly and trust you as a brand.
The style in which you write your content should feel uniform across social media, your website, your communications and in person – it makes up an important part of your business, particularly if you are the face of the brand. Think carefully about your writing style and encourage anyone who writes on your behalf to adopt your writing style. Clients will quickly tune in to the way you write and it will again give that sense of familiarity that makes it easier to read through a website. It goes without saying that spelling and grammar should be well-checked to ensure your copy is easy to read.
Think carefully about your use of menus, links and buttons. If we take the example of a swim school, there are two main times a client will use your site: when they are choosing a swim school in which to enrol themselves or their children; and when they need information (term dates or a venue address). Their initial look around your website is likely to be in their own time and at a comfortable pace, whereas a mad dash to check the postcode for the pool to give to grandparents so they can collect your children from swimming in an emergency could be a much quicker job. You want clients to be able to click on any information that will be needed in a hurry from your main menu and to be taken straight to the information – everything needs to be right at their fingertips, so think carefully about how you use your menus and submenus and make sure you display practical information in an easy to read, easy to find way.
Likewise, all links should work well, and any buttons should be clear and easy to follow, making sure clients know exactly what to do next at each stage.
Over 50% of all web browsing takes place on smartphones, so we need to make sure that your website looks brilliant on any device. All aspects of the site should be visible, all forms should work beautifully and buttons should be easy to find, regardless of the device.
All websites can easily grow and become complicated if they are added to without being edited over a long period of time. Think carefully about the message you want to put across to your clients and the journey you want them to take through your site to create a coherent and professional image for your brand.