What Do My Consumers Look for in My Website — and How Can I Deliver?

What do my consumers look for in my website — and how can I deliver? Getting your website right is an essential part to your online marketing activity!

There are so many schools of thought on how to create a successful website that it can seem overwhelming at times. Use keywords or don’t use keywords.

Have a singular focus or don’t have a singular focus. It’s enough to drive a designer insane. On top of that, Google constantly changes its algorithm, making what worked yesterday obsolete today.

At the end of the day, what truly matters is what the consumer wants. A high percentage of people shop online these days — 95 percent of people in the United States shop online at least once a year.

You basically have the entire adult population of America to sell to, so you want to make every second someone lands on your page count. There are some key things consumers look for in a website.

1. Speed

People care about how fast your website loads. In fact, it might be one of the top factors influencing bounce rates, because 47 percent of site visitors expect your site to load in two seconds or less.

If you hit that three second mark, about 40 percent abandon the site. Even a one-second delay can hurt your conversion rates and your bottom line.

Take the time to optimize images and check your server speed. Even small changes, such as how your site handles caching and backend coding, can impact your overall speed.

2. Navigation

About 50 percent of the people who land on your page will immediately look for your navigation structure to orient themselves. Site visitors expect to see navigation near the top of the page, either horizontal or in the sidebar.

If you place the navigation in an unusual location, you risk aggravating your site visitors. Instead, stick with the tried and true here.

Also, limit your categories. You don’t want your navigation to be three lines long or too overwhelming for the user.

Chobani’s simple navigation structure is easy to find and exactly where users might expect it to be. While the conversion funnel is focused on getting a coupon for free yogurt, the navigation helps orient the user to where different things on the site are located.

Note how limited the categories are, but that they are the things visitors are most likely to be interested in. There is also a search function for those looking for something specific.

3. Offer Live Chat

About 42 percent of consumers would rather use live chat than make a phone call, because they love the immediacy of live chat and the intuitiveness of it.

They don’t have to tell a computer what to do over and over. However, you have to make sure your live chat functions properly.

If it is only going to be staffed during business hours, indicate this on your website. Make sure anyone speaking to your customers is thoroughly trained in your policies and customer service methods. Make sure the feature works well and is fast enough to satisfy the consumer.

4. Before and After Photos

If a customer is considering purchasing something from you that will improve their body, home or some other aspect of his life, showing before and after photos gives him a good idea of the possibilities.

If you’re going to utilize a lot of photos on your site, consider promoting your before and after photos on Instagram. Over 40 billion photos have already been shared on the social media giant.

Take a look at how Clopay Doors uses before and after images on its site to show consumers what is possible with their own homes. It also shows a close-up image of a door and then shows what that door looks like on an actual home.

This allows the consumer to picture the product in use on their residence. This is a powerful visual marketing tool.

5. Looking Left

For English speakers and languages that read left to right, studies show that the user’s eye naturally goes to the top left corner of your website.

If you have information you want the reader to see, it makes sense to place that information in this location. Eye-tracking shows that website visitors only actually read about 28 percent of the content on your page. They have a tendency to scan instead.

The left side of your page will typically get more attention than the right.

6. Aesthetics

Consumers care about how beautiful a website is.

Around 66 percent state they’d rather read something with a beautiful design and don’t care for plain websites. There are a lot of elements that go into making a website beautiful, including choosing the right color palette and having a nice balance of positive and negative space.

Try to look at your site through the eyes of a first-time visitor. You can also get feedback about various page elements by doing some A/B testing.

Take a look at how beautiful and on point 4 Rivers Smokehouse’s website is laid out. When you land on the page, you see that the colors are exactly what you’d expect from a smokehouse, with browns and deep mustards and enough negative space to draw your attention to the video in the middle of the screen.

They utilise video to showcase their food. The video shows gorgeous images of meat being cooked, sliced and drizzled with sauce. It is enough to make a person hungry.

7. Responsive to Mobile

People want websites that are responsive to mobile devices. Two out of every three minutes spent online are via mobile devices, and a majority of people today own smartphones. If you aren’t already optimized for mobile or using a mobile-first design, now is the time to step up your game and figure out how to reach this broad base of online readers. The usage of smartphones to access the internet is almost certain to grow as more and more people purchase these devices and cellular networks grow faster and more efficient.

8. Timely

People want a website that is updated and not out of date. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this.

You can add fresh content regularly, for example. Another idea is to offer specials based on the current season. Of course, you can also add a scrolling social media feed and update it regularly with pertinent snippets.

The key is to look ahead and plan out a content calendar based on upcoming events and holidays.

Chipotle does a great job of updating its website to reflect the season. Note how it currently has an image of healthy choices and is pushing the ability to build a meal that suits your diet.

Since many people are dieting in the early part of the year, this is a smart and seasonal way to reach out to those who visit the site and show it’s aware of seasonal changes.

9. Contact Information

Customers have stated that it frustrates them to deal with poor-quality content and to not even see contact information listed.

If the customer has a question, she needs to know she can phone or email at a minimum and get in touch with the company. The potential customer is not likely to order if she can’t find this information.

What if she had a problem with the order or product?

There is no one to complain to or a way to find a resolution. This is a very simple fix for your website, too.

Conclusion: What Do My Consumers Look for in My Website — and How Can I Deliver?

Knowing some of the key things customers look for in a website can help you revamp your design and meet their needs.

Most of the things they look for are very commonplace.

While it is tempting to get extremely creative with your website designs, and there is a place for a bit of creativity, it is equally important that the consumer feels comfortable with the overall design and the quality of content on your site.

What do you think? Is your website doing a good job of serving your customers? Let us know in the comments below.

Lexie is a freelance graphic designer and writer. Her work’s been featured on CreativeBloq, Envato and Marketo. She manages her own design blog, Design Roast, and loves connecting with people on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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