These days, its more crucial than ever to make a good first impression online. If your website is hard to navigate or just boring to look at, you’re probably not going to get many repeat visitors. Winston Binch, partner managing director of interactive at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Scott Prindle, VP executive creative technology director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, share their ideas for getting the most out of websites.
You only have a few seconds to engage visitors. Clever visual design and animation will never do it alone. You also need to harness the power of simple language. Facebook’s homepage, for instance, declares: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” What could be clearer than that?
The Internet is cluttered with bad websites. Make yours one of the most usable, and you’ll form lasting relationships with your customers. It's crucial you have both information architects and technical developers front and center of the creative development process. They'll make sure you have quick download times, intuitive and easy-to-use site navigation, and a quick way for visitors to share your site with their friends or colleagues.
If your site is not search engine optimized, you’re cutting off almost all possibility for organic traffic or chance encounters with your brand. So make sure you’ve generated a site map, and that your title tags, heading titles, and site description get filled out. If your budget allows, get an SEO consultant to do an audit of your site; you should always be looking at ways to improve your search ranking.
Get rid of the jargon and the stock photos. Learn to be yourself online and to connect with your customers. Zappos, for example, doesn’t use the Web just to sell shoes, it also uses it to foster a culture of innovation and exceptional customer service. And make sure to use Twitter and Facebook to be in constant contact with your customers.
Not too long ago, a mobile site was a nice-to-have add on. That's no longer the case. Your company needs to be there. Create designs for three screen sizes: PC, smart phone, and the basic (or WAP) phone. Once you’ve covered the basics, monitor your site metrics, and if you have a growing and engaged mobile audience, think about getting into the application game.
Your website redesign should never be over. Make sure you identify clear and realistic brand and business goals for your site so that you have numbers to optimize against after you go live. You can use Google analytics, for free, or pay services such as Omniture or WebTrends. Once you’ve confirmed that your tags are working, pull weekly reports and start looking critically at how people are using your site. Be relentless in your pursuit of delivering an optimal user experience.