Increasingly, digital consumers are relying upon their smartphones for easy and instant communication, research and entertainment. To better serve your existing clients, and to expand your reach, attracting new customers; your business web strategy needs to keep pace with this, and other swiftly evolving trends.
The web is always growing and changing to suit, and even to shape, the needs of consumers. Their tastes and online habits can change quickly. While some new directions may turn out to be fads; those trends which provide online users genuine and continuing value can permanently alter the way the internet is used. To help you reach your business goals, we offer you the following must-know and must-do responses to the most relevant web trends for your online presence this year.
Last year, the number of Google searches which took place on mobile devices surpassed the number of searches that took place from desktop computers. The share of mobile device online searches is 72 per cent in the Food and Beverage industry. Anticipating and watching the rapid and steady growth of smartphone use; Google has taken several steps over the past years to encourage more mobile-friendly websites (like May2015 and May 2016 insert citation). In response, many businesses have worked to create websites that were more mobile-friendly. As the shift continues exponentially, businesses must continue to adapt their websites from “mobile-friendly” to “mobile-first”. Instead of starting from a desktop website, modified to also perform well on a smartphone or tablet; the user experience, navigation, layout, and content have to be tailored specifically for mobile screens. Smartphone use is rising around the world.
Having a mobile-first website is the smart way for businesses to capitalize upon this future wave.
According to an emarkter.com report, “M-commerce is growing faster than either e-commerce or traditional retail and is transforming the way shoppers approach all three”. Gone are the days when online shopping was something you did only at home or at the office. In this digital-first world, consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to complete more and more types of tasks, including shopping, at all times of the day. According to the Pew Research Centre, an average of 70% of Canadians and Americans now own a smartphone. Apart from the growing number of smartphones, larger smartphone screens, efficient payment options and a rise in mobile-first websites are also contributing to the m-commerce trend. Businesses, including those with brick and mortar stores, can stay relevant by adopting a mobile-first strategy. Even if your customers finish the transaction in your physical store, chances are very high that their search began online, on the move.
Hyper Local Search.
According to Google, “nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location, and that number is growing”. Given the growth in “near me” searches, it’s no wonder that Google is always refining their local search capabilities. Instead of local search including only cities or towns, it can now include smaller locales like neighbourhoods, streets or even city blocks. This gives small businesses ample opportunity to reach nearby customers. Google reports that 76% of people who search on their mobile devices for something nearby visit the business within a day. Twenty-eight percent of these searches result in a purchase. As long as your business and website are fully optimized for location searches, your business can directly benefit from Google’s improved hyperlocal search algorithms.
Reviews for SEO
The trend of the degree to which quality reviews boost SEO shows no signs of slowing through 2017. Google loves reviews, both on their own platform and from reputable third party review sites like Yelp. And although Google never shares their exact secret equation for rating websites, moz.com surveyed top online marketers around the world to highlight the most important SEO factors for your business. Among the “Top 30 Difference-Making Factors in Competitive Markets”, three are review related: #7 is Quantity of Native Google Reviews (w/text) #25 is Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews and #29 is Diversity of third-party sites on which reviews are present. In addition, moz.com also reported that Review Signals contribute over 8% to a website’s overall rank in search results.
This data from Yotpo also highlights the importance of reviews in a big way. They tracked the number of page views for 30,000 businesses that added reviews to their websites. Over a 9 month period, the average number of page views rose from 5500 to 8000 views per month. Wow!
If stories like these have convinced you that your business needs more reviews, head over here to learn more about why they matter and how to ask your loyal customers to write those all-important reviews.
The end of distinct mobile and desktop versions
The theme of many of these internet trends is the same; a smooth, seamless experience for mobile users. And something that can really hinder this desired seamlessness is having two website versions: one desktop and one mobile. Google currently uses the desktop version to index the information of a website. However, in many cases, there is less information on mobile versions to accommodate for the smaller screen size. This can leave mobile users at an informational disadvantage and will contribute to a poor user experience. Given the boom of mobile search and their dedication to user-experience, Google is discouraging two version websites. In an effort to continue providing users the best possible experience; late last year Google began the shift to index mobile versions instead of desktop versions. Google says it is currently in the experimental phase. But, there is likely an official announcement not far down the road. If your business website is one-version, mobile friendly it is already prepared for the change. If not, now is the time to bring your website up to 2017 standards.
The web has changed so much about the way we buy and sell, share information and keep in touch. It is still changing. The competition to put your information ahead of others in the marketplace is on par with the importance of the quality and value of your products and services. The latest steps in how we manage SEO and the mobile web are having profound effects on building and presenting websites. Businesses that strategically respond by keeping up with, and better yet, staying ahead of these curves will profit from retaining existing clients, keeping them satisfied, and reaching new audiences with crucial information and inviting them to enter through their mobile digital door.
With the gift-giving season in full-swing, researchers are predicting the average American family will spend $929 on presents in 2016. That’s an increase of $60 from last year’s holiday season spend of $882. This makes it a perfect time for small businesses to increase sales and entice life-long customers with holiday marketing promotions.
We have created the ultimate guide for advertising your small business this festive season. No matter what your budget is, this list is sure to include an idea that fits your business needs.
1. Decorate Your Store And Website
Customers flock to well-decorated and well-lit shops. Stands out from your competition with bright, festive decorations. Your holiday decorating efforts are sure to encourage more people to walk through your doors and see what your business has to offer.
This holds true for your website, too. If your business only operates online, you could design a holiday-themed banner or ask your graphic designer to add some festive touches to the homepage.
Studies have shown that people feel happy and relaxed when they see festive decorations, making them much more likely to buy. Getting people into the holiday spirit with bright lights, green garlands, cheery music, and sparkly tinsel could be the key to unlocking great sales over the season.
2. A Personal Touch
Adding a personal touch when interacting with your customers never goes out of style. It could be as inexpensive as sending a personalized card or email, letting them know that you care about their business. A holiday card is a great opportunity to thank your customers for their patronage and wish them well over the festive season. Go out of your way to send a holiday card or email and stand out among your competition.
3. Rewarding existing customers
Increase brand loyalty and trust by rewarding your current customers. Offering a discount, store credit, or a free gift with purchase are easy ways to let your existing customers know you value their business. With the added incentive, your customers are more likely to tick items off their holiday shopping list from your business.
4. Holiday Party
Another great way of wooing customers is by hosting a holiday party. Your old customers will feel appreciated while new, prospective clients can see what your business has to offer and experience your customer service. Invite your existing clients and welcome those passing by to join the festivities. While your sales are sure to increase on party day, it can also translate to sales later in the season as customers remember your generosity and hospitality. Mingling with all your customers shows a fun, friendly, side to your business and gives them a chance to get to know you and your business better.
5. Post-Holiday Coupon Code
During the festive season, offer your customers a discount, special offer or free gift to claim after the holidays. This win-win promotion encourages customers to buy now and to come back again after the shopping season winds down. Spending can slow down after the holiday season. Enticing your customers with a post-holiday promotion can help keep your sales steady as the number of shoppers dwindles.
6. Host a Contest
One thing customers love? Freebies! Holding a holiday contest allows your customers to win some fabulous goodies from your business. It’s also a great opportunity for your customers have fun by engaging in something different.
Motivate your customers to buy your products and services by offering the chance to win a prize around the holiday season. Choose a prize you know your customers would be thrilled to win to ensure healthy participation.
7. Offer free gift wrap
Here is another chance for your business to go the extra mile for your customers and stand out from your competition. Save them time and money by offering free gift wrapping service for purchases during the holiday season. Gift wrapping for your customers could significantly reduce the time and money they might spend preparing for the holidays. Making life easier is an extremely valuable way to boost customer loyalty. In addition to taking a task off your customers to-do lists, offering free gift wrap can increase your business’ overall sales during this busy season.
8. Social Media Marketing
One of the most impactful marketing strategies to use in your holiday marketing plan is social media. There is a massive amount of information at your customers’ fingertips. If they are interested in a product or service you offer, it’s likely your customers will start with online research first. Ensure a strong social presence by posting about your holiday offers, tips for getting through the holidays from your unique business perspective, gift guides, spreading the word about any upcoming events. A strong social media marketing presence will increase your brand loyalty and can boost both foot and website traffic during the holiday season.
December is one of the best marketing opportunities for small businesses. Americans spend more than 600 billion dollars shopping during the holiday season ranging from gifts, food, decorations, home improvements for houseguests and more. Ensure your small business is getting in on the action during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Are you a real estate agent or agency considering a new website?
At Webware, we understand that each client we serve has unique needs. Websites for real estate agents and agencies are no exception. A great real estate website allows buyers to gain all the information they need about the agency, the buying/selling process, mortgage rates, properties for sale, neighbourhoods and more.
Purchasing a house or commercial property can be both an exciting and stressful time for buyers. That’s why at Webware, we build real estate websites that strengthen confidence and trust among buyers by using clear content, purposeful design, and access to industry specific tools.
Here’s what’s included with your real estate website at Webware:
1. Design and layout to highlight specific needs of a real estate agent website. We make it easy for your customers to find the information they are looking for immediately. The following are all easily located on the homepage:
- Search listings directory
- Map display of customizable neighbourhoods
- Prominent contact info
- Team/agent information
- Live chat
- Clear call-to-action
2. Clear, easy to find property listings. Simple to use search tools to help your customers navigate your property listings easily and efficiently.
3. Integration with MyRealPages. MyRealPages offers property listing display, advanced search functionality and search by map capability.
1. SEO Keyword research and implementation performed by Real Estate SEO experts
2. Regular blog posts on relevant, current topics in the real estate industry
3. Social media updates to stay in contact with your network
From our experience building real estate websites, Webware already knows what your clients are looking for in their search for the perfect property and agent. We understand the features and design required to meet your website needs. Get a beautiful website for your real estate business and reach prospective customers with an effective online experience. Get started today at webware.io
One of the things that makes Google the most popular online search engine is its endless mission to put users first. Their goal is to give you, the user, the most reliable, accurate and up-to-date information available anywhere on the World Wide Web. Google’s steadfast commitment to the user-experience has sparked another update to its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking factors.
Google recently announced that starting in January 2017, websites with interstitials will rank lower in search engine results than websites without.
What’s an interstitial?
Google firmly believes these annoying popups hinder users’ access to information. This is especially true for mobile devices where screens are generally smaller. This new update should urge websites to eliminate popup ads to keep their ranking high in search engine results.
According to Google, “Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:
- Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
By contrast, here are some examples of techniques that, used responsibly, would not be affected by the new signal:
- Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
- Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space”.
If your website uses a popup to gather email newsletter signups or likes on social media or something else, this new ranking signal is directed at you. Though it won’t come into full effect until January 2017, now is the best time to get rid of those popups to give your customers the best possible user experience.
You can read the full update on the Google Webmaster Forum here.
Committed to success? Have a new website in the works?
With all the changes Google has made in the last year to support mobile-friendly websites, savvy business leaders are getting on board. They’re ditching outdated websites for fresh, mobile-responsive designs.
You have invested a significant amount of time, creative energy and money into your business’s new website. When it’s ready to go live, you want as many people as possible checking it out. Ensure your Launch Day is a smash hit by creating a buzz leading up to the big event.
Here’s nine things you can do to get great results. Tick off these items from your checklist for a website launch:
Number One: Great Content. Long before launch day, devote ample time to creating high quality content. Ideally, three published pieces on Day One gives your audience enough variety to click through and read. Test and test again. Check the functions and appearance on mobile devices before you go live. First impressions are important. Initial content quality signals the experience readers can expect in the future. You want to build a loyal following of return visitors.
Number Two: Coming Soon Page. Create a “Website Coming Soon” page to let people know about your new website. In addition to informing them that it’s on the way; a “Coming Soon” page get’s people excited about your business, services or products. Offer new visitors a place to sign up for your email newsletter and provide links to “follow” and “like” you on social media.
Number Three: Email Subscriber List. Build your email list in the lead up to your website launch. If you already have an email subscriber list, enlarge it through your social media accounts and your “Coming Soon” page. If you don’t have one already, ask your existing customers for their email addresses. Supercharge your ask by adding a promotional boost; offer incentives for signing up for your email newsletter (email newsletters provide ongoing contact with customers). Promote the newsletter and special incentives through social media.
Number Four: Launch Day Email. Your business’s website launch is an unique opportunity to get customers excited about your business. Create a catchy-looking email to blast out on your launch day. Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp to design an attention-getting email. The email should showcase your value proposition by highlighting your best content. Encourage subscribers to visit your new website with a promotion (e.g. a free consultation, or discount coupon for giving your website a mention).
Number Five: Grow your Social Media Presence. After you’ve completed your target audience research; it’s time to setup accounts on relevant social media platforms. Your business doesn’t need to have a profile on every single channel; just the ones your target customers generally use. Instead of wasting time setting up profiles and sharing posts across 7 or 8 platforms, spend your time creating valuable content in places where your preferred customers are likely to find it.
Number Six: Mobilize your Existing Friends. If your business already has an active social media following; give your fans a heads up that your new website is coming. Share the news a few times per week in the month leading up to your launch. The average Facebook user has 338 friends. Not all your friends or social media followers will “like” or “share” your posts. But, you’ll never know if you don’t ask. Ask friends, family, other local businesses (nicely!) to like or share the news about your business’s new website on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.
Number Seven: Online directories. Your business’s presence in online directories will influence your search engine optimization (SEO). Depending on your industry, your business has a number of options, for example: Yelp, YellowPages, Google, OpenTable, Bing, Wedding Wire, to name a few key ones. Do your research and submit your business information to the most relevant sites. Here’s a list of the most popular online business directories in 2016. Online directory entries only contribute to SEO if the business’s information (name, address, phone number and website url) is accurate and consistent across all directory websites.
Number Eight: Reputation Review. If your website is launching at the same time as your new business venture, you likely won’t have an online reputation. If you’re building a new website for an existing business, now is the time to see if people are discussing your business online (and what they are saying!). A good place to start is by reviewing each of your business’s online directory entries and social media accounts. Update any outdated information. Respond to any existing reviews. In any case, setup Google Alerts to notify you anytime someone mentions your business online. Click here to learn how to get people to review your business online (and handle negative reviews). Most consumers are influenced in their online buying decisions by positive, and critical reviews.
Number Nine: Set up Google MyBusiness. Google is the gold standard when it comes to web searches. To get (and stay) ahead of your competition; take advantage of some great tools for getting noticed. With Google MyBusiness, you can customize how your business contact information will look to customers on Google search. MyBusiness uses your business name, address, phone number and website uniformly across the platform, including: Mobile Search and Google Maps. Your customers, and potential buyers, see consistent, accurate information anytime, and anywhere they search. You can also add attractive photos and manage your reviews on Google. Both measures will help you stand out from the crowd.
Launching your new mobile-friendly website is an important and exciting day for your business.
You’ve spent valuable hours and dollars building the perfect website. You want to make a great first impression on your current and potential customers. This means you need to create and implement an effective strategy well in advance. Follow this Checklist for a Website Launch and you’ll be well on your way.
If you don't have time to execute all these activities or you're not sure how, Webware helps launch your website with a bang.
In 2015, the United States spent over 60 Billion dollars on their pets! The pet trend is going global, with many countries across the world reporting increased numbers of household pets and pet-related purchases. With more and more pets in the home, I started to wonder, what about pets in the office?
It turns out, I am not the only one interested in bring their furry friends to work.
Last month, in celebration of our four-legged friends, the United States, Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom participated in the cutest, 18 year old tradition of Take your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD). On June 24th, offices across the world opened their doors (and hearts) to employees’ pooch pals. The day came at the end of Take your Pet to Work Week celebrating all pet family members.
What could be more fun than petting animals on coffee breaks and between meetings? Basically, nothing. However, it turns out that pets in the office provide more than just a cuteness overload at work. There are several REAL benefits to office pets/bring your pet to work days. To help your superiors see the light on this important issue, I have compiled a list of reasons to consider an office pet or bring your pet work days. Here we go!
Improve employees' health. Studies show that pet ownership can affect a number of aspects of our health. Pet owners visit the doctor less frequently, saving the U.S. over 11 million dollars in healthcare spending annually. Pet ownership alleviates stress and depression, reduces obesity rates, and improves heart health by lowering blood pressure. Petting a dog releases “happiness” hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin while bringing cortisol, the “stress” hormone, levels down. Improved health means happier employees and fewer sick days.
- Boost productivity. Taking a quick, 10-15 minute break every hour or so has proven the most efficient, productive way for humans to work. An office pet or pet-friendly office is far more likely to encourage these productivity enhancing breaks. A quick trip around the block with your pooch or a few minutes petting a kitten can recharge employees. For many employees, the ability to have their pet with them means less worry about what’s happening at home and less concern about staying later at the office.
- Encourage a positive office environment. Research shows that the simple presence of a pet boosts positive social interaction and increases helping behaviour. Pets can help break the ice between strangers and reduce tension between team members. A dog-friendly office promotes communication, cooperation and friendship between coworkers. And a team that gets along is more likely to enjoy coming in to work.
- Attract employees and customers who share the same pet-friendly values. Pet-related spending is up all across the world. More and more people everywhere are embracing life with four-legged family members. An office pet or bring-your-pet-to-work policy can attract new talent and customers who share your company’s values. Etsy, “the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace” has dog-friendly offices in New York, London and Dublin. Sarah Starpoli, Etsy's manager of culture and engagement tells CNBC “People want it. People know about it when they come in and are hired”. I couldn’t agree more!
- Improve pets’ health. Not to be overlooked, we can help our pets stay healthy with more socialization and physical activity. With the increase in importance of pet-family members, it’s crucial to keep them happy and healthy. Allowing pets in the office gives our animal friends more frequent walks and less days spent alone.
What started out as “Take Your Dog to Work Day” turned “Take Your Pet to Work Week” has sparked a rise in pet-friendly offices. A survey conducted in 2015 shows 8% of American workplaces allow pets in the office, up from 5% in 2013. Employers are opening their office doors to furry family members to create better workplace environments fuelled by happier and healthier employees. With all the proven benefits, it might be time for your company to consider how an office pet could positively impact life in the workplace.
Up to 62% of consumers (and growing) do their research online before making a purchase! It’s never been more important for businesses to have a well-designed, informative website.
To make a lasting impression on potential customers, here’s 10 essentials for your small business website:
1. Mobile, mobile, mobile! Your website must be mobile-friendly.
- Between December 2013 and December 2015, smartphone internet consumption grew by 78%.
- Your customers are likely accessing your website from a mobile device.
- A responsive website ensures a smooth, easily-navigable experience and happier customers.
- Googles cares deeply that your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, your website will be bumped down the search results pages, finally landing behind your competitors’ responsive websites.
2. Relevant business information. People are visiting your website to learn more about what your business offers.
- 47% of website visitors check out a company's products/services page before looking at any other sections of the site.
- Design each webpage from your customer’s perspective: Give them the info they need to make an informed decision about your product/service.
- Make sure important content is easy to find on your website.
3. Visible Contact Info. It should be as clear as possible how and where to get in touch with your business.
- The business phone number should be visible on the homepage. Once on a company's homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company's contact information.
- Enable Click to Call. Based on Google’s commissioned research by Ipsos, 70% of mobile searchers have used “The Call Button” in order to get in touch directly with companies.
- Another convenience favoured by many is live chat support. Learn more about why it’s awesome here.
- A Contact Us page: a feedback form, the business street address, driving directions (if applicable), or even a link to your FAQ section.
4. Simple Design. The more “visually complex” a website is, the less likely it is to be seen as “beautiful”.
- All elements (words, images, videos, links) on the homepage should have a distinct and meaningful purpose.
- Avoid clutter, small/hard to read fonts, and complex layouts.
- Include clean lines, intuitive navigation, simple font style and colour schemes throughout the entire website.
5. Reviews. As the digital age’s word-of-mouth, online reviews are a simple, yet effective way to increase traffic, sales, and improve your online reputation.
- 88% of consumers take reviews into account on purchase decisions!
- Add a review widget like Yotpo so customers can leave a review directly on your website.
- Include a few customer testimonials/reviews on your website.
6. Quality images. Showcase your products and services in action.
- Use high-resolution images to highlight your products and/or services
- Better quality images create a more enjoyable user experience
7. Understand SEO basics. Search Engine Optimization is a guiding principle when building a website for your business.
- SEO comprises several factors working together to build your website’s visibility in search engine results.
- Some factors include: website content, mobile-friendliness, website quality (speed to load pages, duplicate pages, broken links, etc), website architecture and geophysical location
- SEO dramatically affects how many people (potential customers!) can find your website in the internet maze.
- Even if you aren’t building your own website or implementing the SEO strategy, it can be extremely helpful if you understand what SEO can and cannot do for your business.
8. Call To Action. A visual focal point on your website that invites customers to act.
- Common examples of Call to Action are “Buy Now” or “Signup Here” or “Enter your email”.
- Draw customers’ attention to your offer with colours, images, or typefaces.
- For example, a bright pink “Start Your Free Trial” button against a neutral background will immediately catch the eye.
9. Monitor load time. How quickly (or slowly) the content on your website loads is crucial to maintaining visitors’ interest.
- Page load speed affects SEO
- Images, videos, or text that takes too long to load can cause frustration and drive customers away.
10. Advertise your website on social media. Make it easy for anyone visiting your social media pages to get to your website.
- Add your website to all your social media profiles, business cards and other marketing materials
- Facebook updates, Tweets, Instagram posts etc., should eventually entice people to check out your website.
More and more people are fact-checking products and companies online before they make a purchase. Use these essentials to help your small business website stand out among the online clutter.
Get a mobile-friendly website that not only looks good, but also adds value to your business. With custom designs, digital services and reasonable prices, Webware’s toolkit is the perfect solution for small businesses.
One of the great benefits of the Webware platform is the ease of use. It’s very easy to make changes to your website yourself – to edit your content, change images, add blog posts, even create your own web pages.
To make it easier for you to add great-looking web pages, Webware has added 14 new web page design templates! Now your inner website pages can look just as great as your home page, and you can choose from a wide variety of styles that include images, videos, product collections, forms, and more.
Scroll down to see all the new page types you can select for your website:
Menu Collection Page
Text & Image Pages
For details on the variety of page types available, see our Help Center article here.
To learn the basics of how to add a page, view this article.
Great news for Webware customers! Use our latest product update, customizable forms, to help you get the most out of your website.
Now you can create custom forms on your Webware site, to collect exactly and only the information that you care about from your customers.
There are three types of forms available on any Webware site: Registration Form, Profile Form, and Newsletter Form. Each of these forms gives you an opportunity to find out more about the people who visit your site.
Your site will be created with each of these forms already included and with standard fields such as name and email address.
You can now customize your forms by adding or removing fields, even creating custom fields, to collect the information you want to know about your customers.
For example, if you’re offering B2B services, you may want to know Company Name or Website URL.
If you’re an ecommerce apparel store, you may want to know Gender or Shoe Size.
There’s all kinds of information you might want to collect, such as:
- Company name
- Neighborhood or zip code
- Preferred store location
- Shirt size
For details on how to customize your forms, see our Help Center article here.
For more on the types of forms on your Webware website, see this article.
Are you considering an investment in your small business by building a website? The good news - An effective website can help your business reach new customers and boost your bottom line. The bad news - A poorly designed website not only doesn’t help your business grow, it can cause customers to lose confidence in your business and head elsewhere. Understanding what makes a powerful website from your customers perspective ensures a better user experience and more success out of your website. Whether you plan to invest money by hiring someone to build it for you or invest time building your own website, knowing some website psychology basics can help you get the most out of your investment.
Here’s 4 principles of psychology to keep in mind when building your website:
As humans, our brains are wired to constantly seek out what we recognize. Recognizing patterns helps us understand and navigate our surroundings. If we come across an unfamiliar situation, our brains may interpret it as a threat, triggering a chemical “fight or flight” response. [source]
However, familiarity lends itself to trust. If your website fits the “website pattern”, your customers are more likely to inherently trust your website and business. Upon landing on your business’s website, your customers will make snap judgements (in less than 1 second!). Instilling trust right away improves the chances of your customers staying on your website after their first impression. Your website should include the basics like your logo, obvious navigation, and banners with high-quality images balanced with easy-to-read text to maintain a recognizable “website pattern”.
From a user-experience perspective, cognitive load is the amount of mental effort required for your customers to navigate your website. The original definition of cognitive load, first used by psychologists, defines cognitive load as the mental effort required to learn a new task. For your customers, the new task is to understand how your website differs from other websites then adjust to their behaviour to effectively use the website. The cognitive load required affects how easy it is for your customers to find the information they’re looking for on your website - and as a small business, you want to make it as easy as possible! [source]
The first step to make things easier for your customers (aka reducing cognitive load), is to know what they’re looking for when they visit your website. Are they looking for food/service menus, your blog, products you sell, information on products/services, or contact details? Then, focus on presenting the information in an easy-to-find way. To reduce the risk of cognitive overload in your website visitors, keep your website as simple and clean-looking as possible. Each piece of content on your website should provide valuable info. Using keywords at the top of your website, like in the navigation bar, help customers understand and navigate quickly.
Human brains are designed to pay attention to anything different or unique in our surroundings. From an evolutionary perspective, humans noticing something out of the ordinary was developed as a survival tactic to judge potential threats. [source]
Though there aren’t any threats on your website, marketers can take advantage of this human tendency by creating a visually unique Call-To-Action. Draw customers’ attention to your offer with colours, images, or typefaces. For example, a bright orange “Start Your Free Trial” button against a neutral background will immediately catch your eye, drawing attention to what you want your customers to do. For your customers to be able to respond to your call-to-action, they need to know where it is. For the best results, make it easy for them to find by ensuring it stands out from the rest of your website.
With roots in Information Foraging Theory, information scent can be traced back to the earliest humans hunting for food. The scent of information describes our ability to judge whether or not we will find what we’re looking for by following a certain path. Humans are designed to look for cues that point us in the right direction as we hunt for information. The hunt boils down to two factors - motivation and effort. What will I gain by following this cue (motivation)? and is this a worthy use of my energy (effort)? [source]
Tap into your customers’ natural instinct to know where to look for information. Descriptive navigation tabs and meaningful subheadings initiate a strong information scent. Maintain the scent with images and further text descriptions on landing pages. Like cognitive load, the goal is to make things as easy as possible for your customers. Even if you have a lot of products or subcategories, studies show that customers don’t mind clicking several times, as long as they believe they are headed in the right direction. If the cues on your website don’t support humans tendency to follow the information scent, they’ll likely become frustrated and head back to Google to continue their search.
Investing time and money into your website can be invaluable for your business but it’s important to understand the underlying factors of website success. Using science-backed tactics to instil positive feelings in your website visitors means better chances of reaching new customers, increasing awareness and building sales. Time and money are both extremely valuable to small businesses; keep these website psychology basics in mind to maximize your investment in your website.
Don’t want to waste time or money on your website? Webware’s professional team ensures your website is optimized for user-experience and setup for success.