Picture a large department store that people enjoying shopping in. Think about the different departments that were there. Was there a men’s clothing department? Was there a lady’s clothing department? Was there a children’s clothing department? Perhaps, there was an area that sold food, or an area that sold hardware. When these departments were added together, they made up the whole department store. Web development is the same way. The elements are like departments, and it takes all of them to make a great visitor experience.
The first element is branding, the visitor to the web site should know that they are on the company’s web site. All the pages should have some things in common. Some of these are the same colours, the same navigation tabs, and the same header or footer. Leave no doubt in the visitor’s mind that they are on the company’s web site.
The second element is navigation. Visitors to the web site should be able to get around the web site easily. Big department stores spend small fortunes on how traffic flows through their stores. Business owners should also control how visitors navigate through the web site.
The third element is load time. Those who have been around the web for a while remember all the flash and animations that used to be common on web sites. It was thought that visitors would be impressed by these. The truth is that visitors want a page that will load quickly. If it doesn’t then the visitor will move on to the competitor’s site. In fact, researchers have found that visitors will only stay on a web site for six seconds before they decide to stay or move on. Don’t waste that time with a slow loading page.
Search Engine Optimisation
The fourth element is search engine optimisation. Most visitors to a site arrive at a site from a search engine. Make sure that your web page ranks high in the search engines. Remember the importance of local searches since these visitors are usually ready to buy then within their local market. Also remember the importance of longtail keyword searches. Again, these are customers who are ready to buy. Make sure they land on the page selling that product.
The fifth element is functionality. This is especially important for e-commerce sites. Make it very easy for the visitor to place an item in the shopping cart, and even easier for them to pay for that item.
When each of these elements is included in the development then it is like visiting a favourite department store. The customers are ready to buy, usually more than they came after.