They say 'don't judge a book by its cover,' but we all do it. Especially when it comes to websites. 32% of consumers learn about products from brands' websites or social media accounts, and first impressions matter, so let's make the most of them.
A site that's hard to use, impossible to navigate, and a nightmare to interact with is a sure-fire way to lose customers and create negative connotations with your brand. On the other hand, create a site that's a joy to use, injects personality and life into the interactions, and leaves your customers wanting more, and they'll be back again in no time, and telling all of their friends about it!
To your audience, the quality of your website is a direct reflection of the quality of your brand.
In a recent article for Inside Design titled 'User Experience is Brand Experience,' Eric Karjaluoto says 'UX dramatically impacts the way your brand feels.' UX means User Experience, which is all about the overall experience, especially how easy or pleasing it is to use. But a great brand experience on your website is about more than just how easy or pleasing it is to use. It's about the user experience plus the messaging, the brand consistency, the UI (User Interface), and so much more.
Let's take a look at how to create a better brand experience on your website.
A customer should never be left wondering what to click or where to go next when they're exploring your site. It's your job to guide them where you want them to go, and give them a clear path to follow.
When they arrive on your homepage, what is the number one thing that you want them to do?
Also, think about where this person is at in their customer journey and what they need. How can you present the most convenient options to them and make the experience as straightforward as possible?
Since we're on the topic of User Experience, it's vital to make the experience as easy for a customer as possible. Don't make people click through ten different pages just to send you a message, buy a product, or see your services. Actions should be easy to find, straightforward to execute and leave a customer happy about how simple the process was.
Think about Uber. The reason we all love Uber (or Lyft or Ola or whatever ridesharing service you prefer) is because the process is SO straightforward. All you have to do is pop in your destination and press go. Unlike traditional taxis, there's no need to find a number, call the rank, book a car, or exchange money. The experience is quick, easy, and painless. The fewer steps involved to get where you need to go, the better, and the same can be said for websites.
Now we've made things easy to find and use on your website, let's make sure that they work. It's no use having a call to action in the header of your site if it leads to the wrong page, or takes the user to a 404 page because the link is broken. You can't expect your customer to enjoy the experience if they are continually encountering bumps along the way.
Go through the entire process yourself, or get someone to test it for you. See where actions aren't so smooth or are just plain broken. This will allow you to fix problems before they arise and avoid a terrible review or angry email.
90% of consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices used to interact with brands. Therefore, whether customers first interact with your brand via a physical sign, Instagram, or another touchpoint, this experience needs to translate to your website.
The messaging, tone of voice, visuals, and offerings should be the same no matter where or how someone encounters your brand. When a customer or client arrives on your website, they need to know that they are in exactly the right place, interacting with the same brand that they have in the past.
It's essential to keep things consistent to avoid confusing customers. They should never be unsure if they are in the right place, be thrown off by conflicting information, or surprised by something that doesn't make sense for your brand.
I don't want to get too technical here, but basically, your website needs to be quick and functional. 39% of website visitors will stop engaging if images don't load, and if it doesn't work at all, you can forget about it!
To ensure a speedy site, make sure images files aren't too big, and your website doesn't have a lot of extra code slowing it down.
You can test the speed of your website and get recommendations on how to improve it at Google PageSpeed Insights.
Obviously, besides excellent user experience, your website needs to look good too! 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive, so you need to dazzle them with the design to keep them engaged.
Use the logo, colours, fonts and photography that make up your brand identity. You might have icons, patterns or other graphics that you can incorporate too. Keep your website consistent, cohesive, and creative, and you'll engage your audience for longer.
Your website is your online home. Decorate it, fix it up, and maintain it with as much care as you would your actual home. Make it yours, but keep it functional, enjoyable, and useful for your guests.