Yesterday we released an article about things that will drive customers away from your website so today we thought we would let you know about things that will make people stay.

As we’ve already established, sometimes driving people to your website simply isn’t enough. The real trick is keeping people there and creating staying power so with that in mind here are 10 tips:

1 – Concentrate on page load time

A few years ago Amazon did some research and found out that for every 100ms that it takes a page to load there is a 1% drop in the likelihood of making a sale. That means that if a page on Amazon takes 1 second to load then they lose a possible 10% of their custom. It sounds incredible that people are so impatient but the truth is that this sort of trend translates to other websites as well.

People don’t want to wait for their content so getting your pages loaded as quick as possible is the best way to do that:

  • Optimise your images to be the smallest possible file size
  • Condense all your Javascript and CSS into single files to reduce the number of calls on page loads
  • Use CSS and HTML rather than images where possible (there is a lot that can be done with CSS3 and HTML5 when used along side fallbacks like HTML5 Shiv) 

2 – Get to the point

Going hand in hand with not wanting to wait for their information, people also don’t want to have to search hard for it. Get your content focused as much as you can so that people can find exactly what they are looking for with no problems. People don’t want to scan through an essay to find one bit of information.

  • Lists are your friend
  • Keep a clear hierarchy throughout your site
  • Be ruthless with your content. If it isn’t relevant, cut it. 

3 – Good Navigation

Being able to get around your site is very important and nothing is quite as off putting as a navigation system that you need an enigma machine to decode. Steer clear of anything too abstract as in this case tradition really is your friend. In most places people are either going to look to the top or the left hand side of your page for navigation and they are going to expect a clear series of links that will take them where they need to go.

  • Embrace conventional placements and layouts, they are conventional for a reason
  • Keep your customers informed where they are on your site, make it clear in the navigation
  • Keep it simple 

4 – Think Mobile

There is no denying it, the world is going mobile. People without mobile optimised sites are simply losing out on the younger market who spend more time on their phones and tablets than they do on a computer. Ensure your website works well and looks great on all devices and you will improve the effectiveness of your website.

  • Look into ‘responsive design’ to make your website look good no matter where it is seen
  • Take a ‘mobile first’ attitude to creating your website as its easier to think small and add stuff in later than it is to think large and remove for mobile devices 

5 – Look Professional

People mistake professional for boring. The truth is professional is ensuring that your site looks as though it belongs and inspires trust. A professional banking website may look boring because it needs to produce a sense of trustability and seriousness that your website may not. If you run a toy store on the other hand then you can remain professional by having a bit of fun with your website and people will expect it as it goes hand in hand with your profession.

  • Know  your profession and stick within the limits of expectation set by that profession
  • Don’t mistake professional for boring
  • Keep an eye on aesthetics, people are like magpies in that they are drawn to shiny things; things that look good 

6 – Bite Size Chunks

Don’t overwhelm your customers by throwing everything at them in one solid block. The page break is your friend here as by breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs will instantly make your website become more user friendly. It is even better to break it up with relatable graphics and other page break techniques so that people feel as though there is only a small amount of information on the page when really there is a lot.

  • Small and easy to absorb paragraphs always work best
  • Keep images that divide up work relevant and they will tell a 1000 words for you anyway
  • Whatever you do, don’t overwhelm people! 

7 – Create an reason to stay or return

People need a reason to come back to your website and the best way to do that is to make visiting your website feel like a great event. People want to experience something new every time they come to your website and enjoy themselves or at least feel as though they are achieving something. This is how blogs work. By constantly creating updating their content people feel they have to keep coming back to the site time and again to learn more.

  • Constantly update content (this will help with SEO as well)
  • Ensure your customers can achieve or learn something every time they visit your site
  • Make your website feel like an event to inspire wonder and keep people looking (think about the flashy and playful websites that have wowed you into staying in the past) 

8 – Think above the fold

Screen sizes are different for all devices and as we’ve already established people don’t want to be searching for relevant content. Above the fold is an old term used when newspapers were popular referring to things that were above the fold lines where a paper would be folded in half by vendors or readers. This is where they put their most important headlines and content as this is what grabs attention. The same is true for websites, show your most important content right at the start.

  • Bold and snappy headlines or graphics at the top of the page will catch people’s eye and keep them reading
  • Keep a strong hierarchy throughout your site where the most important information comes first and is more prominent 

9 – Know the purpose of your website

Focused content is key to keeping people interested. Find out what the primary purpose of your website is and strive to make that key throughout your site. It is impossible to be all things to all people and by focusing on what your primary purpose is and doing it well you are going to appeal to the right people and keep them on your website.

  • Know your product or service
  • Know your target audience
  • Keep focused 

10 – K.I.S.S – Keep it simple, stupid

K.I.S.S is an acronym we first became aware of when our design team started talking about UI (User Interface) design. Keep it simple, stupid is attributed to the U.S navy in 1960 and it basically means that most systems work best when they are made simple rather than complex. The same thing is true with web design and is something you should keep in mind with your website. If anyone can use it then anyone will so keep it simple and don’t make people work too hard.

  • Don’t overcomplicate anything, make it as straightforward and easy to use as possible
  • Do the grandparents test – Can your technophobe grandmother find her way around your website because if she can, anyone can
  • Don’t try to impress with complicated words, it just makes you look elitist and stuck up

 

We hope that helps you make your site the best it can possibly be. If there is anything else that you think people really should know about making their website the best it can be then please comment below.