This is a guest post by Bryan, who blogs at Work From Home
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Design is one of the most important features of any website. Studies have shown that an average person can decide in just a matter of 50 milliseconds if a page is worth browsing through or not. For those not in the know, that’s equivalent to 1/20th of a second. That’s a pretty short time to make an impression isn’t it? Even a fraction of a second has a big influence on online sales as you will see below.
Design ideas vary from person to person and no blog looks the same. No, I’m not asking you to hire a web designer to do a complete design revamp for your site. Instead, I like to introduce 3 Sushi Restaurants to explain 3 important key areas when designing your website.
Let’s say you’ve been to both restaurant A & B. Both restaurants sell sushi and they both have roughly the same menu. After trying both restaurants, you prefer Restaurant B because it has cosier lights, good seating with ample space to walk around the restaurants. Menus on the walls are clear and waiters are great in explaining the different dishes they have. Restaurant A is a bit old fashioned. It is dimly lit and things are a bit too dark and there are just too many barriers around. You find that it is a hazard going around. Waiters seem to mingle only with themselves but they don’t seem interested to come to your assistance when you need them. You’ve been there once and although they both have the same menu, the food just doesn’t taste as good as in Restaurant B. Restaurant B becomes your favourite sushi hang out spot.
Similarly for your website, you don’t have to be a design genius to design a blog. Your blog can be minimalistic and clean but if it is easy to navigate around and direct your customers around, then you already have a winner’s design. Drop the flashy menus and animations. To put this into perspective, think like a customer. According to a recent study by kissmetrics, poor website navigation and overall design was the biggest turn off for customers. Approximately 52% of shoppers did not purchase and return due to overall site aesthetics.
Let’s take our sushi restaurant example again. You find that not only does Restaurant B have a cosy ambience and the menu a gastronomic delight but they also have really good service. Their service in particular is quick and when help is needed, waiters are always nearby and ready at your service. Even when things get busy, they get extra waiters on board to serve customers. In your mind, this is another tick in the box why restaurant B still beats the competition.
Similarly, a website must pay attention to loading time. If a website takes too long to load, again you frustrate your customers and they will not return to your website unless in the near future, you’ve decided to drop the flash, the ads, reduce image size and the excessive WordPress plugins. Speed, efficiency and convenience are one of the reasons why shoppers are going online. Approximately 64% of online customers did not purchase online because website was too slow. Frankly, I’m not surprised if Google recently introduce page loading speed as one of their ranking factor. Back in 2006, Google VP Marissa Mayer mentioned that when their 10-result page dropped by even 0.5 seconds, their ad revenue dropped 20%. That’s a staggering loss of revenue if you are Google!
Words are powerful marketing tools. They have the ability to evoke emotions in customers.
Let’s have a look at our sushi restaurant again. You’ve decided to have a sushi fix again at your favourite sushi restaurant, Restaurant B. As you make your way there, you’re suddenly distracted by a new sushi restaurant outlet that has just opened nearby, restaurant C. Curiosity got the better of you and you make your way there. You’ve noticed that it really is a new restaurant and there are heaps of meals all at half price. The half price entices you further and the owner has decided to give away $50 vouchers to the first 300 who dine in. Wow…you thought, this is great! I must be one of the 300 who can also eat at half price. You thought that the $50 is a big bonus considering how many sushi meals you could have with that particular voucher. The plan to eat at restaurant B flew out of the window almost instantly and now you’ve decided to just try out the meals at sushi restaurant C.
It is very important to choose the right words on your website to expect good sales. Regardless of how many times you’ve heard of certain words like sales, half price or FREE, you are almost always going to be drawn by them. Action words or active commands are also very important. A call to action with a time sensitive component can put the pressure on visitors to act fast. Some of us might already be numb to this form of marketing technique but there are thousands of people coming online everyday looking for something. Now, the question is, when should you use active commands? Well, as Derek Halpern has said, you don’t want to overload your site with active commands because too many will come across as overly authoritarian and lose effectiveness.
There are many other design elements that can influence sales but those 3 I’ve mentioned can make a significant impact on your online sales.
What do you think? Please share you views in the comments below.
Bryan blogs at Work From Home. He enjoys blogging even though he works a full time job and he is committing to making it succeed. He blogs about all things related to blogging, home businesses and internet marketing. Visit his blog to find out more.