According to Internet Live Stats, There are approximately 1,140,022,025 websites on the internet as of January 2017. That’s a lot of competition for the average website! However, knowing how to please visitors can help your site rise above the information overload.
So how do you please people searching for a site just like yours?
It’s all about making them the center of your design process, so every decision you make for your site is customer-oriented. Here’s five of the most fundamental ways to ensure your website does just that.
1. Simplify your layouts
Web design trends may come and go, but an uncluttered, clear website will never go out of style. Have you ever visited a website that was so busy it gave you a headache just trying to figure out what to look at first? You can avoid this with a clean, simple layout.
The keys to a clean, clear layout are:
- A considered content strategy / information architecture based on understanding what users want from your site
- Ample whitespace
- Clear typographic hierarchy
- Self-contained, logical groupings of information
Number four helps explains why card-based layouts have become all the rage these days: by clearly divvying content up into distinct chunks, they help clarify the relationships between content elements.
A good example of a site with a simple layout is Airbnb. The hero section pairs an inspiring tagline with a clear, direct explanation of what Airbnb can help you do, then rounds it all off with a simple form to help you start achieving your goal.
By breaking everything into its own block, Airbnb’s designers keep the page uncluttered and easy to navigate. This is particularly effective for a site with a lot of content to sort through. You can make finding the right information even easier with search tools and robust filters.
TL;DR on layouts
Keep your layout simple so your content takes centerstage. If your site visitors can scan your content quickly, they’ll be more likely to find what they need — and less likely to bounce.
2. Experiment with targeted landing pages
There are many benefits to A/B testing, including improving your content, increasing conversion rates, and making your site “stickier.”
Experimenting with landing pages allows you to try different layouts, images, text, and calls to action to figure out which ones speak to your particular audience. You won’t have to guess with solid data from your test pages.
Greats, a shoes website, features a strong landing page. The page is simple, with a near-fullscreen slider highlighting two of their core products. Both the navigation and the rest of the page focus on giving you quick access to the types of shoes you’re looking to buy — which is the one action they definitely want you to take.
TL;DR on landing pages
Don’t be afraid to make more than one landing page, then test them and see which one speaks most strongly to your audience. And keep in mind that this isn’t just about finding the “one and only” resonant message — chances are, you’ll be able to appeal to multiple different segments of your audience by targeting landing pages to their specific needs.
For A/B tests based on simple changes, you can integrate Optimizely with your Webflow site.
3. Educate your visitors with guides and resources
Information never goes out of style. No matter what your particular niche is, clear, helpful resources inevitably attract readers.
That’s why long-form content ranks higher in Google’s algorithms, so, in this case at least, a win for your site’s visitors is a win for you too.
One example of a site with great long-form content is CJ Pony Parts. The company focuses on Mustang enthusiasts, and their resource center features in-depth articles, long-form guides, videos, and infographics. The topics covered are very specific to their target audience. For example, they have a whole article dedicated to Mustang rear gear ratios.
TL;DR on guides and resources
Add long-form and audience-specific content to your site to improve your SEO and show customers you're here to help.
4. Design responsively
Web design is responsive design. Responsive web design is web design, done right.
Research shows that as many as 80% of people use smartphones to browse the internet. Just under 50% use tablets. And many people “multidevice” — accessing the same website on multiple devices as they research. This means your site needs to be ready for all screen sizes, and, more specifically, needs to offer up the same content across devices.
A responsive design allows the website to adapt to the device’s screen size. You can also have a separate mobile-specific site, but this can become complicated when you factor in the different screen sizes of smartphones and tablets. (And leads to nightmares in content management and SEO.)
For all these reasons and more, Webflow makes responsive design a whole lot easier.
TL;DR on responsive design
Make your website responsive so all your visitors have a great experience, regardless of the device they’re using.
5. Don’t count on bots
Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers
–Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach
Bots are great. You can use them to respond to your site visitors, hold a conversation on social media, auto-follow people who follow you, and any number of other things.
So what’s the problem? A bot is not a person. Their responses won’t always make sense, and at times might be downright inappropriate. After all, they’re not (yet) able to deploy the kind of creative problem solving we expect from a person.
Instead, be sure to give users the personal touch with specific responses to their site comments or when they interact on social media.
Even in the age of bots, great customer service starts with letting your customer know you truly care about them.
A good example of a site that personalizes responses is Groupon. (A proud Webflow-using team.) If you post a review or contact customer service with a complaint, you’ll be assigned a team member who will work with you to resolve your specific concern. This type of personal touch lends itself to a better customer experience.
TL;DR on bots
Use bots when you must, but make sure you also take the time to connect with your readers on a personal level.
Stand out by putting people first
With all the sites crowding the web, it’s sometimes hard to stand out from the crowd. But if you follow these tips, you just might find that ideal intersection between customer needs and business needs.