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Show your visual hierarchy some TLC

Let’s be honest about it. We all know that today’s internet users only take a few seconds to make brutal judgements about your website. At this point we could quote lots of clever statistics – but actually, in your heart, you know instinctively this is the case. Why? Because you’re a web user as well - and you do exactly the same thing.

However, let’s not labour under the delusion that fleeting web visits mean a short attention span. Far from it. It’s precisely because today’s global online community is so very, very savvy that your window of opportunity has shrunk dramatically. They’re not moving on because they’re incapable of focusing. They’re moving on because they know exactly what they’re looking for. Which begs the question, if you’re investing heavily in driving site traffic but visitors just aren’t staying…

…Why are they moving on from you?

If you’re not getting the on-page conversions you want then you need to be brave. Take a deep breath, rip the plaster off and take a good, cold look at your site from a visitor’s eyes. Do that in conjunction with our tips below. You might just end up with a completely different take on how engaging and useful your site really is.

Get your hero message right

Try this experiment. Get 5 people who don’t know your site to look at it for 5 seconds and then shut their eyes. Get them to tell you what they see. The answers might surprise you. What you want to hear is that they’ve clearly picked up what you’re offering and how they can access it. If they can’t articulate your core proposition after 5 seconds then you’ve some serious work to do to make sure that your key message leaps out.

Here’s an example: Mazuma Mobile. In just 5 seconds a visitor to this page can identify:

A trustworthy brand: via the instantly recognisable mascot they’re likely to have already seen across Mazuma’s wider marketing
A clear call to action: A Mazuma customer starts their journey by getting a valuation for their mobile. And there it is, step 1 of the journey, right in front of you. Nice and clear, nice and easy – nothing to stop them moving forward.

How they can access the service: A clearly articulated 3 -step process shows the consumer exactly what they can expect when they sell their mobile with Mazuma. They are instantly reassured, in control, and more disposed to take the next step.

Whoops! Mind that page fold!

The page fold is the natural point on most screens where the user has to scroll down to reach further information. You’ll notice that on Mazuma’s site everything the visitor immediately needs to know is above the page fold.

Actually, if you scroll down there’s much more to see – available products, social media feeds,  social proof, a full site map, information about the company…but these are ALL softer and secondary messages that should defer hierarchically to your core proposition. That’s why they’re lower down. Consider your page fold layout very carefully and test it across different devices to see how it’s working in a mobile/tablet/smartphone environment.

Intelligent navigation = fruitful user journeys

A lot of people think that developing a website starts with a mock-up and some nice pretty visuals. Actually it doesn’t. For us, the most successful sites start with a blank canvas, a group of stakeholders, a massive supply of coffee and some healthy debate.
Why? Because you and your stakeholders know your business and your product better than anyone else. You can have the most visually stunning site in the world but if users can’t immediately see what it’s for and where to go  they’ll quickly drop off. So you should put thought, time, brainstorming and planning into your navigation structure right at the start. Trust us - this is more difficult than it sounds, but if you get it right in the early stages then you’ll avoid a lot of pain and frustration later on. Two days before your launch is NOT the time to be making major site navigation changes.

You should also ensure that content is well aligned to your brand. Avoid generic pictures or irrelevant graphics, and keep visuals focused on reflecting your specific offer. Your content should be spiked with well placed, strategically deployed calls to action that will guide the user through the journey they need to undertake to get the result they’re looking for.

Finally, a word of warning. When was the last time you checked how quickly your site loads? Performed an audit of functionality behind the scenes? Made sure your hosting speed is up to the mark? No? DO IT!! Don’t forget to check performance in different browsers as well. You might be surprised by the results. If your site’s just so slow that people are getting bored before it even loads, if you have broken links, error messages or anything else that gets in the way of the user journey, then you’ve got some core technical work to do before you even think about the finer points of design and content.

If your site is in need of an overhaul or you’re planning a whole new venture we can help. Our team would just love to hear from you and talk through your unique requirements.

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