If you thought social media would make the website obsolete, think again. In fact, digital media has only reinforced the need for websites. However, thanks to savvy consumers and users, the demand for better websites has never been greater. In lieu of massive redesigns and costly overhauls, there are a few things digital managers can do to ensure their website is consistently meeting their users needs.
Small Things Can Make a Big Difference Online
Recently, Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer wrote about the need for more responsive experiences, not more responsive pages, saying
...now that consumers will experience content across any number of social, mobile and web channels — the goal should be to think about the customer, their engagement journey and what kind of content they need/want at each stage in each context.
To help facilitate effective customer journeys online, it's necessary to "optimize things like layout, message priority, language, contextual versions of content, personalization and (yes) even design based on the attributes of the particular visitor in real time."
In order to learn more about the small changes that can make a major differed in traffic and user experience, we turned to the experts at Table XI, a web application development firm based in Chicago. There, breaking projects into smaller, scalable solutions that can be tackled individually is a mainstay of their work. So when Kathryn Achenbach, a copyeditor at Table XI offered up six simple ways to improve web traffic and sales, we were all ears.
Give Your Site an Online Facelift
Cosmetic surgery may seem trivial, unless your a website -- then it's a necessity. But as any celebrity knows, not all facelifts are the same. To ensure that you're focused on the right things and don't get caught going in the wrong direction, use these steps to guide you.
Improve Product Descriptions
Longer, keyword-rich product descriptions increase visibility among search engines while capturing your brand’s irreverent style and voice.
No one does it better than J. Peterman
Better Options, Not More
More customization options and a user-friendly, graphic interface will make it quick and easy for shoppers to navigate the site and find the products they want.
"There is none like yours" is the tag like of the My Own Bike shop, a German online experience. (H/T MiracleWorx)
Swap product images for ones that feature real people wearing or using your merchandise, evoking a sense of fun and community.
The Hiut Denim Company, based in UK, doesn't just make jeans, they live in them.
A Page of Their Own
Give every product a page of its own; new product pages help promote items not previously available online.
On jewelry designer Elva Fields' website, she shows all necklaces at once but gives each its own special page.
A one-page checkout process streamlines purchasing, leading to greater sales conversions.
Amazon's one click ordering allows users to by-pass a second screen when ordering.
Be Socially Acceptable
Newly added Facebook and Twitter buttons increase social interaction and help draw attention to social media promotions.
Even tea drinkers like to share their purchases. Little Sparrow Tea makes it easy for users to share products from within the site.
Give Your Site a Second Look
These may seem rather basic, almost obvious. But take a closer look at your product pages or browse your site's photos -- they could use a little something more, right? These simple changes don't have to happen over night, but they can provide best practices for the way ahead. Next time you're commissioning new photos for the site, ask for action shots, not just product stills. Got a little down time or a summer intern? Start building new pages for all your products.
Resist the urge to look at everything together, as you're more likely to become overwhelmed -- now you understand why Title XI takes things a part. It's easier to get things done when you dissect them. As you check these tasks off your to-do list, you'll start to see the overall customer experience improve.