The Science Behind Websites

The Science Behind Websites

Building a website is critical to a company’s success in 2019.

It is the face of your company on the internet.

The landing page for many future clients.

A passive moneymaker while you’re busy running your business.

An extremely low-cost advertisement that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Because of all of that you need it to start working for you. Not the other way around.

What is the science behind websites?

The science behind website design is somewhat of an exercise in psychology.

A website’s design is catered to your visitors.

A well-designed website helps lead them to a goal. Be it to contact you, learn more about you, or buy something.

With over 4.1 billion people using the internet every year it can be hard to stand out1Source.

So how do I?

We’ll go page by page through an average website to discuss the science behind each of them and how sites can stand out from the crowd.

Home Page

Your home page is the face of your website. It’s the first page that people land on and the page that sets the tone for your whole site.

Arguably the most important, the home page serves multiple purposes. It:

  1. Establishes your brand
  2. Tells your viewer what you’re offering
  3. Brings your viewer into your funnel 2A funnel is your sales path, Full article on it in the works

Brand Building

Establishing your brand as a company helps you build trust with your clients. Home pages are essential for that.

The home page can establish this by being themed to your colours and having your logo present.

This ensures that when a visitor initially lands on your page they know exactly who you are, right away.

Take the Rycob homepage as an example.

rycob media homepage

 

Both our primary and secondary logos are front and centre, and impossible to miss.

Our colours are blue and white, which you can immediately tell. All of our words are white. Our menu bar is white. Our buttons and chat box are blue.

Both of these together help put together the branding, or theme, of your site.

Tell your viewer what you’re offering

This is also referred to as a “Call to Action“.

It is a way of encouraging your visitor to go to where you want them to on your website. Usually, the place you sell your products or services.

This is best done in a way that feels natural, or that it flows with the design of your page.

Bright flashing yellow banners that say “🎉🎉Click here for a sale!🎉🎉” feel somewhat spammy, if you know what I mean.

This could be via button (like our “Get Started!” button the Rycob homepage). It could be some photos of products or anything in between.

A great way to figure out if you have a good call to action is the “first look” test. Have a friend or family member who hasn’t seen your website before look at your homepage and watch where their eyes first go. Do they dart all over the place, unsure where to look first? Do they look where you want them to? Or do they look somewhere else entirely? f they look where you want them to, then mission accomplished! You have created a successful call to action!

Innisfail Helping Hand Homepage
The “first look” test in action! I’m guessing the first thing seen was the link to fall festival tickets. Which is the point!

Bring your viewers into your funnel

A sales funnel is sort of a path with an end goal.

Similar to a call to action it can have several different forms.

The most common form is a newsletter.

Having visitors to your site sign up for a newsletter, or email list gives you a direct line to their inbox.

This can help you turn one time visitors into repeat, life long clients.

While not every business needs a funnel if your business does the home page is a great place to put it.

Putting an “intent to exit3when a visitor goes to close the window the popup comes up” popup on your homepage ensures that every visitor who comes to site has the opportunity to subscribe to your mailing list.

This is typically done by offering them something “Get your free PDF on [content your visitors care about] today” or allowing them extra content.

exit intent pop up
An example of an exit intent pop up window

About us

About us is where visitors go when they want to know who you are, what you do, and what you stand for.

Every “About” page has a couple of elements that make it unique and make it a place visitors can leave feeling they know you better:

  1. What you do
  2. Where you’re located
  3. Who you service
  4. What you stand for

What you do

This is the key to the entire “About” page.

When customers visit it they expect to learn what exactly you offer to them.

It is key to give a brief overview of your core services or products.

Offering website development and social media services

Selling homemade crafts

Whatever the case may be, you must comment on what YOU are giving to THEM (the customer)

Where you’re located

While this is also accomplished on the Contact us page (more on that later) the About us page should at least have a basic covering of it.

Serving Calgary since 1985“, etc.

This helps visitors and potential clients know that you service their area and are part of their community.

It is also a great way to show that you could be trusted, as you show how long you have been in business.

This can help visitors feel more comfortable buying from you.

An established business is a trustworthy business.

Who you service

This doesn’t mean that you should repeat your location info from above.

This is your chance to speak directly to your key demographic.

Take Rycob as an example.

Our key demographic is those that don’t currently have anything online and are business owners.

While this isn’t always the case this is typically people 30 and over, who don’t have a high level of technical knowledge.

Putting something in your “About” that specifically speaks to these people can help them gain closeness and resonate with them.

What you stand for

Typically also referred to as a “mission, vision, and values”.

For the purposes of this article we are simply going to give a general overview. For a great resource on mission, vision, and values in a more in-depth look check out this article.

In short, this breaks down to a couple of key questions you need to ask yourself:

What is our organization’s purpose? Why does it exist?

What problem(s) are we looking to solve?

Where are we going in the future?

How are we going to get there? What parts of our business should guide us?

Answering all these questions will help your visitor know all about you, and connect with you.

Contact Us

Behind the homepage, the contact page is the most crucial of your website.

The contact page is where your clients will look to find out how to get a hold of you.

There are several aspects that, if all are available, should be on your contact page:

  1. Physical location
  2. Business hours
  3. Phone number
  4. Email
  5. Social links
  6. A way to contact you without leaving the page

Having all of this information available in a condensed form allows your visitors to contact you by whatever means works best for them

Physical location

If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, sell physical products, or accept appointments you NEED your physical location.

This allows those who want to visit you in person to know where to find you.

It also allows your business location to be visible on Google if you don’t have a “Google My Business” set up.

Over 50% of local searches are for a business address or directions to it. Give them something to find!

planning a visit
Source

Business hours

As you can see in the infographic below, the next searched thing, along with your location, is your hours.

Source

I’m sure we’ve all had that experience.

The one where it’s 9 p.m. and you just ran out of something.

You pop out your phone and check if the nearest store is open. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave just to be greeted by a locked door.

Now think about any time you haven’t been able to find what their hours are. What did you do?

I’m guessing you either went to a competitor who you knew was open, or waited until the next day.

That can all be avoided by placing your business hours on your contact page.

Note: There will be another article coming out soon discussing the ideal headers and footers. If you’re reading this after it’s been written it will be linked here. Lots of businesses also choose to put their business hours here (see Rycob client Platinum Pool and Spa‘s website for an example). I personally prefer this method, but at a bare minimum it should be visible on your contact page.

Phone number

Phone numbers are one of the easiest pieces of information to put on your website, and one of the easiest to forget.

They help visitors with issues or questions get a hold of you.

On top of that, when people were asked “What would you do if the location of a local business was incorrect?” over 40% said they would call the business.

couldnt find business phone number
Source

Making it easy for them eliminates one more step in the search to buy from you.

Email

Not everything requires a phone number.

You’re not always open when someone has a problem.

So how do you deal with someone needing to contact you while you’re closed?

Simple. Email.

Around since the 1970s email has become a mainstay for business communication.

Leaving an email for people to write to on your contact page can help tremendously.

Email has established itself as a means of communication where instant feedback isn’t expected.

This means that you can reply to it the next day, even the next business day, without the sender feeling upset.

It also serves the bonus of being archivable and searchable, so you never forget a conversation again.

Social links

It’s 2019. Social media is everywhere.

Giving your visitors a means of communicating with you on social media helps connect with them.

As the younger generation gradually enters the consumer market, social media becomes more and more important.

Connecting with that younger generation can sometimes seem daunting, and giving them a way to contact you on social media is a step in that direction.

It also comes with the added bonus of having auto-responders, making sure your customers know you’re listening.

A way to contact you without leaving the page

This is an important goal.

Your visitors are on your website already, why make them leave to get a hold of you?

Increasing view time is a great way to turn visitors into customers.

So how can you do that?

There are two simple ways: Chat, and a contact form.

millenial preferred means of contact
Source

Chat

When a group of Millenials were asked what their preferred means of contact was over 1/4 of them answered that chat was.

Online chat is a great way to have your visitors get a hold of you.

It allows them to browse your website in the background while giving the immediate response time of human reaction.

Implementing chat can be a kind of difficult process, however.

So what can you do instead?

Contact Form

A contact form is an easy way for your visitors to get a hold of you.

It allows them to enter their info and simply type a message rather than having to go to a separate email.

Along with the ease on the visitor’s end, it also adds ease to the business owner’s side.

Offering all of the benefits of email, a contact form is a great way to let your visitors get a hold of you.

Note: Having a contact form on your website without a Captcha can increase the usability for your visitors, but it also comes with a tradeoff. Having an unsecured contact form can lead to a lot of spam messages submitted by robots through it.

Blog

A blog can be a crucial and powerful tool when dealing with SEO for your website and online presence.

Blogging helps others find content about you and allows you to establish a name, and authority for your brand.

Blogs are comprised of four areas. All of which are important:

  1. Content
  2. Sidebar
  3. Categories
  4. Tags

Content

Content is the bulk of your writing or the main article that you are posting.

Blog articles are a great way to help with your website’s SEO as well as begin establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

Writing quality content that people connect with is essential for growth.

Sidebar

The sidebar on your blog is key.

It serves a variety of purposes depending on the type of business you are.

If the blog is a central part of your company the sidebar can be a great way to showcase recent posts, or show ads.

If, like Rycob, you offer a blog, but it isn’t your priority then perhaps the sidebar would be better used for highlighting reviews or offering an email sign up.

Something that will show your clients who you are and why they should trust you.

Categories

Categories are how you sort your content.

For example, we have 6 categories: Recent, Content Creation, Website Management, Social Media Marketing, SEO, and Scheduling.

Each of these allows you to describe what your content is about, making it easier for visitors to find what they want on your site.

It also allows similar content to be grouped together, and easily found.

Tags

Tags are what search engines and on-site look for when finding what your content is about.

Helping in SEO, tags should be well thought out, specific, and contextual.

In other words, what your tags are should give a summary of the article in a handful of words.

 

Summary

There are 4 keys pages to every website, and each has its own way to attract more visitors.

There are obviously a lot more pages on most websites and as this series continues we will dive deeper into each.

Optimizing each page on your site and learning the science behind them can increase visitor retention and conversion.

Up next: Online shops!

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