Whether you’re planning your first website or assessing an existing one, the lists of design features available can be overwhelming. We asked director of Green Gecko Digital, Marco Sarussi, for his top three website essentials to help give you some focus.
Secure your website with an SSL certificate
“The basics are very important. We’re still seeing websites that are not yet secure and don’t have an SSL certificate”, Marco says.
In July 2018, Google started to alert users to websites that are not secure. Getting an SSL certificate for your website is quick, relatively easy and often free. Many domain hosting companies offer this service as part of your package. Google offers further advice on how to get an SSL certificate for your site.
“It is really important to get this done so that your users’ data is protected”, Marco urges. “If your website isn’t secure then personal data from contact forms and payment details can be captured. Because of this, Google is pushing sites without an SSL certificate down their organic rankings and favouring those with secure sites instead.”
Building trust with your customers is key to your website’s success – and ultimately, your business’ - giving them the confidence to transact online with you. In a survey by strategic marketing agency John Cabot, nearly half of respondents (46%) said that they wouldn’t enter their name, password or bank details into a site that was not secure, with 64% of these saying they would leave the site immediately.
Make your website mobile friendly
In Q4 2018, 47.2% of global web traffic originated from mobile phones. It’s no wonder, then, that in December 2018, Google announced that they now use mobile-first indexing for over half of the pages shown in search results globally.
This means that if your website is not yet mobile-friendly then your potential customers have a lower chance of finding you in search engines.
When they do arrive on your site, they are likely to get frustrated and leave if they have difficulty reading your text, clicking on tiny buttons or filling in forms that aren’t optimised for mobile.
“It’s really important you don’t lose out on getting new customers just because your website looks poor on mobile devices”, Marco says. “This is important for all websites but can be critical for certain customer demographics”.
If you’re not sure if your site is mobile responsive, you can use Google’s simple tool to check.
Optimise your site for conversion
Once your marketing has done the hard work of getting customers to your website, you want your website to deliver. “What’s the purpose of your website?” Marco asks. “Do you just want a brochure site that delivers information and lends credibility, or do you want it to generate leads?”
Marco prefers to optimise his clients’ website designs for conversion so that they can get a return on their investment in the site. Websites can be designed with conversion rate optimisation in mind at the beginning and then with continuous analysis, feedback and testing, they can be further improved.
In order to do this, it is important to understand the user journeys on our websites, Marco says. “This can be done using conversion rate optimisation (CRO) software that records users’ interactions so we can see how people use the site and a great place to start is with the pages that have the highest number of exits and the pages that people land on most.”
A common mistake Marco sees is trying to sell to your customer too quickly, too early in their journey. “You might need to slow down and guide them through a journey to read your information and case studies first, before you get to the selling part”, he advises.
Using survey software strategically can also give you a lot of great insight to help you improve your website. “Asking ‘what could we do to improve this page?’ when a user shows signs of exiting a page can give some helpful pointers that can be tested”, Marco says.
Marco Sarussi is director of Green Gecko Digital in Yorkshire, the one-stop digital company that specialises in web design, pay per click and social media management.
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