Key principles for great website design: part 2

Today I am continuing to look at the key principles for great website design. In my last blog I talked about the first three; design, functionality and simplicity and you can read that here.

In this post I will cover the remaining three.

3.Clear call to action

1. Search

I’ve mentioned this already, but is has to be ridiculously easy for customers to find the products that they need. And I mean ridiculously easy! Don’t take anything for granted. Once you have a site framework up, you need to get people to use it. Watch them and see what happens.

On the Jersey Beauty Company site, if people know their favourite brand and product already, it is very easy to find. They can just type it in the search bar, or head straight to that category. We even added a favourites feature, so when they are logged in, their favourites are right there.

But what if someone comes to the site and doesn’t know their favourite brand or product? How do they find information out?

Working the beauty/skincare industry, it worked for us to add a “shop by skin type” section. We then list the products that are best for your skin type, making it all as easy and obvious as possible.

Before I carry on, a quick aside about search bars, we have found that when people type in their product in the search bar and head straight to that page, they are more likely to buy from us. In other words, sales originating from the search bar were more likely to result in a sale than those that didn’t. For that reason the search bars are in key places on our website.

2. Recommendations

Add recommendations. Add reviews. Make them easy to manage. People love recommendations, so make sure you add these into your design whenever you can. Everyone wants to know the bestsellers. Everyone wants to know what other people who purchased this product also purchased. It’s a great way to up-sell and cross-sell products. People are curious, and adding these feature to the design is a great way to get them to search through your site and try new things.

Amazon do this very well with their customers who purchased, all purchased…statement. This is not there by accident….

Whilst we are talking about recommendations, always have reviews on your website. People read them and it influences their decision to buy. Fact. Reviews are important because they add independent credibility to your site. They give customers confidence. Don’t take down the bad ones because you don’t like them, people see through that. If you’re concerned, leave the review up but include a great response underneath it. If you get too many bad reviews, take the product out of your range, it’s not helping you. The people have spoken, listen to them!

3. Clear call to action

Last but very definitely not least, is there a clear call to action? I cannot overstate the importance of this. You do not want to hunt for the ‘buy now’ button!

When you look at the amazon product page, the call to action is really clear, it stands out from everything else. There is little colour in the menu, which is very Apple, the ‘buy now’ button is on the right hand side of the page, where it should be and it is the only thing that is in yellow. You see it instantly. It is clear.

It may sound obvious but it is important to use verbs like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Subscribe’, ‘Select’ or ‘Add to cart’ etc. They are very clear identifiers for the customer on what they should do.

I like the simplicity of the ‘buy now’ button. It’s my preference. But you can also be creative, as long as you are clear. Buttons like ‘I want to start my FREE trial’ also work well particularly as it is written in the first person.

Another mistake that we made was on the “Have you tried this?” Section of the site. There was no clear call to action underneath the image, so not many people clicked it. We changed it and the response was much better.

We have started to add buttons to images on the home page. However, you can’t assume that people know to click on the images, tell them. Make it clear and stand out.

Charity Water is a great example of a very clear call to action button on the main image. Brilliant.

Many website use the word ‘next’. The problem here is that you don’t know what is coming up. You need to tell customers what is around the corner. Amazon use  journey map at the top. So do we, so customers know where there are on the journey. Rather than Next, we used phrases like “Proceed to Checkout” on the CTA button and “Continue to payment” and finally ‘Place order”. All deliberate. All avoiding the word next.

Finally, remember that the customer faces a critical decision. Do they go on to the next stage, and press that button or do they leave your site? If there was ever a time to add reassurance, this would be a great time to do it. It is important to think about how to provide that reassurance.

Anything we can do to get customers to press that button helps your business. Don’t make life harder for yourself, make it easy!