The majority of people are relatively impatient when it comes to the internet. If a website does not load in a timely manner (2-3 seconds), the viewer usually leaves and looks for another similar website that does. This is important to keep in mind when designing a website. Another important thing to keep in mind is making sure that you do not lose sight of your objective.
If you have a website and you are trying to sell something, you want all emphasis on the site put on buying your product(s). A “Buy Now” or “Shop/Store” button should be immediately visible and it should grab the viewer’s attention. It might also be a good idea to make your product(s) the first thing people see upon loading your website.
There are three rules you should follow strictly that will help ensure that visitors on your site will do what you want them to do:
- Have fast page load times
- Minimize the number of clicks as much as possible
- Make important buttons and links immediately available
If you can’t get your website’s pages to load in less than 2 seconds, then the great majority of your site’s visitors will leave and find a site that will. For this reason, you should keep your website’s pages as small as you reasonably can. All of your images should fit in a 1080×1080 pixel square unless you have a very specific reason for having an extremely large image. If you are using WordPress or another content management system (CMS) and your pages are loading slowly, consider getting a caching plugin or app that will help minimize load times.
All of your important pages should be one click away from the homepage. If you have a store, a ‘Buy Now’ button should be immediately visible. It is okay, in fact it is even encouraged to have a link to your store page in multiple places. If it is on your navigation menu (it really should be), it should be a different color that separates it from the other links on the menu to make it stand out. Your store site’s most important products should also be displayed on the homepage. The store page itself should be extremely simple. The thing(s) that your site’s visitors will want to buy should be immediately visible. A potential customer should be able to get to a product’s information in no more than two clicks after loading the homepage; One to get to the store page, and one to get to the product. The checkout page should be especially kept as simple as possible (to prevent cart abandonment). On store sites that I design, I set it up so the customer creates an account on the same page he/she puts his/her card information. I set it up so that the email is the username and he/she only has to create a password. Upon purchasing an item on the site, the customer is automatically logged in. This isn’t uncommon or revolutionary and many store sites do this, but this is an example of how your checkout should be fast and seamless in order to minimize cart abandonment. If you have a blog site, your individual blog posts should likewise be no more than two clicks away. Just remember that website viewers are most often impatient.
I touched on this above, but I really want to emphasize my point. Too often to I see websites that feel like a maze of information that I don’t care about that I have to search through to find what I need, or the button I want to click to get to what I need. Most people don’t read the large paragraphs shown to them on websites they visit. Keep the most important stuff at the top or towards the top of the page. In fact, if something doesn’t really need to be there, don’t put it there at all because it will just make the page take longer to load. This is especially important on mobile devices. As time goes on, more and more website visits are coming from mobile devices. You should disable many sections that you would normally have on computer screens for mobile devices. These include large bodies of text, animated displays and pretty much anything made for a large screen that won’t fit or just won’t look good on a phone. If you do not disable these things on mobile devices (using CSS media queries by the way), they will just be annoying things that visitors will have to scroll through that will increase your page’s load time. You may want to also disable certain images. You should be able to determine if something doesn’t look good on a phone and whether or not you should disable it for mobile. Overall, important buttons and links should be relatively big and obvious without being obnoxious. They should also be at the top of your page. The first section of the homepage that people see immediately after loading your site is the most valuable section of your entire website. It is the perfect place to put important things that people can immediately click on without scrolling. This being said, you still want to make sure this section (most commonly called the ‘hero’ section) looks nice because you still want to leave a good first impression of your website.
These are important tips that will minimize site abandonment and should help guide your site’s visitors to the pages you want them to see. Most importantly, they will get your visitors to click what you want them to click, and read what you want them to read.