redesigning your site for the customerIs your website as effective as it used to be?

Considering that the number of sites online has doubled in the last two years alone, chances are that it is not.

It might be time to redesign your website to better appeal to your customer.

Even the way that the search engines evaluate sites has changed considerably. Optimizing your website a couple of years ago was much easier to do—you really just needed the right number of incoming links and the proper concentration of keywords. Those same practices may now come back to haunt you in the wake of Google updates.

So What Can You Do?

Here are five ways to optimize your website for today’s consumer:

1. Simpler is Better

The average Web customer has a plethora of options as to where to spend their money. They’re looking for easy, clear navigation and access to help if they need it. Having a clear information flow is important and integrating customer engagement services such as live chat and clear contact information is essential for usability. Users want to be able to get the information they want with as little effort as possible. They are not going to waste time searching for information, you have to serve it up.

The mistake that many designers make when it comes to website design is in trying to fit too much. After all, a website that has all the latest bells and whistles is going to wow people, isn’t it? Well, that’s not always the case.

You have to consider one extremely important thing when deciding what features to add in: Does it add value to the end user? If not, why are you even thinking about adding it in? All it is going to do is to slow down your site and that can mean e-commerce failure.

2. Open Spaces

Does your webpage look clear and organized or does it look cluttered?

If your site is cluttered, people are less likely to want to make the effort to wade through the information. You have about five seconds to make a good impression on the average Web surfer.

Take this time to convince them that your site is worth a look. Use simple, easy to read fonts, headings within the text and text that is properly broken down into bite sized pieces make it easy to scan. This improves the chances of your website holding someone’s attention.

Apple provides a great example. Take a look at their website and you’ll see that the majority of the screen is blank. As a result, the images and products they do have are featured prominently and really stand out.

3. Photos

Photos are important, they can make the site look great and can also convey your marketing message in a very short time. Predictions say that person-to-person marketing is going to become really big in 2015. Images of people making use of your product or service are the best ways to get this across.

Do use high quality shots, if need be, hire a photographer. Before uploading them, make sure that they are optimized for the Web. If the file is too large, it will take too long to upload on the end user’s computer. Do not overdo the images, too many images can also slow your site down, and be sure to use a program like ImageOptim to compress your images before upload.

4. Navigation

If the site is difficult to navigate, people lose interest quickly. Have a navigation bar in clear sight so that people can click directly to the pages they are looking for. The navigation bar should be available on each page. Don’t make people hunt for the “order” page or price list, most won’t bother.

Amazon does a great job of this. It’s very easy to find what you are looking for. Do a search and then filter until you find the exact version of the item you want. And the company even goes one step further by predicting what consumers may be interested in.

5. Functionality

All of these points contribute to the overall functionality of the site, but your website should lean and mean when it comes to usability features such as cross browser comparability, mobile usability and content promotion.

dollarshave

Dollar Shave Club is firing on all cylinders when it comes to each of the points listed above. From brand message to the ability of sharing with friends, this responsive design has it all. I can’t even grow a beard, but I still want to buy their products.

Have you made an assessment of your site lately? What were the most critical elements of redesign for your site?