The Phoenix Trail is a disused railway track converted to a shared use path for walkers and cyclists, connecting two market towns in the Chilterns. Start cycling the trail and within 60 seconds the countryside is rolling around you. Dotted along the way are interesting remnants from the past railway…signals now used as signposts, sleepers re-purposed as benches and so on.
The view is clear for miles around, no obstacles on the path in front, and on a clear spring day it’s the best place to drink in the morning sun. Give it a few more minutes and you know you’ve come to the right place to literally feel the cobwebs blowing away from your mind one by one.
The average visitor of a website will spend less than a minute deciding if they’ve come to the right place or not and, if they have, perhaps entertain clicking around a few times before going on somewhere else. Most websites get a few seconds of reading attention per page, and at best two or three pages consumed before a user moves away. Faced with a path that’s difficult to navigate, perhaps hard to see as it’s buried under other content or not clearly signposted, the user will leave in search of a better experience.
Of all the marketing channels, a website is arguably the most important place for your brand identity to be crystal clear. It’s a key indicator of what you’re like to do business with and your company personality. Simple and easy in navigation and page structure, a highly visual design which makes an impact and is memorable, uncluttered and values-based content will all showcase this. This is where your brand identity needs to shine, you need to ‘throw those curtains wide‘ to give the user a really clear view of who you are and what you do. Your homepage needs to make a statement and draw the user in leaving a lasting impression of the view.
Investing the time in your content strategy is an evergreen task, as is keeping the website up-to-date and moving content around so it pops up in new places. An active blog and regular news features will both promote your knowledge expertise and maintain a steady flow of traffic through social media, giving the impression to customers and potential recruits alike that there are things happening here, it’s a dynamic place to be not a static one. You are content-rich!
Quick access to your main products or services is central, supported by lots of case study evidence to back up your claims and impress your customers – of course you’re amazing! Even better is publishing testimonials from your customers or clients saying so. Make it easy for users to get in contact with enquiries and respond quickly when they do.
A good website will see you right for employee engagement too. It gives staff a destination for quickly finding answers in meetings and endorsing their total company knowledge, as well as affirming they work in a vibrant and interesting place to their friends and family. Your website is your company vision brought to life, create a clear and beautiful experience and your visitors will enjoy the ride.
Which websites do you like to visit and revisit? What is it about the content and / or design that makes it a memorable experience?
Images copyright: Becky Jones. The Phoenix Trail.
Song credit: Elbow. Watch the music video here.