I experienced something we’re always banging on about to our clients
and prospects: how a user-friendly website can turn a window-shopper
(in this case, me) into a happily paying customer.
with the names of three sites given to me by a music teacher, I went
online in search of a violin, knowing absolutely nothing about them
except that they’re smaller than pianos. Within thirty minutes of
clicking to and fro and round the three sites, the first had me back
and reaching for the plastic.
you’d asked why, I would’ve said it was because the deal was better,
but really, that wasn’t the only reason: the whole on-site
experience was great and had me feeling like I was in the hands of
professionals; and because the wee shopping event was so relevant to
what we do, I got all excited and immediately wanted to share it.
But understand, I’m not going to name names, okay?
first thing that’s good about the good site is the layout: it’s
clean and easy on the eye. There’s lots of white space; no shouty
colors or equally bad, no murky colors. Nor is the type small and
crammed into great blocks of tedious content.
the navigation’s easy to follow; very quickly I found two violin
packages in my price range. Clicking round, I also found answers to
my know-from-nothing questions, and thanks to succinct but
informative copy and a couple of short videos, I found answers to
questions I hadn’t known to ask.
got better from there, too.
services are extensive. Their returns policy reassuring. And their
deals sweet enough to not only benefit me on the spot but, with
their trade-in upgrade offer, in a couple of years down the line.
Done deal – after a quick look at their competition.
second site’s lay-out suffered from a lack of discipline in the art
department. Four different typefaces, in varying states of
straight-up, italic, and bold made my eyeballs bounce round
searching for something to latch on to … nothing shouts
unprofessional louder than a zoo of typefaces on a page.
nav was good but I couldn’t do side by side comparisons, so I ended
up doing a lot of very annoying scrolling up and down, and anyway,
the heavily out-lined grids of product and content gave me a
I did like were the vid demos: they were informative and it was
great to be able to listen to an instrument being played. There were
of violins of similar quality and price to those on site one, but
the services and deals left me cold.
the third site, the font size in wall-to-wall paragraphs had me
calling for a magnifying glass. The nav had me drilling down. Then
sideways. Then scrolling for half a mile until I twigged I wasn’t in
their target market anyway—not when their least expensive violin was
six times what I wanted to pay. Fair enough, you cry, but I say they
could’ve let me know a lot earlier. By then I’d lost the will to
negotiate the navigation, never mind a good deal which may have
surfaced after a massive hunt. I was out of there faster than you
can say Carnegie Hall.
thing is, while your site’s job is to sell a product or service,
never forget the subtle signals inherent in your site’s design.
After all, that’s why so much is spent on the décor and look of a
real brick and mortar store.
time you shop online, notice what turns you on or off about a site.
Or get a (courageous and unbiased) friend to look at your site, and
tell you why they would (or wouldn’t) buy from you.
here’s a quickie guide on what you can do to your website to turn
those prospects into buyers:
clean and easy-on-the-eye layout
but informative content
– and no, they don’t have to be Oscar-worthy.
course, this stuff never hurts:
last, though by now, this should go without saying:
those well-researched keywords to your fabulous site … and you’re in