In this day and age, it is extremely important to have a presence online. However, just having a website isn’t always enough. A website’s layout and content play huge roles in its effectiveness. Statistics show that:
- 85 percent of users leave websites due to poor design.
- 40 percent never return because the content was hard to find.
- 83 percent of users leave because there were too many clicks to find what they wanted.
- 75 percent of visitors admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
The last thing you want is for users to abandon your website once they get there. Here are some tips on how to create an effective website to keep your viewers happy and coming back.
- Identify your target audience.
Figure out who you want coming to your website and determine what they are looking for. If your target audience is men and women ages 40–60, you probably shouldn’t use lingo only teenagers would know.
- Set goals for your website.
If you aren’t setting goals, then how will you know what you want your website to accomplish? First, determine what you want your website to do. A few common things websites are designed to obtain are donations, volunteers and awareness.Then, make sure your website is set up to achieve these goals. Dedicate pages for donations or volunteer information.
- Understand how users interact with your website.
It is important to know how people are using your website and where they are coming from. There are many online tools that can help you track what users are doing. Google Analytics is a free online tool that will tell you who visited your site, how long they stayed and what pages they viewed. It can also tell you how users found your website, so you can know if your efforts are paying off. The tool will show if users found your website directly, through a search engine or through a referral (like social media).
- Brand your website.
It is vital to align your website with your brand. Place your logo on every page and use the same color scheme on each page. You want to make sure users know exactly whose website they are viewing.
- Keep it simple.
Your home page should immediately tell what your church is about. Tabs for other pages on your site should also be easily found. Remember, 83 percent of users leave websites because the content was hard to find and 40 percent of those users will never return.
- Make your contact info easy to find.
Internet users have the attention span of a toddler. If they can’t find your information fast, odds are they will leave and not come back. At the very least, have your phone number at the bottom of every page. However, putting your address and email on every page will make it very easy for new or current users to contact you when needed.
- Focus on web design.
The way your website is laid out is just as important as the content on it. Studies show that people scan web pages in an “F” pattern and rarely see what is on the middle or bottom right of the screen. Make sure your most important information is in the top right of each web page.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
It is very common for people to access websites from multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Making sure your website is mobile-friendly will enable your site to be effective on every platform.