If, like many retailers in the 21st century, your company relies on the internet to close sales, you know a slow website can be a death sentence. If customers can’t easily access your inventory or make inquiries about your services, they’ll move on to another vendor in the blink of an eye. Here are a few good best practices to adopt to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Adopt a Mobile-First Strategy
User experience (or UX) is obviously critical to web sales. A slow website can kill sales quickly, to be sure, but just as deadly is a site that is difficult to use. You need to understand that over two-thirds of consumers make purchases on smartphones or tablets, and if your website doesn’t look good on their devices, they’ll look elsewhere. Work with your web manager to adopt a “mobile-first strategy,” where the pages are built to load on the smallest of smartphone screens and then built out to standard computer monitor sizes from there.
A difficult-to-navigate or slow website can certainly be problematic, but just as burdensome is a site that’s cluttered with too much information. It can be well-intentioned like pop-up coupons, or poorly conceived like third-party ad space, but the bottom line is that clutter is clutter. Keep your design simple with lots of open space and big, easy-to-read buttons and banners.
Understand Loading Speeds
Let’s take a step back and examine one of the top culprits of a slow website: graphic elements that are too big. This seems counter-intuitive to many designers at first. After all, aren’t higher resolution graphics inherently better? In most applications, the answer is yes, but a digital element over 72 dpi (dots per inch) will take longer to render and load than many users will consider acceptable, so work to make sure logos, pictures, and other elements are smaller than that.
Stay Sensitive to Feedback
Finally, be conscious of what your visitors are saying about their experience. Monitor your reviews and feedback emails. While you don’t want to make major changes on a whim or based on a knee-jerk reaction, if you see patterns emerge, you may want to consider making changes to your interface or layout.
Much of a company’s online business lives and dies off the convenience of the customer being able to easily find what they need, get in, and get out. Once you understand that and make use of the tips above, you will find your site in a better position to be successful.