How do successful websites capture and engage their customers?

Many businesses complain that the website they spent a lot of time and money on simply isn’t getting the results they had initially hoped. Even more neglect to even consider how their site could improve their business, and if they do contemplate it, it’s likely they don’t know how to go about boosting their presence online to achieve the goals they have in mind. In these cases it’s useful to call on the help of professionals (like us!) and take a look at what others are doing in order to secure participation from those who visit their site and use it to their advantage. So just how do successful websites capture and engage their customers?

They have a purpose

Successful websites have a purpose which can be easily identified by the business owner, but also subliminally by those visiting. If you currently have a website, think for a second: what is the purpose of your site? Is it simply there to inform, or do you want to sell something through it? Confirming the purpose of your site enables you to then take a targeted approach to fulfil that purpose, as opposed to blindly implementing random tactics which may actually be hindering the success of your website rather than helping it.

They offer the user something unique that they can’t get elsewhere

Incentives on websites aren’t quite as obvious as 50% offers and calls to action emblazoned across the top banner. In fact they are all about offering the user exactly what they want – ideally something which surpasses their expectations and what they are being offered by others. You may be offering the exact same services and products as your competitors – but in a unique way. For example, on a competitor’s site, customers can only pay via PayPal, but you offer several ways to pay through a streamlined, quicker e-commerce system. Perhaps you are one of two Italian restaurants on the same street, but whilst their website simply consists of a static representation of what they do and a dated sample menu, your site is regularly updated with events via a blog, actively engages with social media, includes frequently refreshed menus and offers an easy to use calendar-based online booking system. It’s fairly obvious to see which website offers their customer more – and which they are more likely to engage with initially and return to.

They understand why user experiences are important

Successful websites offer their users the perfect experience. They fulfil their needs accurately, going above and beyond to secure a good quality visit now, which in turn promises another similarly lucrative visit in the future. The best way to understand why user experiences are important is to consider your own user experience. What engages you? What influences you to spend time on a website? If you dislike a website or find it difficult to use, then how long do you stay? It’s unlikely you’ll spend more than a minute on a site you dislike trying to figure it out. Taking this into account, why should any of your clients behave any differently?

They keep what the user wants in mind at all times

Understanding what users want is half the battle – as to effectively target your demographic, you also need to be mindful of different user experiences. Individual people view websites differently – for instance, you might love browsing a website and think it’s a dream to explore filled with engaging content; but the next person finds it busy and confusing and can’t even find their way past the home page. No two people will view the same website in exactly the same way – even if they appear to occupy the same demographic.

Many different aspects influence how users view and use sites – and whilst it might seem impossible to please everyone if your demographic is wide and varied, you can build a site which appeals to the majority without putting others off.

They stand out from the crowd

Good websites offer just the right amount of thought-provoking content. By thought-provoking, we don’t mean hard-hitting documentary clips or mind-blowing facts – it’s more to do with sparking a curiosity in the user’s mind which makes them want to explore your site (and your business) further. Sites which blend into a backdrop saturated with competitors don’t tend to perform as well as those who covertly catch consumers’ attention with clever content, intelligent design and seamless navigation which pre-empts and satisfies users’ needs perfectly.

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