Everyone has their own list of “things I hate about websites.” It’s generally anything that gets between them and what they’re looking for.

As a franchisor, your website serves the dual purpose of promoting your products or services, as well as attracting potential business partners. That’s two very different audiences.

While the content for each audience segment will be vastly different, optimizing the overall effectiveness of your website will increase traffic and lower bounce rates, ultimately generating more results in both categories.

To make your website more effective and less hateful, here are some basic design tactics that will greatly enhance the user experience for both your target audiences.

Make Your Website as Attractive as Possible

Plan your landing pages so that they compel viewers to stay and explore. Use fonts that are easy to read, in pleasing color schemes. Create a comfortable visual ambiance; don’t attack the senses. Have a snapshot of who your company is, how to contact you, and definitely the information that brought the searcher to your site. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention and if they don’t easily find answers, they’re gone.

Some really annoying common mistakes to avoid:
  • Music that loads automatically and/or is loud
  • Distracting images or animation
  • Pop-ups that hide the information or content your prospect came for
  • Totally unrelated content

Ensure a User-Friendly Experience

Having a clear and smooth path for navigation throughout your site enables search engines and your visitors to read/consume your content more efficiently. This improves SEO (search engine optimization) and increases the time a user spends on your site. A user-friendly site will have:
  • Easy navigation with site map and/or clear directions.
  • Links that work, with fast loading times.
  • Information that is easy to access, keeping clicks to a minimum.
  • Clearly visual cues for calls-to-action: contact forms, comments, sign ups, subscription offers or “buy now” options.
  • Distinct social sharing buttons to encourage sharing your content.

Provide Relevant, Useful and Interesting Content

Everything you place on your website should be created with your target audiences in mind and be relevant to their specific interests and needs. High value content is useful, providing information and answers to the questions that brought users to your website, whether consumers or business prospects. Nothing is more annoying than wasting time on a site that never lives up to its promised content!

Regularly post fresh content in a variety of formats to encourage return visits.
  • Blog posts and articles
  • Images and videos
  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Surveys and Polls
  • White papers and eBooks

While every piece of content must provide value, not all content needs to be “serious.” There’s always room for entertainment as long as it aligns with your audience and your brand. Caveat: Just because something is funny or popular, if it alienates your audience you don’t want it on your website. Use humor wisely, inappropriate humor can backfire.

Ultimately, your goal is to provide your visitor with a positive experience. With a deliberately planned website you can drive awareness, heighten engagement and increase conversions. Providing the content that your prospects and customers want to consume, in an easy-to-use environment, is what will keep people on your site, following links, reading, engaging, commenting and sharing.

Have you done a website assessment to determine what is or is not working for you?