A company website is an extension of your brand, and in many cases, it is the primary expression of your products or services to your customers. To avoid getting lost in the sea of billions of competing websites, you must stand out, stick in your visitor’s brain and be memorable. While the visual design of your site is a good place to start, it is not the only place to make an impression. Ideally, a website strives to achieve memorability in multiple areas continuously. Here are some things to keep in mind:
The visual first impression of your site is your choices of font, color, proportion, texture and layout that make up the look and feel of your site. Ideally, your website has a visual design that fits with the expectations of your visitors and conveys a feeling that aligns with your brand (e.g., professionalism, artistry, stability, friendliness or whimsy). This is important, but given the sheer number of websites, it is often not memorable and, instead, just necessary. It is critical to have the visual design of your website not be a detractor when visitors can simply find their information elsewhere. Which is to say, if you have a visually outdated or clunky website, people will often dismiss it. If you have a beautiful website, they will feel more confident that this is the right place, then dig in and explore.
How you speak to customers on your site is an extension of your brand just as much as the visual design is. Your brand voice, or the words you use and the tone you take in all communication, is a way to connect with customers on a more personal level. Your voice can be funny, informative, authoritative, down to earth, and, depending on the audience, even crass. However, to be memorable, you must be consistent everywhere. This begins with pages on the website and extends into social media and every corner of the internet. Your voice is your brand personified, and if it feels disjointed, it will fade away into the sea of other voices.
User Experience (UX)
In the area of user experience, creating something novel is dangerous. In many ways, the user experience is like the heating and cooling in your home – you only care when it is broken. An unpleasant experience is frustrating and memorable in the worst way, and if a customer has been to a site with a poor user experience, they will look elsewhere for future needs. If a consumer had a great user experience, truthfully, they may not even notice. Most often, UX is memorable in comparison. If two sites offer the same products and services, it is the one with the better UX that captures the repeat visitors.
Speed also plays a big part in user experience. Slow sites are aggravating and quickly dismissed for another option. Even sites that are doing everything right in other areas are lumped in with bad sites if it takes too long to see the first page and move between pages.
While customer service extends beyond the website, there are clear ways to win and lose fans in this area. The principles are the same online and off. Online chat is a great tool, but it is only as strong as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) service, or actual person on the other end. FAQ sections to address common customer questions are a great resource too, but they need to constantly grow and evolve as new questions come in. If ways to reach your company are listed on the website, then there is an expectation that communication will be met with a timely response.
Product, in this case, is defined in the abstract. The product can be a physical widget, or your people, expertise, services, or company itself. Regardless of what it is, this is your greatest opportunity to be memorable. Aside from careers, it is the primary element of your site that visitors look for. If you sell shoes and a customer loves your design, this is what they will buy, remember and, hopefully, share with others. This boils down to your product being the star of your site more than anything else, so give it center stage.
Further, make sure that everything that surrounds your product supports it, from great images to descriptive text and all the hidden metadata that search engines grab. If your product can star in a movie, then add one. If it can travel to the metaverse, then take it there. Visual design, brand voice, user experience and customer experience are the supporting cast. They can help make the product more memorable, but they should never steal the spotlight.
Great websites take advantage of everything that the digital landscape provides. They are functional, findable and memorable. For additional insights on creating great websites, check out part one of this series covering functionality and part two on findability.