7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites

With the average U.S. Internet user viewing 2,750 web pages per month, how can you make your site stand out among the competition? A new ebook from Sitecore presents 7 effective habits for websites.

Download the eBook or read on to learn more about these proven principles that will help you get the most out of your most strategic marketing asset — your website.

Put Your Customers in Charge

Embrace the fact that you need to think like your prospects and customers.

The first habit of highly effective websites is to embrace the fact that you need to think like your prospects and customers. Start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes — how would they organize your website?

Your customers would make it easy to use and easy to find everything they need quickly. Is your website doing that now?

If not, it’s time to start listening and responding to your customers’ needs. Then optimize the structure, content, and tools on your site to help customers achieve their goals. By doing this, you’ll create more loyal customers and repeat business, plus you can lower support costs.

Balance UX with Business Goals

Once you understand your customers’ goals, then it’s time to align them with the business goals for your site.

To balance user experience with your business goals, you should:
  • Identify what business outcomes you want to achieve
  • Marry customer goals and your business outcomes into a set of guiding principles for your site

Making this effort can pay off in a big way. Your guiding principles enable you to achieve your business goals as a direct result of anticipating and delighting your customers. Better yet, you’ll also lower your cost of doing business as you increase conversions, and you’ll keep customers coming back again and again, which increases lifetime customer value.

Implement Your Site Goals Consistently

Just like brand and message consistency, you need to have goal consistency across your site. So, this third habit starts with the results of Habits 1 and 2. Then you apply those results – your combined business and customer goals – on a consistent, continual basis across all aspects of the site. This means ensuring you follow your site principles with every design and content decision your organization makes.

By doing this, you set your site up for greater success. Customers who can achieve their goals on your site will convert in higher percentages. And you’ll build loyalty as you consistently meet the needs of your site users time after time.

Deliver Value to Your Web Visitors

Now you’re on your way to meeting your visitors’ needs and hitting your business goals. The next thing you need to do is apply Habit 4 to deepen the relationship.

The7HabitsofHighlyEffectiveWebsites-signupTo create loyal, repeat visitors and customers, you need to create a reciprocal relationship with them. How do you do that? You offer value in exchange for your visitor providing something valuable (typically that’s information that you are asking them to provide.) For example, you can deliver helpful content, provide newsletters with coupons, or maybe you offer them a free online tool.

Look at every form, every place you ask for information, and ask yourself whether you’re giving enough value in return. And make sure you are explaining how you’re using that information so that customers don’t feel unsure about having provided you with their personal data.

By creating a reciprocal relationship, you build goodwill with customers and keep them coming back for more.

Be Honest About What’s NOT Working

No one likes failure, but it’s how you handle it that can turn it into an opportunity to delight your customers.

No one likes failure, but it’s how you handle it that can turn it into an opportunity to delight your customers. So for this habit, instead of focusing on what works, you need to look at what on your site is not working as well as it should. Because if it’s not working, that means a site visitor failed in their goal.

Let’s say your site has a search engine and your visitor searched and found nothing. What if you provided some different and/or related suggestions rather than showing a failed search result? That could turn a negative into a positive for your visitor.

Put a program in place to identify the “holes” in your site. Ideas for this include:

  • Soliciting and listening to feedback
  • Enabling visitors to rate your pages or comment on content
  • Showing visitors that you are listening when they provide feedback

Be honest about what’s not working and you’ll improve the site experience, potentially lower customer support costs, and demonstrate that you care about your visitors’ experience.

Create a Dialogue with Your Customer

“What we really need is a mindset shift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers, a mindset shift from ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships.”

– Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer for Procter & Gamble

That pretty much says it all.

Your website presents an amazing opportunity for you to understand and engage your customer. Think of how you can interact with your site visitor to create an ongoing dialogue. Some ideas might be:

  • Across multiple visits, keep prospects moving forward by providing relevant information based on what they have already done or read on your site
  • Add a share bar so visitors can share interesting, helpful content with their friends and colleagues

Sharpen Your Website’s Saw

Sharpen your website’s saw, that is, make it as effective as absolutely possible by utilizing renewal techniques that can help you keep your site up-to-date and optimized for best performance.

Consider testing messaging and concepts to see which are most effective. How about A/B split testing to determine which landing pages, which CTA, which designs result in the greatest number of conversions. Multivariate testing to test combinations of variations to determine and optimal version is also a great way to optimize conversions.

By testing, you’ll learn what messages, designs, and concepts lead to better conversions for which segments, which segment message is resonating stronger in which categories, and which campaigns resonate strongest with which segments.

And that information in turn can help you inform decisions and optimize marketing spend. And the good news is that the convergence of web analytics, web content management, and marketing automation into a single marketing management platform make it easier than ever to test and optimize performance of your online marketing efforts.

Download the Sitecore eBook, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites” today (no registration required).

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites
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About the Author

Roman Skuratovskiy
3 articles
About / Bio
Account Supervisor at Edelman, Roman represents Sitecore. Global brands rely on Sitecore to help build lifetime customers through more relevant and engaging web, mobile, social and email interactions.
Edelman PR
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