Website and marketing campaigns can feel like an opportunity to do something nobody’s ever done before. It’s exciting to be presented a blank slate to reinvent your business. Unfortunately for your newfound creative freedom, there are a few reasons why most websites share similar design and navigation elements.
1. Comfort = Low Risk
Nobody likes to feel confused, or like they’re about to make a mistake. If your website’s navigation is using language, order, or design elements that make visitors feel like they can make the wrong choice, they’re more likely to make no choice – that is, leave your website altogether.
Before your customer comes to your website, they already have an idea in their mind of what a website should be, and how it should provide the information it holds. You aren’t trapped into providing something formulaic, but you do have to consider what signals to your visitors that you’re a company who deserves their trust!
Once you build trust, you can leverage the customers’ expectations of your site for sales, expanded on in this blog post from March.
2. Visitors are on Red Alert
Red Alert! Anything your site does that’s a shock or surprise often raises the “scam!” flag in a reader’s mind. It doesn’t matter if you wanted the auto-scroll or page redirect action to bring them to your cool new viral video. If it looks like you’re not respecting their control of their computer, they’ll be afraid you won’t respect their control of any transactions.
There are too many scams out there for you to get too creative with your navigation and site behavior. Keep it simple, and keep your customers.
3. Take it Easy on the Surprises!
Sure, a surprise can be a bit of fun. Maybe you think all those coupon pop-ups will delight your customer, or that ecommerce plugin that shows you know what city they’re visiting from will make them feel like you made the site for them. You’re more likely to freak them out, since it’s polite to not throw your ability to monitor your customer’s location unless they’ve given you permission to do so. “Surprise” behavior makes customers wary you won’t follow other business conventions.
Target ran into this when it started sending people coupons for pregnancy-related items, sometimes before they knew they were pregnant. A cool feat of computing, yes. A step away from a dystopia where a robot knows more about you than you know about yourself, maybe. A surefire customer magnet? Nope.
4. What does Safety Look Like?
Other indicators of trust include SSL security (which helps your SEO, too!), having an active social media presence that shows you respond to customers, and the ability for customers to leave reviews of your product on your website.
If you want to get a little out there with your online presence, it’s more likely to go over well on a social media platform than on your website. Your twitter or Instagram are places where it’s good to be offbeat, but your website is a place to be on your best behavior.
Every day, we help companies combine their products and personality into trustworthy websites.