How Businesses Can Improve Their Online User Experience
Want to know how to get your business to stand out online – even among the heavyweights?
One of the main routes to greater digital visibility is User Experience (UX) and in this article, you’ll discover more about this crucial strategy and how it can drive increased traffic, higher conversions and improved revenues.
What is user experience?
UX is all about how people experience your website. It covers all the interactions someone has with it such as navigation, how well information is presented, how quickly a user can complete a task (such an e-commerce transaction or a product review) and whether the site feels secure and legitimate.
We all know the frustration of having to hunt for information on a website or a mobile app. The reality is that if a user finds it hard to locate specific information, or if the page takes too long to load, or if there are frustrating twists and turns in the e-commerce process, they usually give up and leave. And that’s the very last thing you want if you operate in a competitive marketplace.
By putting yourself into your customers’ shoes and structuring your website to make their experience as seamless, intuitive, fulfilling and hassle-free as possible, you’ll give your business the best chance of being a preferred choice. Bounce-rates will be reduced, customers will stay on your website longer, their engagement will be ramped up, the likelihood of conversions will increase and their loyalties will be strengthened.
Google places huge importance on user experience and has revised its algorithm substantially in recent times to make it a key ranking factor. So, to stay competitive in the online space, brands have to make UX a priority. It’s as simple as that.
How can businesses improve the user experience on their website or app?
Whether you’re a small local business or a larger organisation with multiple locations, your aim should be to make your customers’ online interactions the very best they can be.
In this article, we’ll outline eight steps to take to improve the UX of your website.
- Core Web Vitals
- Visibility of information
- Page loading speeds
- Website design
- Added value
- Mobile friendliness
- Social proof
1. Focus on Google’s Core Web Vitals
Google puts significant emphasis on its Core Web Vitals as a means of evaluating user experience.
So, if you’re serious about attracting more traffic and climbing the search engine rankings, you need to examine your website’s performance data against these metrics and make sure your report card looks good.
2. Ensure your site is easy to navigate
What do you do if the information you’re looking for on a website is impossible to find? Or if there’s no visible button or menu option to take you where you want to go? Of if you find yourself zig-zagging through a myriad pages in search of a particular product? You’ll feel frustrated and likely to leave the site.
Here’s where the KISS principle is worth remembering. Keep it simple and keep your users happy. Navigation should be logical and intuitive with clear headers on every page. It’s also good to include a search bar on the website, especially if you have a product-based business.
3. Make sure important information is visible
Important information should be prominently displayed. It’s all very well having a beautifully designed uber cool website that oozes personality, but if customers can’t immediately see key information like your menu, ‘Contact Us’, ‘Make a Booking’, ‘Call us Now’ or ‘Shipping Information’, they’ll leave your website pretty quickly.
Your website is also a massive brand-building opportunity, so make sure your logo features in key places such as your home page and in the ‘Contact Us’ section.
4. Speed up your page loading times
Most people are time-poor, so if they land on a site that is slow to load, they lose patience. Which means you will probably lose them. Fast loading times are essential, especially if your customers are browsing multiple pages of products or trying to order food in a hurry.
Ways to improve page speed include:
- Optimising images
- Caching pages where possible
- Avoid having too many plugins
- Reducing redirects
This is one of the key parts of technical SEO. If you’re just getting started with SEO, find out more by downloading my FREE SEO Starter Kit.
5. Pay attention to the look and feel of your website
Good website design is an important aspect of the user experience. First impressions count and customers will feel more comfortable interacting with your business online if your website exudes quality.
Avoid ‘over-designing’ it and filling all available space with clutter. And don’t be scared of white space either. It can make images and graphics stand out and brings a sense of calm and order to a page.
And remember, great content is an absolute must. Well-written, engaging, fresh and helpful copy, written for the reader’s benefit (not stuffed with keywords to attract the search engine bots!) should be high on your priority list.
6. Provide additional information about your products and/or services
Images, graphics and videos are a great way of presenting users with additional content about your offering. ‘How To’ videos, photographs of products and infographics add value to customers and can encourage them to buy (just remember to size your images correctly so that they load quickly!). If you have a product based website, don’t just copy the manufacturers description, spend the time to make the content your own.
7. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
There’s a huge difference between how a website functions on a hand-held device as opposed to a desktop. And with the latest figures from Oberlo showing that the number of global smartphone users in 2022 is estimated to be 6.6 billion and that by 2023, more than eight in 10 people in the world will have a smartphone., it’s never been more important to make your website mobile-friendly.
Things to do include:
- Use a mobile-responsive template
- Pare back content to key essentials
- Ensure images are optimised for mobiles
- Change the size and placement of your buttons
- Don’t use Flash
- Lose any pop-ups
- Use a clear, easy-to-read font
- Test your website regularly for mobile-friendliness
8. Encourage customer feedback and leverage your social proof
You should look to provide easily accessible opportunities for users to leave reviews and then feature positive endorsements in prominent positions on your website. You can even add third party reviews from sites like TripAdvisor, Google, TrustPilot and Yelp onto different pages.
This external validation can lead to the perception that a brand is quality, desirable and reputable and is known as ‘social proof’. People trust other people’s personal recommendations and tend to follow suit, so you should look to leverage this social proof wherever appropriate in order to boost your credibility and drive conversions.
The online marketplace is competitive, and whether you’re a big organisation or a small, local operator, you’re going to be up against other operators who are hungry for business. That’s why your website has to be outstanding – and stand out.
Focusing on the fundamentals of the user experience is an absolute must – and that means seeing your website from the consumer’s perspective on a practical and an emotional level. From ease of navigation, mobile-friendliness and page speeds to great design and third-party endorsement, there are plenty of ways you can maintain and improve your website’s UX and boost your chances of business growth and success.
And if you’re keen to learn more ways to ramp up your business’s online visibility, have a look at The SEO School. It’s a great online course for those who want to take charge of their own SEO and see their website climb up the search engine rankings. Plus it’s self-managed, so you can do it at your own pace and implement the strategies and tools on your website as you progress though the modules.
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