In today’s digitized world, your website is the most powerful marketing tool. Even if you primarily sell through your brick-and-mortar facility, the majority of your potential customers will first research your business online.
As for online shoppers, a lot of them expect to buy something the day they visit a brand website. If your website doesn’t provide a fine user experience, the purchase will likely be made somewhere else. The fact is that 95% of customers distrust businesses with poor website design.
To encourage site visitors to navigate through and stay on your website for longer as well as to reduce the bounce rate, you need to optimize your website’s user experience. This should translate into increased engagement, leads, and conversions.
Here are some tips to optimize your website for best user experience:
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
More than half of the global web traffic comes from mobile devices. According to Statistica, mobile devices accounted for 51.53% of website traffic in the 2nd quarter of 2020. That proportion has been hanging around the 50%mark since the start of 2017.
Furthermore, according to Impact, 48% of users say they get frustrated with a company that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly site. More importantly, 91% of them say they aren’t likely to deal with such a brand. This clearly means that ignoring your website’s mobile experience can deprive you of tons of potential customers and, in turn, revenue.
Hence, the top marketers are one step ahead. When others are still considering ‘mobile-friendliness’, they have adopted a ‘mobile-first’ approach.
Most website developers claim they’ll create a mobile-friendly site. But Instead of taking their word blindly or assuming things, test the website on different devices yourself. It’s important to know that it’s not a one-time job. Your website’s mobile-friendliness can be affected over time as you make changes to it. You need to regularly test its performance by manually visiting the site on different devices and by using specialized tools. The most popular tools to test your website’s mobile-friendliness are Google Mobile-Friendly Test, SmallSEOtools, and Bing Mobile-Friendliness Tool. All these tools are free.
When testing your website’s mobile-friendliness, pay attention to how long it takes the site to load. That’s the first site aspect that defines the user experience. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than 2 seconds to load. As stated by Kissmetrics, 40% of the site visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Moving on, consider how images and text appear on your website on mobile devices. If you see overlapping elements, multiple columns on display at once, or cut-off images, you have to make many changes.
Another indication of a poor mobile site experience is when users need to put in a lot of effort to read the text, click or select desired options, navigate from one page to another, etc., on your website. So make sure to test all these features out for problems. Once you’ve traced the issues, take the time to improve your website’s user experience on mobile devices by coming up with appropriate solutions or by getting in touch with professionals.
Eliminate 404 Errors
After slow page-load times, the next most off-putting issue on websites is a 404 error page. Encountering a 404 error page can be highly frustrating and annoying for the user.
The situation is more serious when a user is already on your website and clicking an option leads them to a 404 error page. The experience makes them rethink whether they’re on the right website. Even if they plan to stay, navigate, and take actions on your website, the error completely disrupts their journey across the platform. Hence, it’s important to track and eliminate any 404 error pages before a potential user lands on one of them.
To track 404 errors, the most important step is to set up Google Webmaster tools on your website. This free 404 checker can also help you track broken links. To minimize the negative impact of a 404 error on visitors, you may also develop a creative error page, adding a little bit of humor to it, and providing an option to get back on track.
Allow for Easy Navigation
Ease of navigation is one of the most important factors impacting site user experience. Therefore, among the most useful tips to optimize your website for best user experience is to simplify navigation on your website by including a well-thought-out menu. When you’ve defined your exact target audience, think about what they’d be looking for on your site. Viewing things from the visitors’ perspective should help you set up a useful menu that not only facilitates a seamless navigation experience but also optimizes conversions.
On the other hand, no matter how qualified or relevant the traffic is, if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll soon switch the tab to a competitor’s website. Therefore, you need to make it remarkably easy for visitors to find things on your site. This calls for a user-friendly menu. Here are some features of a user-friendly menu:
Short and Simple
Website menus aren’t a place to demonstrate creativity or inspiration. They should be simple and include words that your visitors already have in mind. When the words align with the ideas visitors are familiar with, they’ll immediately know where to go on your site.
Also, try to keep your menu short. A menu with too many options can confuse the user and distract them from the most important options on-site. A short, simple menu means that the visitor won’t have to think very hard about what to do next. The best menus will take the users through the exact navigation path you want them to take and go through.
Drop Down Menus
If you have too many items that must be included in the menu, an ideal strategy is to use a dropdown menu. For example, if you have multiple services to offer, tier them into a dropdown under the ‘Services’ tab. Site visitors will know exactly where to find your offerings.
However, just as too many menu options can confuse the visitor, too many site pages can make them feel lost. When it comes to shopping or finding information online, choice paralysis is a common problem faced by visitors. Hence, even when you use a drop-down menu, try to limit the number of options leading to separate pages as much as you can.
Relevant to Each Page
While most websites will have a standard menu on all its webpages, you can do something different to improve the navigation experience and accelerate the visitor’s progress in their buyer journey. When someone visits a landing page on your website, display options that are most relevant to them. Prompt them to take actions that are suitable at the particular stage of the buyer journey they’re in.
Let’s take an example of the blog section to clarify this. A user that first comes to the blog section of your site, perhaps by clicking a link on a search engine or other sites, should be allowed to get to know you through your blog first. Thus, it won’t be sensible to display pricing, reviews, or similar options on the menu on the blog page. If they find value in your content, they’ll go to your homepage to see the entire menu on their own.
You need to have a search box on every page of your site. Site visitors want to quickly find something not included in the menu, and search boxes let them do that.
In fact, some website users have become so habitual that they’ll first try the search bar, and then move on to the menu. Hence, including a search box on your website next to the menu can increase conversions by 34%.
Maintain Consistency Throughout Your Website
To deliver a seamless user experience as people navigate your website, it’s important to assure them that they’re still on your site. Websites with inconsistent webpages can make visitors feel lost and confused.
From the users’ perspective, an inconsistent web design lowers the quality of products or services you’re offering, regardless of how illogical it may sound. If variations are too drastic and noticeable, they’ll lose trust in your site and end up leaving.
Hence, use a standard theme across all pages to maintain consistency through the website. Everything, including heading font, font color, spacing, illustration styles, button styles, images choices, etc., should complement each other.
Help Users As Much as You Can
No matter how quickly your website loads or how easy navigation is, if you try to hide things such as pricing or other insights users might be interested in, they’ll never trust you. INC magazine’s Label Insights Study revealed that 73% of the users will pay more for a product or service if the company is looking fully transparent. It also found that 39% will switch to a business that seems more transparent than the existing one.
This is because when you keep things unclear, users get skeptical and believe they may not get what they paid for. They become suspicious when you withhold important product or service information. Thus, one of the most valuable tips to optimize your website for the best user experience is to provide them with all the information they need to make a rational purchase decision. This way, they’ll be more likely to buy from you and pay more for your services.
That’s the reason businesses are deriving massive results from content marketing, which is all about helping and providing solutions to customers’ problems. This could be as simple as uploading a blog post about how to choose a service provider such as a web development agency. Miraculously, that’s how many users want brands to reach out to them; through insights that help them land and buy the best product or service.
Many website owners don’t recognize transparency as a factor impacting user experience. Now that you know its impact, show your customers that you have nothing to hide.
Use Hyperlinks and Bullet Points In Web Content
When you include a link on a webpage, use easily recognizable visual cues to make them easily identifiable. You need not come up with something new to differentiate a hyperlink. For a regular web user, blue-colored or underlined text is known to direct them to another webpage. Make the most of what you know about customer expectations and web usage and you will notice an increase in conversions.
When creating a hyperlink, avoid pondering over how many words to highlight. Generally, links should be easier to identify if you highlight more than one word. For example, if you highlight the entire phrase ‘click here to study some website maintenance tips’, it should be more identifiable and engaging than if you only highlight ‘click here’.
To wrap things up, user experience is a crucial aspect that can make or break the game for your business website. Regardless of what you want to achieve through your website, you certainly want users to stay on your site for longer. If that’s the case, follow the above-explained tips to optimize your website for the best user experience.
If you want to set up a user-friendly website for your growing business, connect with Nora Kramer Designs today.