Getting customers to your website is hard enough as is; it can be even harder keeping them there. Did you know improving their experience while interacting with your website positively affects your SEO rankings? Plus it definitely impacts your sales.
Lets take a look at a few simple ways to keep your website visitors happy! (Infographic courtesy of yourescapefrom9to5.com)
1. Grab Your Visitor’s Attention
They should be enticed to scroll down the page. Catch their attention with a short story, photo or establish an emotional connection right up front!
2. Speed Up Load Time
Most users expect a website to load between 3 to 4 seconds and anything more will mean a bad user experience. When you have a bad experience at a restaurant what happens? You rant to your friends, family, maybe even on social media sites and it’s a good possibility that you won’t return.
3. Steer Clear of Pop-ups
Pop ups are invasive and it’s best to skip them in your design plan if possible. We know, many web developers swear by the results for growing bigger email lists but most users despise them. Yes, visitors may surrender their email address but most do so because they feel obligated, not because they care to be a part of the company’s newsletter emails. This can lead to a high unsubscribe rate. If you want to genuinely grow your email list think of including a sign up widget in a slider, on a sidebar or at the top of your website in a banner format.
4. Provide Content that Interacts with Users
Not everything on your website needs to be plain text or stock photos. User experience is not about plain text, it is how the user interacts with your content. Try adding an interactive form or how to video. If you get your website visitors to think, they will enjoy clicking and moving through your site and they will be more likely to return in the future. The longer users stay on your site and click around reduces your bounce rate – and elevates your search rankings!
5. Be Social
This is one of the easiest ways to make your site more user friendly. Embedding social sharing icons for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other sites will make your content more engaging and help you reach more viewers. Keep sharing buttons in logical areas and easily noticeable. You can even enable Facebook or Google+ comments in your site instead of the usual website comments.
6. Make Use of Images
Images engage users and make your website more lively. They help break up a seemingly never ending page of text. A picture is worth 1,000 words, USE THEM!
7. Keep Your Design Simple
KISS – “keep it simple stupid” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to website design.
Think about your user first, why are they going to be coming to your website and where do they want to go? Important things such as contact information, quote buttons, blog posts and helpful videos need to be easy to find. It’s also a good idea to include a search feature on your website to help users get directly to what they are looking for without having to guess where to find it.
8. Don’t Forget UX in Your Responsive Design
Your mobile customers what a good user experience too. Remember, the amount of time spend on the internet through mobile devices has over taken traditional computer time. It is easy to make your site mobile friendly in various content management systems and plugins. Responsive design and loading times are now part of search engine ranking factors.
9. Get Feedback on Site Structure and Design
Use website feedback sites to get real feedback from a user’s perspective. Sites like fivesecondtest, and criticue can help. Be aware these review sites are a give and take community; so you will have to provide feedback first.
10. Engage with Users via Comments and Social Profiles
User experience is not limited to just the content on your site; it is also about comments, feedback and engagement. Use comments and social media to engage with your users. Customer service and branding are all part of the user’s experience.
11. Use Multimedia in Your Content
How about using video or audio to enhance the user experience on your site? Multimedia is the future of content and they enrich the user experience. Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google? Video content can also help with lowering bounce rate as they keep the audience engaged for longer.
12. Scrolling is Faster than Paging
Scrolling makes content easier to enjoy vs clicking ‘read more’ at the bottom of every page. If you break up a single piece of content into multiple pages the result is a bad experience for your visitors and they will probably leave your website out of frustration. Don’t misunderstand this though, if you have multiple pages of different content then by all means break it up into pages. However, don’t forget each time you load a page the user has to wait.
13. Lessen Scrolling Where Possible
Yes scrolling is faster than clicking through pages. On the other hand, don’t create never ending pages where the user feels they will never reach the bottom. The important thing is to have find the right balance for your needs.
14. Use Familiar Design
People like to ‘make it their own’ when it comes to design and especially web design. However, a button should look like a button and link should look like a link; don’t go crazy or make drastic changes to things on your website on a regular basis. It’s ok to be innovative and unique but also adhere to common design practices and principles.
There You Have It
Improving user experience is as easy as taking these 14 key factors into account when designing or redesigning your website. Remember good content and user experience go hand in hand. Enhancing the time a user spends on your site gives your awesome content more viewing time with your visitors; hopefully it sparks a relationship and ultimately a new or return customer! Remember improving a user’s experience is anything you can do to help the user; adding a search box or perhaps minimizing ads – it doesn’t need to be flashy or fancy.
If you liked these ideas but implementing them is beyond your web experience or design abilities we would be happy to meet with you to discuss improving your current website, from small changes to complete redesigns. We can even help if you’re starting from scratch with a new website.