Great user experience is the secret behind any successful website. Ultimately, it is a user experience that makes the difference between a high bounce rate and a high conversion rate and so it is important that you put lots of thought and effort into improving user experience.
More and more companies are waking up to the fact that in order to remain competitive online, they must invest time, effort, and money into improving user experiences. If they don’t, they will simply lose traffic and conversions to their competitors.
It is no longer good enough to just have a working website, you need to have a website that guides and assists users to their destination—the checkout page—when they are on your site.
What is User Experience and Why is it Important?
User experience is defined as “a person’s perceptions and response resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. In the case of a website, it is the use of a system.
It is important because poor user experience means poor conversions. Without conversions, a website cannot be profitable.
It’s that simple.
Think back to a time when you have come across a bad website that was difficult to use, navigate, or reach your end goal. Did you stick around? Did you purchase the product or service? Probably not.
The same applies to your own website.
Tips for Improving User Experience
With all that said, improving user experience is relatively painless and it begins with undertaking an honest assessment of your website. Don’t just rely on your own assessment, though, get opinions from friends, family, and, if you can, users and customers.
Once you have assessed your site, you can begin improving the user experience. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to doing this, here are some general tips—
1. Make sure your site is fluid and easy to use
Users will not stick around if they cannot easily make their way through your site and get to where they want to be. Like we said, simply having a website is not enough—there is a lot of choice on the internet and visitors will simply abandon your site and go to another one if they cannot instantly get to grips with it and figure out how to use it and find their way around.
Let’s face it, it is getting harder and harder to compete on the product front. It is likely that you are selling a product or service that is not entirely unique—there are alternatives out there—and your potential customers know that too.
Don’t lose out on sales by having a site that’s hard to use. Make sure it’s easy to get from A to B by having prominent, simple navigation, lots of shortcuts, and a friendly interface.
2. Make sure your website is fast
Your website and its pages need to be fast, lightning fast. Speed is now used by Google as a key ranking factor, especially for people visiting your site on mobile, and they will not give a second thought to penalizing your website for being slow by banishing you to the bottom of search engine results pages.
A key way you can work towards improving user experience is simply by having a fast website that loads almost instantly.
Potential customers won’t wait around forever for your website to load and statistics have shown this—pages that take more than 5 seconds to load will result in traffic going elsewhere over 75% of the time. After 10 seconds, nearly 100% of potential customers will click away.
Your website’s pages should load almost instantly. If they don’t, optimize them.
3. Educate your users
We’re not saying be patronizing and tell them how to use a computer. Rather, we are saying educate them about your product straight away.
Don’t force your potential customers to spend a long time digging through your site going from page-to-page to find out information about key products. Instead, have landing pages for them and use SEO to filter as much traffic as you can to them.
On these landing pages, convey your product’s value, purpose, and benefit, tell your customer what’s in it for them should they buy it. By providing information straight away, you drastically increase the chance of making a sale.