Usability and User Experience
When a website’s usability is simple, easy, navigable, and obvious, more conversions (a.k.a converting site visitors into paying customers) occur. Websites are set up to display your trade, craft, products, or services, so it makes sense to do everything you can to make sure your visitors quickly ﬁnd what they want. From sizes to colors, shopping carts and policies, your site should clearly display its features in recognizable locations. This is smarter usability, a concept that creates a positive user experience.
Sadly, I’m sure we’ve all visited a site or two…(or more) that were more complicated, busy, and elusive than they needed to be. In these cases, business owners and web developers could take some time to evaluate their site with user experience in mind. With a great product or service and the following goals in mind, be ready to watch your website conversion rates increase.
Keep it Simple. Make it Useful.
The biggest secret for a positive, or even great, user experience is to keep your website simple. Don’t clutter your page in a way that competes with your product or service and its options; let your product or service stand out. Furthermore, make sure your site’s layout, navigation, and content is logical, simple and useful. A useful site allows visitors to quickly ﬁnd and buy what you have to offer.
Understand your audience’s needs, and make your site useful for them. Your audience depends on logical structure and familiar navigation. For instance, the structure should be based on headers, lists, and paragraphs, and visitors count on things like shopping carts and navigation being in familiar locations. If moving or hiding key features causes a struggle, visitors will likely get frustrated and leave your site. As far as familiarity goes, some usability experts will say that links should always be blue, however, this isn’t always the case. While blue is still the most recognized link color, links can be a different color if it is consistent and is clearly a link in your audience’s eyes (i.e. underline it or make change colors as the visitor hovers over it).
There are ways to make your site unique and creative other than complex layouts and navigation. Viewers of all generations will appreciate a site that is easy to use, read, and navigate. In that same line of thought, avoid Flash-based navigation, complex dropdowns, and other elements that serve no purpose or function to the user.
Clutter Kills Conversions. Make Actions Obvious.
Call it clutter or anything that visually confuses, distracts, or irritates your visitors, but clutter will keep visitors from searching, locating, and buying what they set out to ﬁnd. Clutter can be anything from distracting details, decorative nonsense, auto play songs, clashing fonts and colors, poor layouts, and too many options. Don’t let distractions be the reason why visitors don’t read your great content, watch your videos, or see your beautiful work. Allow your work, service, craft, or trade to be the focal point of your site, and support it with high-quality content.
Furthermore, make sure desired actions are obvious to visitors. If you want your visitors to do something speciﬁc, click on a link, download an item, share content, or add items to a shopping cart, make it easy and obvious for them to do so.
Start Fresh. Outdated Sites Kill Conversions.
In many cases, outdated websites that appear to have simple tools and simple features will still appear cluttered because it is dated: old layout options, ﬂoating colored text boxes, cramped and tiny text that’s only in one font choice…the list goes on. Basically, don’t confuse an outdated site that is simple with a clean and contemporary site.
Older sites are one of the biggest conversion killers, as they don’t contain enough visual variation (but are still visually cluttered), don’t allow focal points to “speak” to the viewer, and in some cases, may appear to be a knock-off site. Add a funky navigation system and a lack of quality content, and you’ve got a disaster. The best thing to do for your site and your business is to start fresh with a new layout and revitalized content. This may be one of the more time consuming ﬁxes in the pursuit of more conversions, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it.
Communication & Content.
Visitors should have a way to communicate with you and your company. This includes vital information like phone numbers, business hours, and your business’ address, but also includes ways for visitors and customer to report issues, submit reviews, and ask questions. It may also include social media links and other ways to stay connected with you and your business efforts. The more a visitor feels connected to you and your business, the more willing they are to support you and your endeavors. Having a great line of communication allows you to support your visitors and customers as they support you in your business.
Communication also involves your content. High-quality content helps create a good user experience, and is the best way to excite a use to take action. High-quality content doesn’t involve jargon or misspellings, come from unreliable sources, or make people question the legitimacy of your website and business.
Your website should quickly and effectively allow visitors to accomplish their mission, and creating a positive user experience is based on intuitive website practices and the idea that a website should be easy to use. Implementing ways to increase your site’s user experiences, and therefore conversions, shouldn’t be particularly hard, but before
you get started, get a group together to discuss, analyze, and report on your site’s user experience. What roadblocks stand between your visitors and a sale?