The moment visitors land on your website, can they work out what you do within the first 5 seconds or so? Can they easily navigate around the site without being confused? If you have a pricing structure, is it easy to understand?
A good indicator for all the above is your bounce rate! Is it high, is it low? Do you even know how to check your bounce rate? When was the last time you checked?
If the answer is “no” to any of the above, you really need to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your website and how it’s designed.
Its not good enough for your website to be brilliant in a handful of things, it must be brilliant all round, e.g. content, layout, colors, functionality, navigability and so on. Everything described here falls under “user experience”, a term we here all-to-often but how many of us pay much attention to it?
Your site needs to be clear and concise in the way it communicates with your audience. What you do, how you do it, how much you do it for, needs to be clear. Don’t get caught up in writing paragraph after paragraph of how brilliant your company is and how many geniuses work for you. Stick to what your audience wants and needs. Address your audience, period!
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty of what you should be doing, a bit about myself. I am a freelance digital consultant based in the north of England. Personally, I have more than 10 years of experience building and developing websites as well as internet marketing. I work regularly with some of the leading website designers in Leeds. I attribute much of my success to the vast experience I have, which includes SEO, local SEO Leeds, PPC, digital branding, mobile marketing and much more!
Now back to the subject at hand…perfection is perfected so let ‘em understand! (only joking)
So how do you improve your website?
Well, I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that I feel can make a real difference to your site:
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10 Tips to Improve User Experience and Conversion Rate
1. Plan the Job lot at the Outset!
Your first step SHOULD NOT BE redesigning your website! Your first thoughts should be spent on considering how the needs of your audience will be met. Workout out “funnels”. How the audience will be subtly guided towards becoming your customers. Think about what pages they should be viewing, and what those pages should contain. Do you have any offers that will lead to conversions? Gaining an understanding of “funnels” will help you identify how to start designing your site.
Therefore, the next natural step will be to start designing your site whilst keeping everything I’ve described in mind at all times. You must answer the right questions at the right times and in the right order. A bit of market research wouldn’t go amiss here. Talk to people, ask for their opinions. You can even embed surveys on your site asking your audience important questions on how you can improve their experience.
2. You Need to Remove Certain Things!
Experience has taught me that its essential to remove certain things from your website from the outset. Things that are likely to distract or put off your visitors pretty much immediately. These things include:
- Cheap quality images
- Unnecessary elements there just to reduce white space
- Content that goes on forever and ever
- Bad logo design
The average visitor has an attention span lasting no longer than 7 or 8 seconds. If your visitor does not find what they’re looking for, chances are they will hit the back button. You need to cram in all the main features of your site in the little window you have. I recommend having the following on your site:
- Short and snappy headings
- Attractive/unique images
- Eye-catching icons
- Compelling call-to-action blocks
Avoid ramblings. Keep your written content to the point. No one wants to read long-winded articles if they’re not bringing something new to the table. If anything, you are likely to peeve your visitor instead of satisfying their search.
Keep away from corny words that have been killed off over the years because they’ve been overused “amazing”, “guarantee”, “next best thing”, “robust”, “groundbreaking”, you get the picture, right?
3. Learn to Use Google Analytics/Webmasters Tools
Google provides probably the best SEO tools out there. So rather than spending hundreds of dollars every month, learn to use Google Analytics. The information available is nothing short of incredible. This tool gives you the bounce rates, user acquisition, devices used, search engines used, time spent on a page, geographical locations and I can just go on and on but that’s subject for another day.
Google Webmasters tools are equally good. It allows google to communicate with site owners. This tool also makes you aware of any on-site technical issues such as sitemaps, incoming links, search appearances and so on.
4. Add Social Share Buttons
If you feel that your content is the next best thing since sliced bread, you should give your visitors the opportunity to easily share it. Look at it this way, if your site doesn’t have social share buttons, you could potentially be missing out on tons of social media traffic!
It’s very easy to add these buttons, especially if you use WordPress to build your sites. There are literally hundreds of social sharing plugins that aren’t only free to use, they are incredibly easy to install.
- 5 Fun Ideas To Spice Up Your Social Media Marketing
- What I Wish I Knew a Year Ago About Social Media Marketing
- How To Increase Your Social Media Followers In Less Than Two Weeks
5. Prominent Call-to-Actions
Call to action blocks are extremely important. You should always look at it this way…once visitors land on your site, do they know what to do next? I’ve seen many sites that leave me wondering what the hell do I do next? Can’t find any buttons, the navigation menu contains maybe 3 or 4 links that have nothing to do with my search, and there isn’t a footer that could be used as a navigator. You get the picture I’m sure.
6. Make Sure You Use the Correct Images
Do the images on your site have any relevance to your site? Do they carry the message you’re trying to send to your audience? It’s ok being artsy-fartsy about your images such as using abstract but be reasonable. Chances are most of your audience isn’t the artsy-fartsy type, and you’ll just end up confusing them by using images that are supposed to make you ponder!
There are many places you can pick up stock images for free, so spending a bit of time finding the right images for your pages is time well invested.
7. Navigation Options
Make sure your visitors don’t experience difficulties navigating around your site. The first thing to look at is your main menu. All the main sections of your website should be accessible through this menu. Most WordPress themes allow you to have up to 3 menus (main, header, and footer), you should maximize using all 3.
Furthermore, your call-to-actions are a great way of keeping your visitors in the right places.
8. Embrace White Space
White space isn’t something that will negatively affect your site, contrary to what you might have heard. Part of a positive user experience is the amount of time your visitor stays on your page. Having massive chunks of text is a put off for most people. Make use of paragraphs, images, page breaks and keep the read interesting. Also try using different styles of text, speech boxes and so on.
9. Check Page Speed
Slow loading sites/pages are not a good user experience. Research has shown that slow-loading pages, typically those that take longer than 2 seconds to load cause 87% of your visitors to hit the back button, directly impacting bounce rate. Use Google PageSpeed insights to check how quickly your site loads. Google is kind enough to provide you with some pretty in-depth feedback on the stuff that’s slowing down your site. Typical causes include large image files and coloring pages.
10. Mobile Optimization
Your site must be optimized for mobile. Google is coming down hard on sites that are not fully responsive to different devices. A 2015 survey found that a massive 52.7% of internet users access the world wide web on their mobile devices. So, if your site doesn’t load properly on mobile devices, it will soon begin to slide in the search engine rankings. If you’re using WordPress, thankfully there are thousands of free fully responsive themes that you can easily install.
These are just some of the on-page techniques that have worked for me time and again. Do you have any tips that work for you that I’ve not mentioned? Leave your comments in the section below, I’d love to hear from you.