Every user visiting your website represents a potential lead. They’ve clicked onto your website because they want something – and it’s up to you to show them that you can give them exactly what they want.
What are you up against that might challenge your ability to show a visitor that you’re a company they want to work with? First off, there’s your competition: as of June 18, 2021, there were over 1.86 billion websites online. This means that if a user doesn’t have a good experience on your site, they can easily leave and hop onto another website instead. There’s also their attention span: the much toted statistic online is that you have 8 seconds to grab your visitors attention. After this, you risk them straying onto their phone, getting distracted by a strange noise, or simply staring blankly into space.
What does the innumerous competition, coupled with the fleeting attention span of your visitor mean for you? It means you need to prioritise your user experience. This involves prioritising your delivery of key information and minimising any frustration users might experience whilst visiting your site. To develop a truly successful website, you need to adopt a ‘user first’ mentality.
Before delving into how you might attempt to improve your user’s experience, we should address what we mean when we think about ‘user experience’. A quick Google of the definition shows that the answer to this question is not as simple as one might initially believe. However, we like the definition given by NN Group: that exemplary user experience ‘meets the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother’ and places importance on simplicity and elegance, citing that products should be ‘a joy to own, a joy to use.’. At the end of the day, creating an exemplary user experience will drive conversions and business success.
It’s worth thinking about the top issues that users and web designers face. Some of these are merely irritants that will put your user off their visit – and some of these are deterrents that may result in permanent abandonment of your site. According to clutch.co, pop-ups are a strong deterrent to visitors, with about half of individuals polled (51%) citing that pop-ups would cause them to stop using a website permanently. In addition to pop-ups, slow load times irritate users, as well as unreliability. Unreliability encompasses things like visitors running into 404 errors, broken links and randomly moving page elements.
To develop a website that delivers a satisfactory user experience, you should bear in mind:
- Humans are visual creatures
- Humans are impatient creatures
- Humans have a limited attention span
- You need to answer key questions
- Just as many of your users access your website on their phone as their desktop
Humans are visual creatures
After looking for specific information, clutch.co found that the main reason that people visit a website is to browse images. This means that if you want to deliver an impeccable user experience, you need to be thinking carefully about the visual elements that you’ve included on each webpage. They should add value to your site. You must be careful not to include inappropriate images. Such images include: overused stock images that cause your site to blend into the background of the internet; low quality images – those that are poorly composed, badly lit, suffer from low resolution, or are blurry; and images with filters – stock images that have been recoloured should be avoided, as the inconsistency of their colour palettes spread across your site looks disjointed and impersonal.
Humans are impatient creatures
Slow loading times are highly likely to lose you a conversion. As NeilPatel puts it, speed is a killer. You’re aiming for a load time of between 2-5 seconds. When we say human beings are impatient creatures, we’re not being hyperbolic; 40% of internet users polled by dotcom-tools report abandoning a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Check out your website’s loading time using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. What’s your speed score? Whilst the improvement suggestions may prove difficult for an amateur website designer to implement, there are certainly simple fixes you can make to speed things up. As a very basic starting point, we suggest ensuring that all your images are compressed. Use a free online service like imagecompressor.com to make your file sizes as small as possible whilst still conserving quality. To continue with your website speed improvements, work your way through an online guide. We suggest crazyegg’s ‘20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion in 2020’.
Humans have a limited attention span
The key thing to remember here is not to overwhelm your visitor with too much information. Give them as few focus points as possible. Using titles and subtitles, you can actively direct their attention, so that you know you have effectively communicated your key points. Try to employ a concise summary of the information you feel it is vital your visitor understands as your headlines. Then when a user scans your text, this information will jump out at them.
Try to hit your most important points within ‘the fold’. This is the portion of your website that is visible to a user before they have to scroll. If you can grab their attention with the content on this section of your site, they are more likely to stay and convert.
Additionally, you can use a ‘call to action’ to direct their attention to what you want them to do next. People want to be told where to click. If you engage your user on a journey, their active use of your site, rather than passive reading, will result in you being more likely to keep their attention. Need some ideas for a ‘call to action’?? Check out Hubspot’s ‘40 Call-to-Action Examples’.
You need to answer key questions
Because of the aforementioned short attention span, it’s vital that your website quickly answers key questions a visitor might have. Messages should be clear and concise. Questions to answer include, but are not limited to:
- What is this site about?
- What services do you offer?
- What products/services do you offer that make you different?
- What are your visitors supposed to do next?
If you can come up with single sentence answers to these, you can quickly hook the visitors that are most likely to convert.
Just over half of your users access your website on their mobile phone instead of a desktop
Mobile functionality is vital in web design these days. This is because just as many people (or more!) are accessing your website using their smartphone as their desktop computer. If your website doesn’t function properly on mobile, you risk alienating a large proportion of your visitors.
Load up your site on mobile. Are all the links and buttons clickable? Is the text readable? Are all the images an appropriate size? What about pop-ups? Whilst they can be annoying on desktop sites, on mobile ones, they can end up rendering the website unusable.
Check out Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to find out how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device. Pop your URL into the search box. This will give you a quick answer on whether or not your website is mobile friendly, but also a screenshot of how the page looks on a smartphone screen. You’ll also be provided with a list of recommendations to make the mobile experience better.
How do you know if your improvements are working?
If you’ve started to think about your user experience improvements and have implemented a few of our suggestions, you might like to know if they are working. Have a look at your statistics. Has the traffic on your site increased? What about the average amount of time a user spends on your website? Or the number of pages they click through to?
Another thing you can do is install Google Analytics onto your site pre launch. This Google application tracks and reports website traffic for you, granting you insights into the visitors on your site.
If you’ve linked up your social media and your websites, you could also look at whether the number of interactions on your profiles has increased.
You might also think about doing active research – have a user test out the site for you and provide you with feedback. This allows you to accurately pinpoint what you’ve done well on, as well as your areas for improvement.
Adopting a user first mentality will help your website to perform to the best of its ability when it comes to generating leads for you. Put your visitor at the forefront when designing and writing your website and the benefits will soon follow.
Want some help implementing these tips? Don’t want to do it yourself? Get in contact with Shake and Speare!