Article by Prince Chiramba
Companies spend a lot of time and money developing their websites. After that, they invest hugely in SEO to drive traffic to their websites. Surely visitors come. But what happens when visitors land on your website is the difference between success and failure. This is where User Experience (UX) comes in.
User Experience determines whether your visitors will pull out their wallets to buy or not, whether they come back again or they will say goodbye, go somewhere else and never return. By definition, User Experience is a “person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and or anticipated use of a product, system or service.”
When people are searching for information, products or services on the internet they do not choose what website they land on. All they want is what they are looking for. When they discover your website through the help of social media or search engines that is where all the juice is tested.
As a Web designer and digital marketer, I know that your entire website is complementary to what a user feels and perceives. Therefore it helps them to make a decision to either do business with you or not. “But what must I be mindful of to make sure my user experience is great?”, you might ask. In no particular order here are some of the things to consider on your website.
It is always a good idea to hire a competent and professional web designer rather than doing it yourself. A professional web designer can save you a lot of time and mistakes that could break your sales in the long run. Sometimes the budget might not allow you to hire a professional so you will be forced to do it yourself. Here is what to do: before you launch your website, do some User Experience Tests.
Find a dozen of people who do not know much about using websites and get them to navigate through your website while you watch over their shoulders. Ask them to visit the Blog or any page without telling them where it is or how to find the menu. See how easy it is for them to navigate, to search and to browse through your website. Let them tell you what they think because most of the time your visitors are just like them – they may not know much about websites. Ask them to list all the negative things and then try to correct them. Do not forget to thank them.
I can not stress how frustrating it is to hit a broken link. When you change a product or anything on your website, it is imperative to fix the link that was anchoring the product. You lose your visitors the moment they click a broken link.
Imagine a visitor wants to add a R5000 product in the cart and the link takes them to Facebook, then they see a comment from their longtime friend… they are already distracted! They are gone. You lost money. You lost a customer that will be very difficult to get back. Think of how many visitors may click that link in a day, in a month or in a year for instance. How much have you lost in revenue due to a broken link? Tools like ahrefs.com and Broken link checker plugin for WordPress can come in handy in discovering and fixing broken links.
The greatest temptation that most people fall for is the idea of selling to everyone. If you sell cycle gear it does not mean everyone with a bike is your customer. In marketing, we call it market segmentation. This is where you group your potential market into segments including geographics, demographics, psychographics and behaviour and then you target the suitable market segment. Your image, as well as style,e should communicate to your target market. Don’t use images of youth if you are targeting older people and vice-versa.
Do not use US Dollar currency if you are targeting South African consumers. This is a huge turn off to local clients – they think they have landed on the wrong website.
If you are a multinational business, sometimes it is better to have a dedicated subdomain and website for a specific country and have it written in the appropriate language and currency. Have a defined target market and target them well.
We all make mistakes when writing, but when your website text and copy looks like it has been written by a grade-2-kid… really! No one will pull out their wallet to checkout. You might not be good in English or the language that your site is written in. That is okay. What you need to do is hire a professional copywriter to do all the dirty work. Do yourself a huge favour by such an act. Alternatively, at least use a grammar and spell checking tool like Grammarly.
Do not allow the do-it-yourself-syndrome to kill your sales because it can cost you big time in the long run. You will thank me later when the bank notifications are screaming on your phone.
When I did the Web User Experience course, one of the key things the lecturer emphasised was the use of graphics to enhance user experience. By nature, human beings are inclined to beautiful things. Having great images can create a spot-on user experience. Invest in a good camera and product photography setup or use stock images.
Try not to use images captured by a low-resolution smartphone. It’s annoying to look at hazy, low-quality images, logos and graphics. It is always good to have a great logo that does not lose quality when it is zoomed either on your images or on the website itself. It’s little things that make the big differences.
You do not want to see the about us section when you want to checkout. Make sure your pages are arranged in a meaningful way. As human beings, we understand things in a sequence. Make sure your menu follows a logical structure. The layout of your page must be in an easy to understand sequence. Your checkout process should be easy and understandable to avoid abandoned carts.
Reduce the number of links in your top menu. Those less relevant pages and links should be put in the footer menu but make sure they are visible. It should be easy for your visitors to come back to the home page. At maximum it should take two clicks to return to the home page, regardless of the page they are on.
People do not have time to waste. Nobody wants to turn 80 while checking out on your website. Depending with what you sell, try to remove any distractions on the checkout page especially if you are a smaller or lesser-known brand.
Customers are more awake when they need to part with their money. Anything perceived as mysterious will result in abandoned carts. As a web designer and digital marketer, I know people can be obsessed with cross-sales and up-sales in the checkout but that can be a distraction to your clients. It’s better to do it when you have lots of return customers and steady revenue or use email marketing for that purpose.
Gone are the days of good looking websites only. We are now in the days of User Experience. How you make your website visitors feel is more important than having a lot of traffic. Traffic can only convert at the soundness of user experience. If you have a lot of abandoned carts or a lot of traffic but low conversion, you should start investigating your user experience.
Hire someone more experienced to do the job for you if you can not do all the tricks.
Remember there are about 2 billion websites on the web. That is a lot of competition. People become accustomed to the UX they are having across the web, so if your UX is poor your customers will just visit the next website and they are gone. Gone for good. You need to crush the competition and scoop all the money.
Prince Chiramba is a professional Freelance Web designer & Digital marketer. Passionate about creating disruptive, cutting edge websites and digital marketing strategies that position organizations as leaders in their industries. He has worked with a number of companies across South Africa. When he is not behind a computer he will be reading a book or cycling in the hoods. His bike is his toy.
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