Every site owner wants a website that provides a good user experience for each current and prospective fan. Unfortunately, many fail to accomplish this goal. You’ve undoubtedly seen clunky, unnavigable websites where finding information seemed downright impossible. Do you remember your response?
If your answer is “I left the website,” you’re not alone. These days, few people have the patience for awkward, unattractive, or confusing websites, and most will navigate away when they come across one.
The good news is that you can take precautionary steps to keep this from happening. First, watch this video to learn about how using personas can help you guide your design:
Now that you have a better idea on how personas can guide your UX and design, let’s look at some more tips for creating a great website experience for users.
Following a few guidelines can make a world of difference. Here are three tips for improving the user experiences across your site.
1. Make everything simple
You might not remember the early days of the internet, but back in 1997 (when ecommerce was still in its infancy), a man named Jeff Bezos was obsessed with the idea of making it easy for people to purchase books on his website. His goal was to allow shoppers to buy books with the click of a button. His company’s name: Amazon.
You might not be the next Amazon, but you should still become obsessed with making it easy and quick for your online shoppers to find whatever they’re looking for.
This can partly be accomplished by choosing the right theme, but a large piece of the puzzle involves deciding what content should be placed on your site and where. Do you run a catering company? Your homepage should make it easy for people to find your menu and rates. Your service area and costs shouldn’t be hidden three pages deep into your site.
Guess what happens when you make it difficult for your visitors to find particular information, or to make a purchase. Most of them will navigate to a different website that makes these processes easier, not harder.
2. Remember your purpose
Why did you create a website? If your answer is “to make money,” you’re probably not optimizing your site’s (or your business’s) potential. The correct answer is “to serve your audience.” If you truly take a service-first approach, your blog or business will go much further.
How does this translate into creating a good user experience? Here are a few examples:
- Imagine that you embed a pop-up form on your blog that prompts visitors to sign up for your newsletter. A site dedicated to serving customers will display this form after they reach the end of a blog article, rather than once they open the site, as Kissmetrics recommends. This gives visitors a chance to determine whether you’re offering something that’s valuable to them before they subscribe.
- If you’re hosting an end-of-the-year sale, you could display sale information (discounts, which products are included, how long the offer lasts) front and center on the homepage of your website so that visitors are aware of how they can save money.
- Rather than featuring long, dense paragraphs on your homepage, a customer-centric site should provide short, simple lead-in text with a “Learn More” button. This allows visitors to quickly obtain basic information before deciding if they want to further read into your site.
When designing a good user experience for your website, consider how you would like to be treated as a shopper, or what you would want to see if you were a first-time visitor.
3. Incorporate your personality
Whether you like it or not, your business is a brand. It’s true whether you’re a blogger, a restaurant owner, or a fast-growing software company. People are making instantaneous, often unconscious judgments about you based on what your website looks like, how well it reads, and which photos you feature.
Use this reality to your advantage by infusing your site with your brand voice. This allows you to better connect with prospective shoppers and earn a loyal following of fans.
For instance, if you’re in a specific niche with its own unique insider “language” (surfing, golfing, knitting, gaming, etc.), your text should demonstrate your expertise to visitors. Colors also provide important visual cues. If you’re a DJ, it makes sense to feature a chrome background on your website; if you’re a parenting blogger, not so much.
How much humor or edginess do you use? What colors are the best choices? Only you can be the judge of what will align with your brand and fans. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your branding, though — when done tastefully, adding spice to your website can set you apart from the competition.
Now you have the information needed to create a good user experience on your website! Go forth and begin building your site, and take comfort in knowing that you have the power to keep people on your website for longer periods of time.
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