In today’s globalised world, websites cannot and should not be viewed as anything less than a primary reference point for customer impressions. A good user experience will encourage customers to access your products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and drive your sales and brand image to unassailable levels. Contrastingly, a negative user experience will force customers right into your competitors’ hands. At this point, drawing them back to your business is effectively impossible.
Leading research suggests that businesses have just 50 milliseconds to visually entice customers before the risk of website abandonment increases exponentially. Having said that, it is clear that it has never been more important to focus your resources on improving user experience and encouraging customers to engage more extensively with your website. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of three simple – and cost effective – tips to give your website a boost.
Tip 1: Improve the Navigational Experience
The growth of online shopping is characterised by convenience drivers, although this is outmoded by a frustrating navigational experience. Too many headings and sub-pages will drive the customer into a state of confusion, and rather than investigating your website further, they are likely to abandon it altogether. The same is amplified with mobile shopping. In fact, by 2019, mobile traffic is expected to comprise 79% of all online traffic. As such, it is imperative that your company does not neglect the mobile shopping experience.
The navigational experience can be improved by webpage construction consistency and the implementation of a search box. Favouring internal links and related content feeds over sub-pages will not only de-clutter the navigational bar – making high-value content easier to find – but also increase the average time that customers spend on your website if you manage to pique their interest.
Implementing unobtrusive, but clear calls to action will also do a lot to have your customers convert. Remember that every CTA needs to fit into the tone of the page itself, and not force your customers to actually do anything – thing more of a nudge than an actual push.
Tip 2: Boost Website Speed
Customers are impatient – and with the dawn of online shopping, they have the means to be. A Kissmetrics Survey finds that 47% of customers expect websites to load in 2 seconds, and 40% will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds. In fact, a 1 second delay is enough to decrease customer satisfaction by 16%!
These statistics demonstrate the hostility of the online business environment. If your website does not load content promptly, you could risk losing sales from customers who are increasingly pressed for time. Regularly stress-testing your website and web host package will help to ensure that it can handle the rigorous requirements of hundreds / thousands / millions of customers (depending on the scope of your business). Taking steps such as simplifying your website design by removing unnecessary plugins and using compression software to scale your images will also go a long way in improving your loading speed. Finally, enabling website cache will allow return visitors to load your site quicker, and resume their purchase where they left off.
If you are using WordPress, working on your website speed will be a simpler task – as the platform allow for the seamless implementation of all of the above mentioned tactics.
Tip 3: Community Building
Especially in the online marketplace, it’s essential to recognise the value that your customers add to your brand beyond sales. The traditional communication tool, ‘word of mouth’, is especially prevalent with the growth of social media, increasing your visibility with each positive (or negative) customer engagement.
Encouraging customers to share their thoughts on your business and integrating their feedback in your website structure and design will help improve your engagement. A pop-up chat box will also add a human element to your website, and decrease the risk of abandonment should customers happen to struggle to find the product or service that they desire. Finally, the development of a community newsletter (in line with the latest GDPR regulation) will highlight your engaging content, and can be shared amongst the customer’s reference group to maximise your website traffic.
However, you have to be aware of the fact that you will also sometimes get negative reviews – and instead of trying to bury them somewhere deep in the dark web, you should reach out to the customer in question and see what you can do to remedy their experience. Don’t try to highlight the positive only – no brand can cater to all users, so coming across some that are less than happy is a given.
With these three simple tips, you will be able to improve the experience visitors have on your website, which will in turn drive up both your conversion rates, and your revenues.
Guest Author: Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade – and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing, and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle, or catch up with him on Twitter.