Imagine, if you will, that you’re walking into a grocery store to find a specific brand of almond milk. As soon as you enter, you see a maze of aisles decked out with signs leading you everywhere but the actual section where the almond milk is located.
Then, an employee comes up to you and asks you to fill out a short survey before you start shopping. Other employees pop up every two minutes and ask if they can help you, but first they will need your name, email, and your mother’s maiden name.
If you’re like most people, you would be frustrated 10 steps into the store—and then you’d turn around and leave.
The same goes for websites and the user experience. While chat boxes, surveys, content, and navigation can be a good thing, the old saying, “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing” still applies.
Before you consider whether your website provides a good user experience or not, you must first figure out your company’s marketing persona. If you haven’t done that yet, stop reading this blog and go do the work.
Have the personas? Good. Now, put yourself in their shoes and explore your website as if you’ve never seen it before. Create scenarios that play into the customer’s needs. And as you’re doing that, keep the following in mind:
Website Visitors Are Real People…and People Matter.
Those coming to your website are living, breathing humans with thoughts, emotions, and opinions—and they’re looking for something specific. They’re not (most of the time) mindless robots with no goal in mind. They’ve found your website because they’ve made an active decision to search for what you offer. They’ve landed with an intent.
- Are you answering their questions?
- Are you selling the product they’re looking for?
- Is your website easy to navigate or does it have too many pages?
- Can the user get lost within 1-2 clicks?
- Can they easily find their answer?
Check your website bounce rates, too. If they’re exceptionally high, you may not have what the user is looking for, and it may be time to re-evaluate your website.
Solve Problems, Don’t Create Them.
If I asked you how to teach a 3-year-old to count to 10, you probably wouldn’t respond with equations, mathematical theory or complex numbers. The same goes for a website. Create content that solves the query at hand and provides useful information.
For instance, if you’re selling different types of shoes, you may want to provide content that helps a user find out what type of shoes are best for different activities, like running, strength training, etc. If you know your audience is environmentally conscious, provide content that shows how your shoes are created with a minimal carbon footprint.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Be like Einstein: anticipate the problems (or search queries), and craft your content, navigation, and layout accordingly.
Grab Their Attention…and Don’t Let Go
Did you know that the average human’s attention span is somewhere around seven seconds? In comparison, a goldfish’s attention span is around nine seconds. With that in mind, break out a stop watch and perform the “Seven Second Test” on your website. For an even more objective test, ask a friend or family member to perform it.
- What is this website about?
- Is it interesting?
- What am I supposed to do?
- Was the experience good enough to share?
If a user can’t answer these simple questions within the first seven seconds of the page loading, it could be time to invest more time, money and energy into updating the website to become more helpful and attention-grabbing.
Once you’ve gotten the attention of a customer, how do you keep it? While it’s important to have an attention-grabbing website for that first-time customer, you can’t forget about the loyal, returning customers as well. How are you getting them back to your website? Are you providing them with information on current sales and promotions? Do you have interesting blogs and videos on your website to create the perception that you are the industry expert?
Imagine if Buzzfeed and Nike didn’t refresh their content from last week. Their website traffic and sales would plummet. It’s no different with your website.
Fresh, quality content that informs is crucial to not only building brand loyalty but also loyal customers. Once you provide quality content, customers will begin to look forward to visiting your website. Use trending posts to capture emails, contact information, etc. Keep track of what your customers are reading the most. Also, don’t forget to update your digital marketing plan to feature your trending blogs and videos across social, email and more. Pro tip: Use Google Trends to find out what topics are popular during certain times of the year. Create a calendar and craft your blogs with strategic thought and process rather than just creating content on a whim.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the grocery store. Almost every single store has aisles leading to the back of the building, where the refrigerated items (including almond milk!) are located. While there may be some differences between each location, the path to purchase is usually the same. Why is this? Because somewhere along the way, the layout of a grocery store became simple and standardized, yet helpful. Every aisle, item placement, and employee serve a specific purpose.
Your company website should be the same way. If it isn’t helpful, clear, and serving a specific purpose, make it so.
So, how does your company website experience measure up? If you’re struggling to answer this question, we’re here to help!