While most webmasters tend to see the bigger picture, there has been a disturbing trend of late where customer experience and usability have taken a backseat to traffic stats. Ranking high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) is a crucial aspect of a successful website but it says little about a customer’s experience. Consequently, businesses have to spend a lot of resources in their SEO and SMM efforts in spite of high traffic, simply because their customers are not a part of the digital marketing chain.
All visitors to your website are your potential customers. A good experience raises the chances of conversion. An important thing to consider is what visitors actually do when they visit your website. Do they browse other pages and spend time on the website? Do they leave immediately? There are plenty of questions that webmaster and managers need to answer. These can help them know the reasons behind the actual problems such as lack of sales despite high traffic or why the bounce rate is high, among others.
If you own a website, it is important to convert your visitors into leads and later, buyers. For this to work, your primary goal should be a stellar customer experience and not the number of people visiting your website, which comes later. Unless your business is primarily driven by your website, your efforts to get it just right can drain valuable time and resources. It is often best to hire professional agencies for the job. For instance, professional web designers can create a layout that makes sense while high-quality content writing services can ensure that your website delivers the message you intend.
New business owners and sometimes even experienced ones often find themselves at wit’s end when trying to improve customer experience on their websites. So, when your web advisors talk about omnichannel nano-targeting, share of mind, or touchline mapping and you find yourself scratching your head, literally or figuratively, trust that you are not alone. Buzzwords had permeated the industry segment well before people realised it was one. Fortunately, just like most other jargon, once you look past the fancy words, the basics fall into place on their own. It boils down to a few fundamentals that determine the customer experience on ANY website – and here they are, presented in a Q&A format.
Does your website load fast?
A fast loading time is the foundation of a good customer experience. Search engines know this and usually prefer to rank websites that have a faster load time higher than websites that load slower. Webmasters must make sure that the site loads within 1.5 seconds or so. Even if you rank high on the search engine result page and a visitor lands on your website, there are more chances of him closing the window or moving on if they find themselves waiting around staring at loading screens, which can be incredibly frustrating to both parties, albeit for different reasons. As attention spans get lower, this factor plays a predominant role in how a website is perceived.
Some of the things you can do to improve the loading time of your website are listed here.
- Consider decreasing the number of outbound links on your website, especially on the homepage.
- Reduce the size of pictures and other graphical elements on your website since large sizes take longer to load than text alone.
- Caching is the key to ensuring that the customer does not have to wait a lot for your content to load.
- Reduce the number of plug-ins installed on your website since they can make your website load slower.
- Consider a dedicated hosting package, if you have not done so already.
- If problems persist, consider moving to a different hosting provider.
What is the first impression of a visitor when they land on your website?
You know your website inside out and the navigation and structure of your website seem perfect to you. But does a first-time visitor feel the same way? Visit your website with a first-time user’s perspective or better yet, get some people who are not familiar with the website to browse through it. The idea is to make sure that the navigation, content, and everything else of note are easy to follow. Ideally, all things must be labelled and placed in its right spot.
Here are a few ways to make a good first impression on your website visitors:
- Clean out any unnecessary widgets, links, pictures, or text that are not relevant to the website.
- Keep the sidebar clean and tidy, making sure that you do not clutter it with widgets and advertisements.
- If ads take over a huge part of the content area so much that the visitor has to scroll through continuously to find the information, there is a good chance that they will leave immediately and never come back.
- Adblock redirects are the new colossal blunder on the scene. Despite incredibly poor results, many websites are seemingly getting attached to it. If you absolutely have to depend on ads, consider putting in a fall-back message that politely requests the user to turn off their adblocker rather than force them to a page where they can do nothing. Remember, the adblocker is more precious to a user that anything you can ever offer. It represents freedom of choice – if you choose to redirect, you just attacked a basic human instinct.
- Your website must look professional to the visitor. It should not have too many useless images, irrelevant content, or ads, particularly on the landing or home page.
- A busy print or colourful background is a strict no-no for a website. It makes reading difficult for the visitor and also makes the website appear spammy.
Are you targeting the right keywords?
This is a favourite of SEO experts since most businesses create a lot of content and wait for the visitors to start flocking to their websites. They do not pause to check if the content is relevant to their niche or if they are targeting the right keywords. Then, they spend more money in content generation without proper research or even hiring professionals to do it.
This gross waste of resources can be addressed with some fairly obvious steps that help you focus on the customer’s experience.
- Define a small set of keywords that are related to your products or services.
- Search for the keywords and terms that your competitors are ranking for in the search engine results.
- Find a reliable keyword tool to create a list of keywords that your customers are using to search for information.
- Then, ask a reputed company that offers content writing services to create reader-friendly and keyword-optimised content for your website. If you know what you are doing, you can take care of this step yourself. However, a professional agency will allow you to focus on your business instead of creating content for your website, which can be quite time-consuming.
- Build your content using the relevant keywords slowly to climb on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and use fresh content to stay there.
Is your website visually appealing?
Visual content such as images and infographics are far more attractive than pages full of text. Research shows that most readers skim through a web page looking through any bold, italicized, and quoted text in addition to any images or graphics. Even a few high-quality images that are relevant to the theme of the page might keep the visitor on your website long enough to make a difference. Your visitor will also be more likely to visit other pages or sections on your website and also purchase your products or services.
There are no real secrets to great design. Even so, here are a few reminders that can help improve your website’s customer experience.
- Hiring a skilled photographer and graphic designer will go a long way in improving the visual appearance of your website.
- It is important to remember that any images you use must be relevant to the content. Placing too many images all over your website is often worse than walls of text as it gives little to no information to a reader.
- Publish quality images that add to the content at strategic places where they are more likely to grab the attention of the reader.
Content must always be at the centre-stage when you are building and promoting a website. High-quality content writing firms can have a huge impact on how you build a strong content-centric website. A website that is created to please customers is bound to climb up the search engine results even without too many SEO strategies.