You will have favourite websites that you return to repeatedly. They have earned loyalty by efficiently providing high-quality goods and services that meet your needs. Your website should do the same – providing a consistent and relevant user experience (UX) to your visitors and customers is vital. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid UX errors and to create an engaging site.
Tailor content to your users
Okay, you’re thinking it’s obvious you should tailor your website’s content to meet your user’s needs but unfortunately many companies still focus more on SEO issues, such as keyword placement and page optimisation, when creating content. SEO is important but it is only effective if your content resonates with people who visit your site. In its Webmaster Guidelines, Google’s first principle tells you to design your web pages primarily for your users, not for search engines.
Clearly define what your business does
One of the first things visitors should see when accessing your site is a clear statement of what your company does. People come to your site with a purpose in mind, and if they can’t quickly determine if your site meets their needs, they will leave and look elsewhere, possibly never to return. Sometimes you only get one chance to gain a customer, so don’t frustrate potential customers by making them search through multiple pages to figure out what you do.
Provide an aesthetically pleasing site
You want your visitors to have a memorable experience but you want it to be memorable for the right reasons.
Use layouts with a mix of text and eye-catching graphics and photos. A site with many pages that only contain text will not keep a visitor’s attention for very long. Check your colour scheme to ensure the colours are compatible with each other and don’t detract from text readability and image visibility.
Don’t use stock photos – they’re easy to spot, and you will give your visitors a poor impression of your business. Be sure that any photos you do use are high quality and appear up-to-date.
Don’t overwhelm your visitors with call-to-action (CTA) buttons – use them strategically by placing them at logical decision points on your site.
Reduce page load times
Visitors will not stick around if your site loads slowly, so you should monitor page load times to be sure your site loads quickly and provides a high-quality UX. If you find that it’s taking more than three seconds for your site to load, there are several steps you can try to improve load times short of doing a complete website redesign.
Image files can cause pages to load slowly, so consider using an image optimisation tool to compress the size of your image files before you add them to your site. The size of pages with high-quality content can exceed 100kb, so consider compressing them to reduce bandwidth and improve your page load times.
Plugins also can cause slow page load times. If you have numerous plugins on your site, experiment with disabling some of them to see if they are the cause of your slow load times.
Sometimes we are so concerned about SEO that we don’t spend enough time optimising our website’s UX. We need to remember how valuable a positive UX is in today’s competitive online marketplace.