In today's digital marketplace, your website is often the first touchpoint a customer has with your business.
Statistics show that it takes less than a second for a user to form an opinion about whether they like your site or not. That split-second decision making means that if you expect your website to be effective, the user experience it provides needs to be simple, straightforward, and worth a user's time.
What is user experience?
User Experience (UX) is the sum of a user’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions about how a website or application functions, looks and feels.
While many businesses understand the importance of having a website, very few fully grasp what it takes to create an effective UX.
For years, many small to medium-sized businesses have used their websites as extended yellow page advertisements — with an address, phone number, and some basic information. Problem is, today’s consumers have come to expect much more than just the basics from a website.
As we move into the 2020s, users now expect more functionality, better usability, and more responsive digital customer service than ever before. They want targeted, custom user experiences that are easy to use, rich with relevant content, and designed to provide them with everything needed to purchase and use your service or product.
Studies show that as high as 97% of small business websites are ineffective and need an update or complete redesign to the user experience to better serve their customers.
How do I improve my user experience?
So, what does it take to create an effective small business website with a dynamic user experience? These seven factors can transform your website from a relic of the past into a sleek, effective marketing tool:
1. Clean Website Design
Most website visitors will spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website, but that number increases by 20% when whitespace is appropriately used in the design.
A clean and simple web design makes it easy for the user to find what they are looking for. Free of unnecessary clutter, the true purpose of your business will shine through.
Grab your users attention above the fold – the part of your website that fills the screen without scrolling – impressing your users here is likely to increase the time they spend on your site.
2. Fast Page Load Times
Your website should fully load in a few seconds, even if you’re using a secure website format (HTTPS)
Optimize your images, the file size of your images will significantly impact the load time of your page
Implement a content delivery network or CDN for content management and fast delivery globally
Consider using page-level content caching to allow your site to load faster for repeat visitor
3. Regular Updates
Becuase your website is often the first impression a customer or client will have of your business, you need to make sure the information they see is current and updated on a regular basis.
Nearly 25% of small business websites are updated less than once a year.
To keep visitors coming back to your page time and time again, continuously add new content via pages, articles, photos, videos, and other information.
4. Mobile Device Compatibility
Globally, mobile has taken over digital consumption, with 71% of all digital minutes being on a mobile device.
Make sure your website doesn’t alienate most of the world’s population by making it mobile-friendly, with responsive design and fast loading times.
Consider how your website will look and feel for users on various devices – desktop, mobile, or tablet – and prioritize your content accordingly.
5. Keep it Simple
Your site needs to be simple to use. From your navigation, search functionality, and content to registration forms, add to cart processes, and checkout flows, every step needs to be considered. Ideally, each process should be tested by people with various levels of understanding — both technical and non-technical, plus people inside your industry and those outside of it — to ensure maximum usability.
Soliciting signups or feedback from your website audience is an easy way to build up a customer/client database or e-mail list. Find simple ways to engage your target audience beyond just a "Signup for Our Newsletter" prompt. Offer discounts, coupons, exclusive information, or other things of value to entice users to participate.
Increase the conversion rate of forms by eliminating unnecessary fields, only ask for the information that you absolutely need. Be sure to distinguish optional and required fields.
6. Use Clear Calls to Action
Calls to action are fundamental to websites, as businesses want to generate purchases, subscribers, and new leads. Your call to action should catch the user’s attention using size, placement, shape, and color.
Make sure visitors to your website know what you want them to get from each page of your website, be that reading a testimonial or case study, requesting more information or a quote, signing up for a newsletter, or directing them to more products or services
It is best to keep calls to action at one or two per page and not inundate visitors with tasks.
7. Make it Repeatable
An excellent user experience will make customers and clients want to return to your website over and over
Ensure your website is easy to navigate, provides clear and concise information, and has content relevant to your target audience
User experience design gives your business the ability to increase repeatable traffic with your customers and clients by making the user and their experience a priority while providing instant feedback about how they interact with your website.
Great UX design provides an excellent return on investment, as marketing audiences go from locals to international clients and customers; increased digital sales save time and labor, and your business will be able to track and analyze marketing and business effectiveness from the website.
Archetype SC’s design team can help your business take the next step to optimize your website and making it into an experience your customers and clients will enjoy.
We provide IT solutions and services to empower our clients to focus on growing their core business and their employees.