The emphasis on SEO in recent years is now giving way, or at least being complemented by, a new emphasis on user experience (UX). And this may be a welcome shift. After all, what good does it do to drive traffic to your website but do little to increase conversion rates or sales because most people who see your homepage immediately lose interest?
And the new UX-focus may be just what we need to “re-humanize” the internet. It puts the fact that at the end of every connection there is an end-user, who is a real human being.
Here are 5 ways you can boost your website’s user experience “score” and, subsequently, your conversion rate and revenues:
1. Invest in RUM
No, we didn’t mean to say invest in “rum” but in “RUM.” That is, invest in using “real user monitoring” software to monitor your website which will give you the key metrics on its performance and the experiences of its end-users is key to knowing how to improve your UX. To learn more about RUM, visit Stackify.com for a helpful, in-depth article.
If you can’t gauge average load times, follow visitor transaction paths, see what are your error and bounce rates, and have quick, convenient access to other key data points, you can’t even begin to improve because you won’t know where you are.
2. Focus on Fast Load Times
Recent studies show that anything more than a single second waiting for a web page to load can cause a user to get distracted and potentially bounce away from the URL. Yes, a one-second attention span is a sad commentary on our modern society, but it’s a reality that Web designers must adjust to as much as possible.
Now, it’s not realistic to think that every time someone loads your pages, it will only take one second, but what you can do is work on having the top-fold load in this time and be highly attractive, informative, and attention-grabbing. If it takes one or two more seconds for the whole homepage to load, that’s fine.
Also, create a mobile-friendly version of your website since slow load times are common on mobile devices. Don’t overload your site with too many videos and high-data features per page since you’ll risk driving users away due to slow load and run times.
3. Focus on the Homepage Upper Left
Pack all of the most important information into the upper left hand side of your homepage. The eyes of web readers, just like of book readers, are trained to run from top to bottom and from left to right (unless you were raised reading Hebrew). Don’t fight it: capitalize on it.
Answer questions like these in that very limited space: What is this site? What can it offer the user? What is your brand/company name? What is are your main selling points and unique proposition (tagline)? Do you have any special offers right now? How do I find out more?
4. Focus on the Homepage. Period
Your homepage takes first place on the importance scale for overall user experience and SEO. You want it to be “rich” enough to gain high Google rankings, but you don’t want to crowd it to the point where it seems cluttered and unusable.
Further down from the top fold (see #3 above) on your homepage, lay out your main products and services or carefully selected representatives thereof. You can’t fit everything there, and you shouldn’t try to, just like every item in a brick-and-mortar store shouldn’t be crammed in the storefront display window.
But give a panoramic view, and use collapsible, “accordion,” buttons to keep things shorter but let viewers get more info quick if they want to.
5. Use Fluid, Intuitive Navigation
No one likes to get lost, not even on a website. Maintain an ever-present top-bar navigation bar or at the left side. Keep navigation links straightforward. Don’t get creative here, anymore than you would like the text on road signs to be “creative.” But don’t be vague either; you need to walk a fine line.