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How smart is your website?

Whatever you think you know about your website and how it should work should be examined. It really is all about the user experience.

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Image: Digital Trends

Your website has a purpose, and each page on the site needs to serve that purpose. You probably have one of three objectives with a commercial website. You are either trying to get potential customers to buy your product, sign up for something like a rewards program or newsletter, or you are trying to get them to contact you about your product or service.

Whatever action you are looking for, it is called a conversion, and the things that lead customers to that conversion are the best funnel builders. It also consists of a few basic parts, although they are often broken down into even smaller ones.

  • Awareness: The customer is aware that they have a problem, a want, or a need, and they are now looking for a solution.
  • Consideration: Once the customer knows the problem, they are now narrowing down the solutions. They have not chosen a particular solution or product yet, but they are comparing several.
  • Decision: This is the point at which the customer decides that your product or service is the solution to their want, need, or desire.
  • Conversion: At this point, the user completes the buying, sign up, or contact process. This is often the stage at which potential customers are lost because too much has focused on the sales process, and not enough on the ease of conversion.

It may seem like a lot of work to walk customers through this process, and not all customers will go through the entire process, but it does not have to be. Your website can do much of the work for you if you set it up properly, starting with the right domain name, theme, fonts, and colors.

Following that, you can take some simple steps to make your website work smarter, not harder.

Simplify

Simplify your forms, language, and the user interface. A part of the reason for this is to make your site mobile friendly: the simpler the form, the more easily a user on a mobile device like a phone or tablet can fill it out. Use as few steps as possible to get the job done.

Make your content simple as well. Have headers and bolded words that let the user skim if they want so they can gain a quick understanding of the material and what that particular page is about.

Do the same with product descriptions and landing pages. Don’t use jargon, technical terms from your suppliers, or industry abbreviations that can be confusing. Make content easy to read and digest.

Remove Objections to Checking Out

Many customers are lost right at the moment of purchase, and then they run to your competitors to find what they need. This may be because your shopping cart or checkout process has some of the common issues that drive users to abandon them.

  • Unexpected Shipping Costs: Be upfront with these, and show them in FAQ’s and next to products when possible.
  • Having to Create a User Account: Many customers want to protect their privacy and do not want to create an account or link their social media to your site. Let them check out as a guest, and be upfront about how you will use their information if they do give it to you.
  • They Were Just Conducting Research: Make your buttons clear about where the user can learn information and what leads them to actually check out.
  • Security Concerns: Make your security clear on your site to make sure customers feel safe when entering payment information, and offer secure options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet.
  • Confusing Checkout: If the process is not clear, the customer will leave for a less confusing experience. The checkout process should be one of the most intuitive experiences on your site.
  • Could not find a Coupon Code: No discounts, no coupon codes? You might be losing customers. If you have an offer, make it clear where the code can be found and how it can be applied.

These are all simple fixes and easy to apply. By simply allowing users to check out as guests, often revenue increases by over a third.

Design Around the Page Objective

What is the call to action on this page? What are you trying to inspire users to do? Center your design around that call to action, from the colors and fonts you choose to the language on the page.

Don’t let clutter, ads, and other items get in the way of primary navigation. Make it very clear where you want the customer to go, and how they can get there. Design all the other components around this objective.

Change Negative Language to Positive

Be careful about “no” statements and negative language. Drive the customer journey forward with positive cues toward the solution. This makes their experience better, and the better they feel about it, the more likely they will convert.

Think of it this way. User experience is not all about reaching them intellectually, but about how they feel. Make them feel good, and they will respond well to your message. Make them feel bad, and they will go to a site that makes them feel better.

Whatever you think you know about your website and how it should work should be examined. It really is all about the user experience. Don’t fall in love with your design and your ideas, instead fall in love with reaching the user where they are at the right time, and offering them real solutions that will enrich their lives. This way, your website will work smarter, not harder. That’s a win for everyone.

Just another guy who likes to write about tech and gadgets.

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