Making your Website more user-friendly

While having a fantastic looking site is great, the user experience (or UX in the world of online vernacular) is undoubtedly a priority. Sure, you can have all the digital trimmings, a slick, aesthetically pleasing interface, and video marketing, but if your site is encumbered with glitches, errors, clumsy linking, or often slowed by poor design components, then your customers are more than likely to ‘bounce’…and just as swiftly as they arrived.

In this blog, Midway Marketing will present eight innovative and effective ways to not only enhance your site’s user-experience, but to grow your business and brand positioning as a result.

Let’s get started:

Step 1…Listen to your customers/site visitors

Often, with all the online tools at our disposal, and the ever-shifting landscape of digital marketing, we can often overcomplicate things. While analytics and reporting and being fastidious number-crunchers with goals and targets are always crucial, often, we can learn a lot about our site by simply listening. It sounds simple enough, and even primitive, considering how quickly things have advanced in the online realm, but by accruing direct feedback and real input from your target audience, we are able to perhaps see things that the numbers don’t always necessarily provide. While the analytics are a strong representation of user behaviour, it fails to provide us with the psychology behind said behaviour, and the reasons to an extent, as well as their feelings about our site. Sure, as marketers and online analysts, we are often filling in the blanks by experimenting and trial and error, but by scanning closely the comments on your social media, creating surveys, offering feedback forms, reading the emails you receive (as well as the complaints) you will have, in real time, direct input in which you can act upon.

Ultimately, if we place our site visitors and users and target audience at the core of our web architecture, by either streamlining certain processes, adding more information, speeding up actions etc…then it can only contribute to a stronger and more positive user experience.

Which brings us to Step 2. Make sure your website is fast

Perhaps no more in the present, our patience and attention spans are dwindling at an alarming rate. While that creates a greater conversation in terms of our society as a whole, in the world of digital marketing, it simply means your website and videos and other digital assets need to load quickly.

And by quickly, we mean immediately.

The statistics don’t lie. Nearly 70% of users said that they expect a website to load within two seconds, and furthermore, will actually give up and ruthlessly surrender their interest if it doesn’t appear after three. In other words, you have only a few moments (literally) to capture their attention and funnel them towards your products/services, and brand offerings.

The pressure is on.

While this can obviously be achieved, it’s imperative to remember such a fact when building your site. While we can get excited with the superficial and the way it looks, keeping in mind a user-friendly interface should be at the core of every development process in which you undertake. There are a group of effective online tools at your disposal to test your website’s speed and efficiently, and none better than Google’s Page Speed Insights, in which allows you to constantly monitor your website’s speed and overall useability. They will also provide handy insights and strategic tips when it comes to speeding up certain processes on your site, a tool, of course, that can become quite valuable moving forward.

Step 3.   Information is key. And a valuable currency
It isn’t uncommon to arrive at a website and be left scratching your head with the lack of information. Sure, it looks great, and the colours pop and the brand logo is enticing, but when it comes to important info or product specifications, there’s seem to be, an quite inexplicably, a serious void.

When it comes to having a user-friendly site, such an error is almost fatal. Whether your business offers a range of products or specific services, having enough information that is well-presented and digitally legible, is absolutely imperative.

If your target audience or even just a curious browser lands on your site and is forced to hunt for the information and relevant content, then naturally, they may become frustrated and lose interest. Not only is this a serious problem for your business’s immediate future, but because the online world is so competitive, they will mostly likely visit one of your competitor’s page, as a result of being left unsatisfied and uniformed.

Again, relevant and in-depth content and information is absolutely necessary, and while there is such a thing as  ‘overdoing it’ in which the same result eventuates on the account of presenting pages and pages of irrelevant fluff, having clear, informative, and well-written info can make or break your website’s user-friendly reputation.

Step 4. Design your navigation systems in a way that feels natural and easy
No one likes to feel confused or left wondering if they have clicked on the wrong button. When someone arrives on your website, naturally, they will be drawn to what they see first and foremost, but after a few moments, they will then begin to navigate.

This is when they really see what your website is made of, and where having a positive user-friendly experience is crucial.

Obviously, having a streamlined navigation home bar is imperative, as it acts as your sites compass of sorts, in which will always bring them to the relevant pages. With this being said, having a navigation bar with too many items and links and associated pages isn’t the greatest idea either, as the user may feel overwhelmed and unsure, ultimately leading to them bouncing. Furthermore, the placement of your navigation bar is also an important aspect of a user-friendly site, in which different positions and tab configurations may influence and funnel your target audience deeper into your site. A simple A/B testing implementation can help with this, with the possibility of even changing the wording of your menu tabs in order to see what your audience prefer and what is the most effective navigation protocol for your site.

Step 5 is a fun one, but also important. Your website’s colour schemes.

While this may seem a little contradictory in terms of promoting something that on the surface (mind the pun) is merely a cosmetic glazing, but if we look deeper at the psychology and contrasting of certain colours, we can certainly make a case for having the right colours contributing to a better user experience. For example: If your users arrive at your site and are instantly bombarded with bold and cluttering colours in which the text, your logo, the navigation bar, and your digital assets are drowning in a wrong choice, then they may instantly regret coming to your site and proceed to disappear, never to be seen again.

They want to be able to read the words. See the logos. And feel welcomed and happy and intrigued.

What Midway Marketing has found over the journey, is that sites with the right balance between clarity, aesthetically pleasing hues, and a contrasting palette, are what offers the user a sense of comfort and welcomingly energy. In short, good web architecture. They are thus prepared to explore your site, and at least stick around long enough to perhaps increase your conversion rate and overall engagement.

Obviously, choosing the right colours comes with a number of considerations, such as your specific industry, and as such, shouldn’t stray too far from the realms of what your users would expect. In other words, having bright pink splashed all over the page for an accounting firm might not instil the level of confidence you’re looking for.

Be wise. Do your research. And increase your site’s user-friendly aspects by implementing the right colours.

Step 6. Layout is everything.
With a huge number of online browsers and social media enthusiasts constantly on their phone throughout the day, it is imperative that your website is user-friendly both on a desktop and a mobile device. The numbers of internet users who own and use a smart phone every day is now up around 80%, and as such, as your analytics may have already suggested, your target audience is most likely browsing the internet on their phones.

So, how does that impact your sites user-friendly experience?

Simply, when you’re building or altering your site’s architecture, you need to do so with a strong emphasis on mobile landscaping. Your website’s layout needs to obviously look striking and easy to use, but it also needs to be quick, responsive, easily-navigated, and free from clumsy obstacles and digital dead-ends. In other words, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, then you’re really doing your business a disservice.

Step 7. Focusing on your Call to Action’s
Ok. So you’ve done everything right so far. Your site looks and feels great. There’s plenty of information. Your navigation bar works like a charm, and the site loads in a flash. Perfect. Unfortunately, there are still a few more things to consider in order to turn all of your good work and increased web traffic into actual conversions.

And designing strong, effective Call to Action’s (or CTAs) is absolutely one of them.
You need to be strategic with your placements, such as having ‘Subscribe now’ or ‘Shop now’ buttons on your site, as your audience shouldn’t feel pressured or bombarded with constant instruction. Midway Marketing recommend a more organic approach, in which if your users decide to subscribe to newsletters or mailing lists, having protocols in place to highlight the next step is a much better strategy than badgering and forcing them into an area of your site that they may not be ready for. Having a clear and crisp CTA in the appropriate areas and pages will serve you will and go a long way into increasing your overall conversion rate.

There is an aesthetic element to your CTA’s (such as the wording, the contrast and pop of the particular button or link image) as well as providing them in a way that feels natural. Put yourself in their shoes and add a CTA accordingly.

Finally, Step 8. Improving your ‘Contact’ Page

While this may seem less important, you’d be amazed with the amount of websites currently out there with a confusing, poorly-written, poor-constructed, and hard to find contact page. In fact, recent surveys say that nearly 50% of people have said that many websites have a contact page that is too hard to find (or even non-existent) that they simply don’t care to look for it.

That’s a lot of conversions and potential conversions walking out the proverbial door. While having an email is fine, perhaps adding more information around it is something you can work on. If you provide more ways that your target audience can reach you (be it social media platforms even) then this will obviously cater for a wider range of people and customers.