5 Quick Website Fixes That Improve Conversions and User Experience Significantly
The success of digital marketing begins and ends with the user. Understanding your customer journey and website flow can be crucial to your online success. Please note, UX Design and conversion optimization can vary between industries and every change should be A/B tested accordingly with your business. However, there are some guidelines that can apply to most organizations and help the way businesses interact online with their new users.
1. Simple User Navigation
UX Design is like cooking. When you follow a tried and true recipe, you will generally have success. If you try to get creative and add many different types of seasoning or ingredients, it can get messy real quick. By getting too complicated and throwing everything at your customer all at once, you can create further separation between the intended product/service and your customer. You see this all the time with menu navigation and having way too many tabs at the top of the page. The homepage menu should be used for money-making links only. “About Us” and “Blog” pages can easily be included in the footer for those who are actively searching for them. This also applies to big pop-up chat features that follow you around the page. If a user has a question, they will seek out your instant chat feature or contact us page. Don’t overwhelm the user. Simply cater to what they originally intended to use the site for. This will not only create less cognitive load and friction on the user, but also should improve your CTR significantly.
2. Search Bar Optimization
The search bar is one of the best ways to engage with the user. A user that is searching is highly interested as they are taking steps to find exactly what they are looking for. So having a small search bar hidden in the corner of the page is not productive. Search Engine Journal wrote, “Interacting with an optimized on-site search function is the digital equivalent of a passionate and helpful librarian. You say what you’re looking for (type in a phrase) and it speedily shows you relevant options (provides a list of result pages from the site). Sadly, many search boxes typify a librarian who sits disinterestedly behind the desk, giving a curt response of “over there” if you ask for information.”
The search bar should typically be big and optimized to expand upon auto-fill recommendations. Along with filling in the blanks, auto-fill features help the user understand other highly searched products/services you offer. Search bar data is one of the best data generating tools you will have on your site and can give a unique perspective into the mind of your potential customer. This also applies to a “no search results” page and how you should configure this type of page to show your best selling items. While there may be no relative search results for what a user is searching for, do not under-estimate this purchase point as a way to pitch related items. Same thought process applies to a “404” page.
3. Social Media Feeds
While social media feeds can be great at showing testimonials and community outreach, it can actually hurt you when utilized incorrectly. Social media feeds take the user off the page and distracts them from their original purchase path. Best tactic here is to make sure your social feeds don’t take them off site and any social icons are shown after the purchase is complete. This also helps the authenticity of reviews as well and that more people who are engaging in your social platforms are already confirmed buyers.
4. Automatic Website Features
This includes website music, carousel ads, and pop-ups. Again, nothing wrong with these tactics if used appropriately. Website music that automatically starts on the Homepage can completely throw a customer off and can create friction if they are unable to lower/mute it. The W3 organization stated that, “Playing audio automatically when landing on a page may affect a screen reader user’s ability to find the mechanism to stop it because they navigate by listening and automatically started sounds might interfere with that navigation. Therefore, we discourage the practice of automatically starting sounds (especially if they last more than 3 seconds), and encourage that the sound be started by an action initiated by the user after they reach the page, rather than requiring that the sound be stopped by an action of the user after they land on the page.”
Carousel ads are fine as well in some instances, but don’t set them to automatically scroll. Nothing is worse than finally capturing someone's attention only to lose their train of thought to an automatic scroller. Let the user have the option to swipe right or left, there should be no time limit for this. Same with big pop-ups as well. Let the user decide if they want to click on a chat or promo icon, do not largely position it over all of your products before they even have a chance to contemplate whether they want to buy anything. Why would someone need a promo or chat service if they haven’t even decided whether they actually intend to purchase or not? A good placement for pop-ups is on the cart or checkout pages. If they take a certain amount of time during checkout, they may actually have a last minute question or be hesitant about the final price. This is when automatic promo/chat pop-ups make the most sense. You could even have some music once the purchase is completed to celebrate their decision. These are all better placements than any automatic features directly on the homepage.
5. Relevant Product Filters/Sorting Options
At this point, most sites are keen on adding filters and sorting features to their product pages. However, a lot of these filters are outdated. For example, unless you're a site that specifically relies on this, not too many users ever click the “Sort by A to Z” option. Same goes with filters, many use generic filters that don’t specifically align with their business. If I am an auto dealership, I don’t want to just search by color, size, or price. I should also include options like engine, trim, and alternative features. This is where the search bar data comes in and helps you gather specifically what your target audience is looking for. If you can understand these search terms and incorporate them more into your site/filters, it can make for a seamless purchase over your competitors.
- Search Engine Journal
- ~Scholz, Jes. “On-Site Search & Seo: Everything You Need to Know.” Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Journal, 4 June 2019, www.searchenginejournal.com/on-site-search-seo/309189/#close
- W3 org
- ~“Audio Control:Understanding Sc 1.4.2.” Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.2 | Understanding WCAG 2.0, www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-dis-audio.html