User experience (UX) is a huge part of creating a great customer experience (CX). While customer experience focuses a lot on the experience someone has when they talk to a staff member, how the product/service worked and helped their needs, how likely they are to recommend your business to others, etc., UX focuses on what happens when someone visits a company website. It’s still a part of CX, but it is such a huge topic that it can help to think of UX on its own. We therefore split up the article into several different sections and then included subsections for each to help get a better understanding for UX as a whole:
- Website Navigation and Design
- Website Content: Blog, About Us, and Contact Pages
- Sales Funnel Considerations
- Checkout and/or Thank You Page Tips
- Metrics and How to Improve
Keep in mind that these tips can work for any company—e-commerce, businesses trying to nab clients, blogs, etc. User experience is a big topic, but being able to get the basics in place and create a foundation is crucial to overall success. And so without further ado, below breaks down the points above to help get you started.
Website Navigation and Design Considerations
Website navigation makes sure that your website loads quickly, is not overwhelmed with images and media, and is easy to read and digest. Below explains some of these website navigation considerations and what you can do to improve this aspect of UX:
1. Improving Load Time
- Use PageSpeed Insights to check load time. This is a great tool from Google that is completely free to use. You simply type in your URL and hit Analyze. Google then gives you a full list of what you’re doing right in terms of page speed and what needs attention. It then tells you how you can fix the problems the tool diagnosed if you’re unsure where to begin. Below is a screenshot that shows how it works:
- Size your images. This also has to do with design, but either way it’s crucial. Use the right type of image (.gif, .jpg, .png) and always adjust your image displays. This not only refers to size, but also to pixilation. A good rule of thumb is 325X550 pixels.
- You may have too many plugins. I recommend using the P3 tool to see if your plugins are affecting your load time. Remember that some plugins are larger than others, so it’s not just quantity but also quality.
2. Improving Navigation
- Use breadcrumbs. This is a plugin you can use that helps customers see where they’ve been on your website so far so they don’t get lost. In other words, they can easily jump back to the beginning of all of their research if they find themselves getting too deep into something else. The best way to understand how breadcrumbs work is by looking at a screenshot. As you can see, it’s easy to jump around your website this way.
- Use internal linking. Internal linking is not only great for your SEO, but it helps customers find related links easily. In short, internal linking means linking to another page on your own website. Use internal linking only when relevant.
- Use a Related Articles plugin. This is another plugin that can help customers find related articles, so the idea is very similar to internal linking. You don’t need to do anything here; the plugin will pull related articles for you and put them at the bottom of every blog post. Below shows how this looks on a Salesforce blog post:
- Avoid Flash. It’s been the norm for a while now, but websites are still attempting to use Flash. This simply won’t work for many of your customers, so it’s best to avoid it altogether (it hinders load time as well).
- Include a search bar. At any given time customers should be able to search so they don’t get frustrated trying to find something or trying to get back to a page with a search bar.
Website Content: Homepage, Blog, About Us, and Contact Pages
Your website is full of different kinds of content, so we’ve split this up into two sections. What these four pages have in common is the fact that they are not necessarily trying to sell anything. These are informative pages, and while there are ways you can optimize them to send people to your sales pages (see here for tips), they are by and large there to educate. A few tips to improve these pages include:
- Always have a place for comments. The homepage doesn’t really apply, but opening up your website for comments shows that you’re approachable. Make sure you stay on top of comments and respond appropriately, but offering this line of communication whenever possible is a great feature for customers.
- Use different content types. This includes video, infographics, interviews, polls, product reviews, and more. This is something that works best for your blog (no surprise there), but you can also get creative on the other pages as well. For example, check out some cool About Us pages here.
- Spend time on CTAs and Headlines. A customer has the best experience when they know what to click and what they’re getting themselves into if they click. Your CTAs and headlines will help give you this trustworthiness and help keep things interesting.
Checkout and/or Thank You Page Tips
So the first pages in your sales funnel are usually education pages such as blog posts, email marketing campaigns, social campaigns, etc. after you have created awareness and interest. Next come your checkout pages and your Thank You pages.
1. Checkout Pages
- Keep it short. According to a KISSmetrics article, 4 steps is a good length for a checkout process. Get their email and information, card information, include a review page with shipping details, and you’re done.
- Use breadcrumbs here as well. Always let customers know where they are in the process to keep them engaged. This helps reduce anxiety and lets customers know what to expect. Target does this well as you can see below (also notice they only have a 4 step process):
2. Thank You Pages
- Use linking wisely. When customers are finished shopping or filing out a quote form, that doesn’t have to mean they’re finished with your website. Make it easy for them to click to something else you offer by putting links to some of your most popular content and landing pages. If they don’t want to click no big deal, but at least they have the option. Notice how Punchbowl uses links and related articles (as well as our next point, social media buttons):
- Use social media buttons. Make it easy for customers to share what they just purchased on social media by including social media buttons here. This is something many businesses forget, but it can be a win-win for everyone.
Extra: We’ve mentioned it in the CX section, but creating a survey/ asking for feedback is a great option. It can help your company better understand your audience and therefore optimize for the future, and while this may fall under the CX side of things when analyzing, it can still provide a good UX on a Thank You page.
Website Metrics to Watch
Google Analytics is likely going to be the best place you can go for data. While it’s a good idea to use other tools so that you can cross-reference and really come up with conclusions, Google Analytics is the place to start. While the possibilities are endless, in terms of UX there are a few reports you can follow:
1. Click Through Rate (CTR)/ Traffic
This report shows how many people clicked certain pages, or in other words, how much traffic pages earned. This can help show you which pages are getting the most attention and therefore help you mimic the design and content of those pages; thus providing a better UX based on real facts from your actual audience.
2. Completed Goals
This is a report where customization helps. Let’s say you want someone to make subscribe to your blog after visiting a particular blog post you wrote. You can actually track that in your Google Analytics to see how many people completed that goal that you set. Most companies use this when it comes to conversions. If someone lands on a Thank You page, it means they converted, which means they completed one of your goals. You can learn more about setting up goals here.
3. Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate metrics show how quickly someone left a given page without interacting—commenting, clicking an internal links, signing up for a newsletter, etc.—with that page. In other words, if someone visits a page and clicks the “back” button within three seconds, this is recorded. If they click an external link, simply X out of their browser, type a new URL into their browser, or spend 30 minutes on your page without any action, this also counts as bounce rate. You can find the bounce rate metrics on just about any report.
The problem with the bounce rate report is that sometimes if someone stays on your page for a long time but did not interact then you may think that page is no good. This will lead you to change the content, stop mimicking what that page is doing, etc. However, this could still mean that you actually wrote great content because someone actually read it. For this reason, you may want to adjust your bounce rate, which you can learn more about here.
Reviews are actually a little bit more CX than UX, but they can still help visitors make decisions while online, so it’s worth mentioning. A few quick ways to encourage reviews include:
- Put a “Review” link on your website or homepage so that it’s easy. In a way you’re essentially asking for a review without having to bother your customers.
- Include a link to a review page within an email marketing campaign.
- Always make it easy to review. Avoid making customers fill out any forms!
- Put reviews and testimonials on your website so that people can see that their thoughts matter (as well as see what others have to say).
- Utilize social media to ask for reviews.
- Remember: Bad reviews will come up, so always be sure to manage your reviews and respond when necessary.
You can also check out this article to learn more about different review platforms including social media, Google reviews, Yelp, blog post reviews, and more, as well more ways you can foster more customer reviews.
Offer incentives for recommendations
Beyond the obvious benefit of having your offering recommended to potential customers, this is also a good way to gather recommendation metrics. Whether or not someone will recommend your brand without the incentive is something that can be tested. Consider offering something like a free eBook download to see if incentives work with your customers.
Above mentions the basics to get you started and help things seem less overwhelming. I recommend first starting with some of these basics and getting a good structure in place, and then researching further how you can better get creative every step of the way for UX. Once you give it a try, let us know if you have any questions or comments below.