It’s so easy to launch a website now, especially with site builders like Wix, Squarespace and Webflow. However, creating an effective website that engages users, educates them and creates customers…well that’s a whole different story. In this episode, we’ll show you why focusing on your customers’ needs is the best long term strategy to make your website better.
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The topic of today’s episode is all about focusing on what your users need and improving their entire customer experience with you. We visit websites daily to get information, to buy something or to entertain ourselves. If you are a business owner, you probably put up a site with a goal of getting customers or earning from it, or if you’re working for a company, I’m handling or working with websites.
The Biggest Issue With Most Websites
The main issue with most site owners is not realizing they need to update their website. Most owners stop after launching their site, or if they do it’s only because they want a fresh new look or stop with just the design elements. They don’t bother figuring out if there’s something broken. or if there are any roadblocks that frustrate their customers.
Launching is seen as the finish line by most people. It’s this super long exhausting project working with a developer or an agency for the first time. Let’s just get this over with and then it’s going to bring me money. Launching is day zero. That’s when everything starts.
Another thing issue is most business websites, at least when you look at our website, it matches what they have in the warehouses or in their brochures. When users visit a website, it’s about a need they have or a task they need to perform.
Start With The Goal of Your Website
You want to sell or you want to grow your audience, but aside from that, are you there to educate, to provide assistance? And maybe this goes beyond just the website. Is your product helping your customers move away from pain or bring them closer to pleasure? You have to dissect that and be clear with that. Not only on your website but across all your communication platforms.
Optimize for Customer Experience
When you start thinking about your website, it’s kind of human nature to think I wanted to look like that. I want this font, or I want a white background or I want large images. Start with the problem the website is supposed to solve for somebody else and design about that customer experience and customer path that they should be taking with your website. Then add the visual layer when you’re done with the actual experience that you want to provide.
When users land on your site, you want to make your users feel that you’re trustworthy. So you have to work on your credibility. Check out the E-A-T episode, that’s something that will help you add authority and trustworthiness to your site.
Your websites should also be useful. You know that you were talking about our customer’s pain, but is it easy to navigate? Is it usable? When you’re optimizing your website, you should consider the content, design and user experience.
Optimize for Page Performance
Right now at page performance is not just equal to speed. It’s really the speed, stability and interactivity of your website. It’s not only about Core Web Vitals. That’s just a nice set of metrics that sort of gives you an idea of how your page performs. It’s not only about that though.
Let’s just ignore all those studies that say increase your page speed by 10% and your conversion rate goes up at 7%. That may be for someone else but it may not be the same way for you. And you know, it’s one thing, if you increase it from like you have 90, out of a hundred. And when your speed score, let’s not even call it page speed score.
Let’s say you have a 90 and you improve to 95 or 99. That’s going to take you days of work, you know, for the diminishing returns that you get when you reach that stage. And it’s not even going to matter that much because you’re fast already.
But if you have a very slow website, like if it’s horrible, There may be some quick things you can do that, that can make a dramatic difference. So going from slow to acceptable is what we’re talking about here. That’s what you should worry about. And that’s most people who sort of build the websites on their own, who are not familiar with every, all the weight that websites give them using WordPress or Wix, Squarespace, Webflow or whatever platform you’re using.
If you’re building all of that, it’s easy to have a cluttered website without even knowing it. Install a plugin and it’s going to slow it down. Install five is going to slow down more, 10 plugins and a page builder, and you are in trouble. So optimizing for speed is very important because if it takes 10 seconds for your page to display meaningful information, that person will bounce.
There’s also a very cool tool you can use by Google called Page Speed Insights where you can input your URL and it tells you where you are in terms of performance. When you’re installing a plugin that is free and does something you need it to do, there’s a cost and that cost is performance. So be very careful. Don’t clutter, your website, and you’ll be fine.
Optimize for Accesibility
When we say web accessibility, it’s people with disabilities, people with special needs, maybe color-blindness, stuff like that. Roughly 10% of people have some kind of disability when they’re using the web that could be like a motor disability or anything. Let’s say I have my phone and I’m out and there’s bright sun. There’s a lot of sun on my screen is reflective. If I have a gray on dark gray or something like that, I’m not going to see anything. So your contrast ratio needs to be high enough. That it works for everyone in every condition.
That’s one example, the font needs to be large enough. If you have a video, you need to have captions wherever that’s possible. So, because, you know, you may be sitting in a meeting or a zoom meeting or recording a podcast, but you’re actually watching something on your phone and you do, you cannot get the volume up because other people will hear it. So just think about not only people with disabilities but there are situational disabilities to put it that way where.
Optimize for Mobile
So you designed your website so everything you want your users to do every path you wanted them to take every task you want them to complete. You need to test that on a mobile device. It’s one thing to resize your browser on desktop and just use your mouse to click and whatnot. But when you have to tap, when you have limitations of a small screen, it’s going to be completely different. So first thing is, make sure it works well on a mobile device.
Make sure that the website is responsive and there’s nothing confusing and you can figure out it if doesn’t just be looking at your analytics. If things go bad when you switch to mobile segment, that means something is wrong. That means something is just not optimal.
Another big thing mobile intent, which is always going to be different. In most cases, it’s going to be different than intent on desktop because when you are in front of your computer, this is the center of your attention. Most cases when you’re on your phone, actually is not the same attention. It’s just situational attention deficit. Let’s put it that way. So you need to worry about mobile intent.
And then there’s also Google’s mobile-friendly test that you can visit. It will tell you right away if your website is mobile-friendly or not. It will give you some of the most glaring issues, but those are technical issues. Like the text is too small, the tappable elements or clickable elements are too close together. Things like that. If you want to go deeper, think about what the users will want to do and how that will be different on mobile. And if you don’t know what that is, well, maybe get in touch with your people who are using your website to customers, send them an email, just ask them was the experience as good as you were hoping and things like that.
So, yes, optimizing for mobile is really having a mobile-first mentality, which means I need to make this great on mobile-first and then worry about desktop. That’s what mobile-first is, mobile is the first thing you do. Unlike how websites are usually designed, where normally we’ll start with desktop and then, let’s just make it lose some weight and just make it look good or put everything in one column and make it look good on mobile. To learn more about mobile-first mentality, check out this episode.
Optimize for Conversions
People already visit your site and there’s an opportunity to convert them. And one way to improve your conversion is through research. Sending an email and getting feedback from our customer is one way to do it. Of course, you can start with your tracking data, your analytics data, your heat maps, your session recordings, surveys. That’s a good starting point.
We talked about conversion research previously. In this context, it’s giving the people what they want. There are three parts to conversion research. There’s the heuristic evaluation, there’s the quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis. This is mostly about qualitative and getting feedback from users.
Of course, you can use analytics and then use that to figure out what their needs are, but the best way to be direct. So maybe you have a conversion or a sale. In that follow-up email in that confirmation email, just ask them, was everything the way you were hoping it will be? Did you enjoy using your website? Would you be buying from us again, stuff like that. Or on the thank you page, you can have some kind of a survey. You can ask them these questions. So get the information directly from users, whenever possible, customer support data, whatever they’re complaining on. This is what you need to work on.
As to content, think about the clarity of your value proposition on your website, your relevance, that urgency and then remove all the distractions and anxiety. So going back to content optimization, I’d probably start with user intent. So there are like four usual reasons for visiting a website. First, are they looking to fill a knowledge gap, are they trying to find a specific source. Do they want to purchase something? Are they searching for a service or products locally? So think about that in detail and figure out user intent and try to match that with your main offer and your copy on your website.
Final Thoughts and Recap
Remember that when you’re designing your website or optimizing your website, you have to think of your customer experience first before Google and then probably your company lasts. But it’s important to kind of change that mindset. Because we’re stuck in that it’s all about me, me, me, me, me.
Then optimization, it’s a process. It’s not a one-off task. And if there’s one thing that you can do today, right after this episode is to start auditing your site, pick up your phone and check it on a mobile. There are also other websites you can go to like Google Page Speed Insights to check your page performance and the mobile-friendlyness test.
When you do the audit mobile or desktop, depending on which segment you want to work on, don’t look at individual touchpoints or do individual pages as something that exists in a vacuum, like go through the entire path, go through the entire scenario of what you want people to do. So maybe they will land on a category page and then they will try to find the product they want. And try to add it to cart and then go to checkout.
See if there’s anything that may be unexpected, like shipping costs that are shown too late, which is a big, no for e-commerce or any kind of scenarios that may be happening on your particular websites, go through all them and make sure that there’s no friction and there are no surprises.
That’s, that’s a huge first step you can take. And there are no technical skills involved. You just need to be very objective and be very fair when you’re doing the audit. We hope that we were able to show you the importance of focusing on your customer’s needs and their experience that will probably take more time, but it will give you the best long-term results.
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