When we think about our favorite websites, it’s all too easy to be wowed by clever ideas and fresh, modern design. But when it comes to creating a website that drives traffic and converts leads, your creative website can fall short if the underlying supportive elements aren’t there to facilitate a great connection with your consumers.
We all know the goals of most websites: drive traffic, inform/educate/motivate to buy, and convert leads. As you think about your own website (or upcoming website update), here are five common website mistakes to avoid and a solution to create a better user experience:
Use Data to Discover Needs
What Everyone Thinks This Means: Use data to develop well-crafted personas identifying types of individuals who are interested in your products/services.
A Better Solution: Build your personas based on the consumer base, but also look at user behavior. How are most users interacting with your site? Are they browsing, comparison shopping, killing time, looking for specific information? Identifying behaviors provides better insight into how your website is used and areas to focus on improvements to better serve your consumers.
What Everyone Thinks This Means: Build an attention-grabbing website that makes visitors want to spend time on your site.
A Better Solution: After you’ve identified who your users are and how they spend time on your site, use these insights to foster a community. Work with your biggest fans to allow them to use your site to benefit everyone. Is your product complicated? Build forums and a library of how-to videos. Is your product fashionable? Create a shared space where users can show off their purchases for upvotes.
Design for Usability
What Everyone Thinks This Means: Build a functional website. Spend money on user testing to make sure that a few people understand how your navigation works.
A Better Solution: Testing is incredibly important, but just as important is performing a heuristic evaluation of your website. Can users navigate freely through the site without having to hit the back button several times? When scrolling through a list of products, is your place saved when you click on a specific product or do users get sent back to the top of the page? Create a space where the user is transported into your world – the more time they spend engaging with your product and less navigating the nuances of the website, the better.
What Everyone Thinks This Means: Make sure that your website is largely functional on the most popular mobile devices.
A Better Solution: It’s common knowledge that mobile phones are the new laptop. Your website should be designed with the mobile experience in mind each step of the way. Giant pop-up ads to announce your sale might look great on a 22” monitor but will send mobile users reeling as they pinch and scroll for the tiny “x” to get back to your products.
Make The Complex Accessible
What Everyone Thinks This Means: Explain the complex/complicated details of your product with lots of text.
A Better Solution: Even as shoppers are getting savvier and craving research on the products they buy; most don’t have the time to read all the related articles and reviews of a product. Encourage a connection with users by understanding how they want to learn about your products. Are they visual learners or bite-size fact digesters? Are they most interested in the savings, specs, or benefits? Once you discover how your audience wants to learn, the better you can help them learn about you.
The best sites are those that take a consumer-first approach versus a marketing-first approach. By pushing generally accepted best practices just a step further, your website will not only perform better from a conversion perspective but is more likely to lead to incremental visits.