Website success is about user experience (UE). How does yours fare?

Author -  Allan Kent [Guest]

Website success is largely dictated by the user’s experience (UE). Only if the site gives the visitor an enjoyable and rewarding one will your site will perform. 

An easy way to set about improving your site’s UE is to imagine it as a journey, a great example being the Wizard of Oz’s "Yellow Brick Road".  

The first thing to do is to address the following:

  • Where is the journey to?
  • Who are the travellers?
  • How can you tailor the trip to suit them?
  • How can you get them to travel your road again

Where is the Journey to? (The purpose of your website) Some possibilities include:

  • Making a purchase online
  • Driving people to your showroom or shop(s)
  • Getting a quote or appointment
  • Newsletter sign-up

There can be several destinations and it may be that travellers have to try several destinations before reaching the final one, e.g. down loading a catalogue before doing business with you.

Who Are the Travellers? (Target audience)

Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow were the Yellow Brick Road’s. If these were your website visitors, are they all going to be your target market?

Consider the 80:20 rule – it’s likely that only one of these is going to really be your target, so assuming it’s Dorothy - to give her what she wants you need to know what she likes and what she doesn’t.

What I’m saying here is - research your target audience! Only this way can you tailor their UE to help them get to where they want, and where you need them to be.

Make sure the Journey is all about them (Focus)

If you’ve researched your target audience well, their destination should be the one you want them to arrive at. But it’s important to make sure that they perceive the journey to be theirs and not yours.

In this regard, make sure the structure suits their needs and not yours. If you have multiple brands or divisions, don’t simply replicate your company structure on your site, (unless this is logical to the visitor). Instead, try and organise things so that they can easily find what they want.

Also, the UE is enhanced if it’s obvious that they are the centre of your attention. Avoid words like “Us, we, our, I, me” and instead use “you and your” as often as you can.  Think about every statement you make about yourself, and where you do use a term about yourself, ensure that you include “you or your” in the same sentence. For example – “We are experts in...” becomes, “We are experts in... ensuring you get the results you want!”

Getting them to Travel with you again. (Repeat business)

Whether they take several steps to reach their destination, or get there first time, once they have that shouldn’t be end of story. Get them to travel it all over again, and do more business with you as a result. It’ll be easier next time as they will have some trust in you.

But, do you want them to travel exactly the same route each time? Perhaps the end destination could be slightly different – e.g. if you’ve got other products or services that would appeal to them.

The easiest way to get people back is to give them a good reason to. You know their needs, so put new and exciting content in front of them and let them make another trip with you.

Although hugely simplified, hopefully this analogy helps clarify the importance of the experience you give visitors to your site and how getting that right will lead to better results all round – for you and them.  

The Yellow Brick Road, or Road to Nowhere – which is your Website?

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