Mid-winter is an interesting time. The holidays are over and the new year is in full swing, but we haven’t quite made it into spring yet. You might find yourself with a bit of downtime. In which case, this little month is a great chance to make some big improvements to your site.
Let’s look at how to declutter your site, how to test your site, and and basically just how to make sure your site is as good as it can be.
Easy steps to improve user experience
First things first, you need to declutter your site. Don’t worry about the finer points quite yet (we’ll get there in a moment)... let’s start with basic decluttering tips. For now just look at the big chunks to get rid of. Eliminate pages you don’t need anymore. Remove sections that are redundant. You need to optimize your site for conversion rates, meaning you want to turn your visitors into customers, and push them towards online sales. Essentially, look at your site like a roadmap, and think about the journey you want your customers to take. Remove all of the distractions and detours that delay them getting from point A to point B. And ultimately, make sure it’s a streamlined experience. If you have giant blocks of text, cut them down to their simplest message.
At a glance, you want to make sure your site is easy to scan. Remember, this is supposed to be an intuitive journey for your visitor. Make sure the navigation is intuitive so the visitor’s next step is obvious.
Define your brand’s message
Okay, we’ve got all those big nasty bits out of the way, now it’s time to start working on the little details. Think about it like an ice sculpture. We used a chainsaw to shear off all the big pieces, now we get to get in there with the little scrapey bit to carve out the fine details.
Here’s where you’re really going to take a hard look at the content itself. Make sure everything written on your site sounds like your (or your brand’s) voice, and that it’s still relevant. Remove or rewrite anything that is outdated. If you have pictures of your business, make sure they’re recent. If you have any stock photos, replace them with real photography immediately. Savvy web browsers can spot stock images in a heartbeat. Double check your contact information, hours, and so on.
Keep your site organized, elegant, and clean. If you have social media buttons, make sure they’re not at the top of the page, so you’re not enticing people to leave your site as soon as they get there. If you have customer testimonials, think about peppering quotes throughout your site, instead of just having a page dedicated to them. Remember, we want to avoid detours. Fix up your weak points, and play off of your strengths.
Optimize your customer journey
Okay, we’ve checked and double checked our content. Now it’s time to take that visitor’s journey for ourselves. Test anything and everything you can. Click every button, follow every link, visit every page. If you have a store, go through the cart and checkout process (yes, even if it means buying your own product.) Put yourselves in your visitor’s shoes, and take every step they can. If you have a big site, you’ll want to take notes of broken links, changes you want to make, or anything else you notice. You can use a broken link checker to scan for bad hyperlinks, but you’ll want to click through them yourself, too.
Be exhaustive. Remember that every second your visitor is on your site, you are competing with the entire internet. All it takes is one bad link or one missing page and poof, your customer is gone. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes, so you might need to recruit a little help on this one.
Have someone click through your site, and take notes on what they think works well, and what doesn’t. Research best practices on how a user experience should flow, and make sure your site lines up.
Incorporate professional web services and tools
Here we are. Your site is sleek and streamlined, your content is up-to-date, and the user experience is smoother than freshly Zambonied ice. Your site is as good as it can get. So now it’s time to make it even better.
SSL certificates will keep your customers’ data protected, helping your customers feel safe and even boosting your SEO stats. And there’s always Email Marketing to make sure people know about your site in the first place.
Of course, if you need a little advice in where to go next with your website, our friendly customer care associates are always ready to give you a hand. Call us today at 866-938-1119.