The last thing you want to do, when designing a new or refreshed website, is to stress your visitors out with an unfriendly user journey. This can cause them to abandon your site altogether. Instead, you want the user experience to be seamless and enjoyable.
Your website is the storefront of your online presence and should reflect your company in the best possible light. So, to ensure your website offers an effortless customer journey, we’ve highlighted some fundamental website tips; these simple hacks will allow visitors to search your website with ease. They will help them find exactly what they are looking for, and make sure their user experience is memorable and positive.
Broken Links and Buttons
Have you ever been on a website, clicked on a link for more information, but the link doesn’t work?
This stops the users in their tracks and completely breaks up the customer experience they are likely expecting. Instead of providing users with the information they were seeking, they’ll instead be greeted with the dreaded 404 error, making it inevitable that they will leave your website and search for their information elsewhere.
That’s why finding and fixing bugs or broken links should be part of your regular site maintenance. You should be checking your site weekly to identify any issues and flagging them with your developer immediately.
Large enterprise sites and mid-size businesses should be testing even more often — maybe even daily. Firstly, you’ll need to identify if links are broken on your website, and the good thing is that this is quick and easy to do. But how? Well, there are PLENTY of free and paid tools…
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an easy-to-use web crawler that works to fetch information about a website for SEO analysis. There’s a free version of the tool that will allow you to collect data from up to 500 URLs.
To identify broken links, enter your site’s address and send the SEO Spider on its way. Once complete, the tool comes back with a list of the URLs it found. You’ll then want to navigate through the “Response Codes” tab and then select “Client Error (4xx)” from the filter dropdown. This will display all the 4xx error codes currently present on your website, which will allow you to go through and correct any broken pages.
How you fix a broken link depends on the type of error you are faced with, but generally, making sure the URL is input correctly or adding a redirect is usually the go-to strategy. And then the mission is complete – because ALL of your links work, making both users and the search engines happy!
We used ScreamingFrog as an example, but you could also use SEMrush and Ahrefs, both are comprehensive platforms in the realm of SEO. However, due to the complexities, if you are simply looking to source broken links on your website, they might be a little overkill.
For more basic and web-based applications, take a look at Drlinkcheck; it’s free to use if you are working with 1-2 websites/projects and it’s a brilliant website that allows you to check your site for broken inbound and outbound links in a matter of seconds.
Lack of Written Text
When users land on a website, unless they know the brand and product, they’ll likely want to do some research beforehand, which will be a huge part of the decision-making process. This is why content is so important: content allows users to make informed decisions.
A lack of quality content can disinterest or confuse your website visitors – which is likely to drive them away. And as we all know far too well, when website visitors leave your site, it can have a significant impact on your business success. Not only that, but a website that is lacking in high-quality content will also suffer in terms of Google search rankings.
How to determine if your website is filled with poor content?
It’s simple, ask yourself the following questions…
Does your content focus on features too much, forgetting about what the benefit would be to the end user?
Is your website content hard to read?
Have you noticed spelling & grammatical errors on your site?
If you’re answering yes to any of these questions then it’s time to revamp your website content as a matter of urgency. Here is what you could gain by making some simple yet effective tweaks to your on-page copy;
Build trust and credibility with your website visitors
Be unique and engaging
Tell Google who you are and what you do
Inform users during the decision-making process and lead to a higher volume of sales/enquiries
No Reviews or Testimonials
Customer reviews and testimonials are a great way to add social proof to your website. – ensuring your potential customers know that you’re a trusted brand. This is of particular importance if the reviews you get are positive ones. However, on the flip side, even negative feedback has its benefits. It’ll provide you with insights into how you could improve your product and the overall buying experience. An opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
They are also a crucial part of the customer decision making process. With almost two-thirds of shoppers stating that online testimonials are an essential part of the decision-making process. It allows them to read the good, and bad reviews of a particular product or service, weighing up their options based on this information.
While we know it can be difficult to get feedback from customers, your social media presence is one that will also tell its own story. If you do not yet have customer reviews, make sure you are keeping your social media channels updated with relevant content and continue to engage with your audience, growing your following as you go. This in itself will help you to build a community of advocates and will help to strengthen your authority and credibility.
Limited Product Imagery
We are all visual creatures and we can process imagery almost instantly. Photographs and illustrations can be an effective way to capture your audience and to differentiate your product from the competition. A single image can convey so much more than a block of text can. It can help to explain a complex concept, making it much more comprehensible to your users. Don’t get us wrong, you need text on your site to drive traffic to your pages, but if an image can accompany that text to better tell the story – all the better, for you and your users.
We all know that if you want to sell a product online, you need images that showcase your product in a realistic manner. And not just any image, it’s essential that you use high-quality images. You don’t need an expensive camera for this, a relatively new model phone will suffice in many instances, but it’s really important that products are positioned in good lighting and that the images used are in focus without being blurred. It’s worth creating a mini studio with a lightbox – which you can pick up on Amazon for as little as around £15 depending on the size required.
Another thing to note here is that, ideally, multiple images would be added to your website to show the product at a variety of angles. Otherwise, no matter how much effort you put into the product description, there might still be doubts in the customer’s mind, inhibiting them from going ahead with their purchase.
Contact Information and Live Chat Options
Having a website without contact information is a big no-no. Users should be able to find your contact details with as little effort as possible. This knowledge will provide users with a sense of security. Plus, without this contact information, search engines might not even list your site.
In addition to having basic contact information on your website such as an address, email and telephone number, it’s a huge advantage if your website also offers live chat options. Live chat has many benefits, the main being to help customers when you’re not there, along with fast response times.
Minimal Payment Options
A large percentage of shoppers will abandon their cart if their preferred payment method is not available at this stage. As a shopper, this is a huge frustration; especially in contrast to a site with a smooth checkout. An enabling checkout is valuable, adding to the user’s overall experience. By making the checkout process as simple as possible – especially for new users that come to the site.
Offering only one method of payment can often be viewed as outdated. As a business, it’s important to offer the most modern payment solutions available. Methods like Klarna and Splitit are becoming more and more popular. (and expected!) So be sure to keep your finger on the pulse and invest in payment gateways you know that your customers will find useful. More modern payment methods also tend to come with increased payment security, which helps to further strengthen your credibility.
If you’ve decided it’s time to refresh your website, then contact us today to get started. We’re a team of experienced web developers who have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your website users are pleased with their online experience.
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Written by Simon Proctor, October 14 2020
I'm a 20+ year veteran of CMS and Ecommerce projects. I'm terminally fascinated with technology and when I'm not deep in tech you'll find me with friends and looking after my son.