Ensuring that visitors to your small business website have an optimally positive user experience is important to your business success. Search engines analyze data related to user experiences on websites to gauge how site visitors interact with your site, which in turn indicates the overall quality of your site. This information is factored into the algorithms that the search engines use to establish search results rankings. Positive user experience increases your website’s ranking, thereby increasing traffic.
Additionally, more positive user experiences for visitors to your website logically lead to more visitor conversions to customers, help to build and strengthen good customer relationships and make your site visitors more likely to share your site with others and to return to it themselves. These factors ultimately combine to increase your reach, your customer base and your sales revenue.
Three key elements of a positive user experience are the look, feel and usability of your website.
The basic usability, or functionality, of your small business website is critical to creating good user experiences. Website visitors quickly become frustrated with – and leave – a site if it is difficult to navigate or hard to find the exact information, products or services that they’re seeking. For example, many users are quickly turned off by e-commerce websites that don’t have clearly visible links to frequently asked questions or shipping information.
Check to make sure that your website loads and functions properly on all commonly used internet browsers, including as Chrome and Firefox. Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly; because more people utilize their smartphones to access websites, and Google moves your website further up in its search engine rankings if your site is mobile-friendly.
Check every link on every page of your website to ensure that they function properly and load the correct pages. Many otherwise professional-looking websites have links that either go to a different page than the one indicated by the link title or bring up an error page. Think about the potential negative impact on your business if a 404 error comes up when a new visitor to your site clicks on your customer service link. It’s certainly not going to increase the probability of them doing business with you.
The look of your website and the general response its overall appearance elicits is another key element to creating a positive user experience. Your website should obviously be visually appealing, but for the best user experience, you have to go beyond meeting that basic requirement. A big part of creating a great look for your small business website is designing your site to reflect your company’s desired brand image. For example, cartoon images may give your website a friendly, folksy or funny look – and if that’s the impression of your company that you want customers to have, that’s fine. However, cartoon images or photos of cute animals don’t generally convey attributes such as authority or professionalism.
The look of your site encompasses the basic design and page layouts you select for your site in addition to the colors, type fonts and type sizes you choose. Part of this goes back to your site’s basic functionality. Design your site so that pages are easily viewable in easily readable type, with minimal scrolling or resizing required, regardless of whether a site visitor is viewing your website on a computer, a laptop or a mobile phone.
The final, and perhaps ultimately the most important, aspect of your website in terms of creating positive user experiences is the feel – the emotional satisfaction that it gives users. Do your best to ensure that users enjoy visiting your website.
Engage visitors to your website by offering freebies or discounts and asking for feedback. Readily accessible customer service, such as a live chat function, and emphasizing your eagerness to help site visitors communicates a sense that your company is helpful and friendly. Prominently display invitations to connect with your business on social media.
Offering valuable content on your website is probably the surest way to encourage visitors to return repeatedly and to leave them with the impression of having gained something of value from their visit. Having a company blog on your website that regularly publishes helpful articles on topics of interest to your desired customer base and that effectively communicates your company’s brand image is one of the easiest ways to build good customer relationships.