5 Common Website Usability Issues

What enhances the user experience of your site?  A websites perceived and functional usability can increase your conversion rates online.  It can be achieved  by making a few simple enhancements to your website using your content managment system

1 Get your Visibility & Presentation right before they even reach your site

When your website is presented in the search engines does it encourage a click through?  Many businesses simply do not present themselves well on search engine results which can be very easily fixed with a few amendments to your pages titles and meta description to evoke a desire to click as well as a positive ranking.

Even with simple optimisation techniques you can get listed for great niche key phrases relevant to your business and deliver exact results by including activities/products that you specifically provide for a particular location or market.  Not forgeting presentation outside of search engine results, improved presentation on ‘link building’ listings as well as good adverts can enhance your engagements too.  Supply quality photography, great copy and utilise any functionality available to make you stand out on the page.

Generating great visibility of your businesses products and services online is the first major step to creating enquiries and sales, driving them to the correct page on your site moves your visitor a step closer to converting this visitor to a customer

2  Give your Business Credibility through Good Design

I’m interested in your product/service and I’ve found your website through a search on Google, you seemed to be saying the right things on your listing so I’ve clicked through… I see your site and bounce straight back to the results page, why?  Because your site looks bad, I simply didn’t like the look of the page, or the information I was looking for isn’t clearly visible to me… or perhaps it wasn’t what I was looking for at all (back to 1), page design, presentation and layout are crucial to keep your new visitor on the page for more than a few seconds

Yes perhaps if I had clicked a few times I might have found what I was looking for, but I’m a typical internet browser, I want to be convinced you will provide me with what I’m looking for immediately, and quite honestly I’m too lazy to look any further if it doesn’t look right or isn’t obvious to me as soon as I hit the site… I’m going to bounce!!

Simple and quality design that reflects the quality of your product/serivce goes a long way to giving a good first impression, consistency on the page makes it easier to take in information, and a bit of style can enhance a users experience of your business

3  I can’t find my way… make it easy to move around your site

I’ve clicked through and I its looking looking good, the site has a nice feel, I might stay a while!!  But where next, ideally I want to see what I’m looking for on the first page I visit, but if I haven’t found what I’m looking for on this page where might I find it on your site… where’s your menu, is it obvious and easy to use, is your on site search generating relevant results, no, then I’m bored already… and lazily I bounce back to the search engine listings again!!!

I use a simple 3 step ‘first impression review’ for websites, set a typical customer aim;

1 what’s the first word that comes to mind when i hit your page – good, bad or ugly! – is it clear who you are and what you do?
2 what is the thing that captures my attention on the page – something relevant or something  thats just there to fill space?
3 what link do i want to click on first.  Even with a room of 40 people, 9/10 give the same 3 answers

It’s a simple but very valuable technique to test the first impression and likely initial action on your site

Give your users a clear way to find what they are looking for and point them to it with some relevant menu structures, short text and imagery.  Think about the journey your visitors may wish to take around your site, look at your statistics, is your navigation easy to follow, can I get back to where I started easily if I find myself distracted by your fabulous blog… does this lead me to the actual product or service I’m looking for?

Keep leading your visitors through your site with links, directions and calls to action so that their visit turns into an engagement, perhaps this time I don’t buy but I do signup to your newsletter for future reference perhaps, still a valuable result!

4  Provide relevant Information and added value Content

So you definitely provide what I’m looking for and its here in front of me on the page, what stops me from buying or making an enquiry?  Lack of information? If you’ve got it flaunt it!!  Give users a detailed description of your product or service, ensure your products have adequate detail! size, colour, shape, a sales description, keywords, cost, photos, multiple photos if possible of the whole product, close ups and set in context.

If you have ever sold products in a shop you will know that people like to look at a product from different perspectives, they like to pick up or feel the product, and they’d quite like you to tell them a bit more about it.  People are much more likely to buy something from someone they like, and something that has more value than its basic worth even if only a perceived value..

5  Call your visitors to action to seal the deal

so you’ve done all the above and conversions  are still lacking, what makes a visitor a paying customer… price, quality, service… and a little bit extra, not necessarily a financial extra either.  So tell them on the page if they get free delivery, that you provide warranties, price promises, does your product/service have a story to tell?  Does buying this product help the environment, is it a fair trade product, can you guarantee next day delivery?  Yes, well why don’t you tell them this information!!

Conclusion

A classic example of an ecommerce site I saw this week had its free delivery plastered all over its home page, however they run adwords campaigns so most traffic to their site is driven straight to their product pages.  The owner tells me free delivery is also promoted on the check out page… but quickly I point out that these promotions are no where to be seen on the actual product pages, I can see the lightbulb flick on above his head!

I suggest that the free delivery is what might just get me to add to the basket, otherwise I might never see the checkout page, and I’m not likely to click to the home page, I’ll 9 times out of 10 just bounce back if you don’t give me something extra to help seal the deal, looking for someone else who does.

Obvious when you carefully consider and address usability factors for a website.  Its all about customer service and presenting yourself the right way to your potential clients, whether your are the cheapest or the best this can be quite easily reflected on your site with a few simple tweaks.

It’s a combination of the above elements that combine to provide a usable and engaging website and ultimately one that generates orders and enquiries.

Another small service business I visited a few months back had developed their own basic web site but hadn’t made it visible on Google places – the primary result on Google when searching for the service they provided in the region.  Neither had they provided their value added offering which was particularly relevant to the type of customer they were looking to attract, the content of the site simply didn’t reflect the quality of their business.

Just a few hours spent with them adding a good quality Google places listing, improving the design and content of their site, followed by an actioned to-do list for them to implement themselves (once shown how), and today they told me they’d won a 80k+ contract and numerous small contracts via the site since we made the changes, it really is worth the effort to ensure your site is usable!!!

How do they know the site and google places was the source of this major contract? Simple, they asked!  Customers like to be made to feel important so ask their opinion or at the very least, how they found your site and what made them engage with you.

Belinda Waldock

Ebusiness Marketing

me@belindaw.co.uk

Email now for a usability review of your website

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