28 effortless website improvement tactics to drastically improve user experience
Imagine these scenarios:
A prospect visits your website for the first time. Your homepage is overcrowded with blocks of text, images and sliders that they can’t figure out what your business is about. There’s no call-to-action so they have no idea what to do next. They click on the menu but there are so many options that they don’t know which to click on. They leave.
Another prospect comes to your website after receiving a recommendation from a friend. They find the product they want to buy but there are so many hoops and steps in the checkout process that they get frustrated. They leave.
These scenarios are more common than you think. That’s why great user experience (UX) is so important to your business success.
If you’re not familiar with it, UX defines users’ impressions of your website based on how easy and pleasant it is to use. So when you improve UX, you’re making it easy for prospects to find what they’re looking for and to do what they came to your site to do.
No confusion, no distraction, no pain.
Now, UX goes well beyond a beautiful website design. If your site doesn’t give users what they expect and make it easy for them to make choices that are best for them, they’ll likely never buy from you.
So in this post we’ll look at 28 simple and easy to implement website changes that can help to provide a great user experience to anyone who visits your site.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Make your logo visible. When a prospect visits your site for the first time, can they see your logo? It doesn’t have to be gigantic but it does need to be visible and not crowded by other design elements. Place it top left and give it breathing room.
2. Add a favicon. You know that small image in the address bar of your web browser? That’s a favicon and it’s an excellent way to help your brand stick in people’s minds. Use this guide to learn how to add a favicon to your website.
3. Cut down on colours. Using too many colours on a site, or colours that don’t complement each other can confuse or frustrate users. Stick to a simple colour palette with up to four colours for your entire website. Here’s a simple example:
4. Cut down on fonts. As with colours, don’t go overboard with fonts. Use a small number of elegant fonts consistently throughout your website and blog. Also, use bold and italics sparingly.
5. Consistency is key. You know what can make a brand forgettable? Inconsistency. Make sure that your basic brand attributes such as colours, fonts, slogan, logo are used consistently on every page of your website and blog (and outside of it, too).
6. Make your headline clear and sticky. Does your headline make it clear what your business is about? Can first-time visitors understand and get excited about what you’re selling? If not, then rewrite your headline immediately so that when visitors land on your site they know they’ve come to the right place.
Here’s an example from Evernote:
Need some tips and advice? Read this post on how to write a homepage headline that gets the job done.
In addition, they dilute your core message. You don’t need a slider. Go with a single powerful headline instead and focus prospects solely on that.
Don’t know which message to choose from all your slides? Simple. Perform an A/B test to see which one’s the winner. Read this guide to learn how to get started with A/B testing, if you’re not familiar with it.
8. Get to the point. Your visitors are busy people so if there’s too much text on your web pages, they won’t know where to look. Edit the content on your pages and only keep the information that’s necessary for visitors to understand who you are, what you do and why they should buy from you.
9. Get rid of generic stock photos. Those photos with business guys in suits shaking hands or walking along growth charts won’t convince anyone you’re a professional or a trustworthy company to do business with. On the contrary, you might lose prospects’ trust because lots of people view them as “fake”.
Put a more authentic image there or, better yet, take your own photos. It’s easier than you might think. Read this guide that explains how to get the perfect images for your website.
10. Provide social proof. Are you an award-winning catering company? Do people love your web design or gardening services? Then why are you not bragging about it?
Sure, you can have a dedicated testimonials page but make sure to also put some of those testimonials, reviews, ratings and awards on your homepage for everyone to see. This is an effective way to build a sense of trust on your website. And it’s trust that makes prospects believe in your products or services.
Here are some examples of how to add social proof to your website:
Read our small business guide to learn what makes a good testimonial and how to collect customer testimonials with ease.
It’s a well-known fact that users don’t read online. They scan.
So when a visitors lands on a page, the first thing they do is they scan it and try to divide the content into digestible pieces of information. They do this so they can quickly determine if the content is relevant to their needs.
Here is some advice on how to format your content to make it easy to read and scan:
11. Break it up.No matter how great your content is, if it’s difficult to read, no one will. So break it up into sections and add subheadinds to summarise the content and to improve readability.
12. Make use of bullet points. Another effective way to make your content easy to skim is by turning long paragraphs of text into a simple list of bullet points.
Here’s an example:
13. Increase white space. Let your visitors (and your content) breath by increasing white space between lines and sections. It makes the content easier to read, especially if you have a lot of text on your pages.
14. Optimise layouts for natural scanning patterns. According to eye tracking studies, users scan pages in an “F” pattern. This means that we usually read the first few lines and then we start skipping down the page, only catching parts of the message.
So since we’re more likely to give our full attention to the text or the items near the top of the page, make sure you put your most important message, product or service first.
15. Relocate your social media icons. Yes, social media is important but is it more important than your website? If a visitor is already on your website, you want to keep them there and not send them elsewhere. So put those social media icons in the footer.
16. Reduce the items on the menu.If you have a menu that looks like the one in the example below, you need to fix it immediately.
Menus that include too many choices will most likely lead to no choices at all. Most often, it confuses and frustrates visitors and drives them away.
So only include your most important product categories or services in your top menu. Then simply link to secondary pages from your main pages.
Here’s an example:
17. Make navigation labels specific. This means no more than two-three words and start with the most information carrying word
18. Fix those broken links. You probably have broken links that hurt users’ experience on your site. Don’t worry, every website has a few. Fix them to prevent visitors from leaving your site in seconds. This guide will teach you how to find and fix broken links.
Search engine optimisation
19. Optimise your title tags and meta descriptions. And before you ask, NO, your website can’t be without title tags and meta descriptions. They’re too important. Not only do they increase your chances of showing up at the top of the search engine results pages but they also act as a “hook” to entice users to click through.
So, get writing and optimising these essential elements using keywords that are relevant to each web page on your site. Need tips and advice? We’ve got you covered with a beginner’s guide to writing title tags and meta descriptions that get clicks.
20. Optimise your images. Many site owners forget or choose to skip this step, and that’s probably because they don’t know what they’re missing out.
From attracting users to your site who are running searches directly on Google images to reducing site load time and boosting rankings, optimising your images is a must. This guide to optimising images for search engines will show you how.
21. Speed up your website. If your site takes more than three seconds to load, you’re not only providing a bad user experience but you’re also losing revenue. How much? Research shows that just a one second delay in loading can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions. Here’s how you can get your site up to speed.
22. Call out your call-to-action (CTA). If you don’t have a prominent CTA on every page on your website, then it’s time to fix that. A CTA needs to be a button, not a text link, and it needs to be visible so no visitor is confused as to the next step they should take.
Here’s a bad example of what a CTA is not:
The call to action isn’t at all clear.
Now here’s a good example of a CTA that works:
Cut down on CTAs. The most common issues with calls-to-action is either the lack of one or an overabundance of them, like in this example below:
There are five different calls-to-action on this homepage alone. So what should a visitor do next?
Our advice? Try to stick to one, maximum two different CTA buttons on any web page, no matter if it’s the homepage, a product page or an About page.
24. Make links look like links. At first glance, can you see the links on this page?
Don’t hide your links. Make them obvious. Use the colour blue. It’s what users expect to see.
25. Optimise your forms. No one likes to fill out forms. People just want to download that resource, buy that product or receive a call back from you. If you’re making it complicated for them to complete an action, they’ll simply give up and leave your site.
So make it easy for them by keeping fields to a minimum and removing those that request information you don’t need. You can find lots of other useful tips and advice in this post by Andrew Coyle on how to design better forms.
26. Experiment with your opt-in messaging. Want to build or grow your email list? Try communicating different benefits and using different CTAs to entice visitors to sign up to your mailing list.
A simple example would be to replace a call-to-action like “subscribe” with one that says “sign me up”. You can find lots more ideas in this post on how to build your first email list.
27. Turn those social media counters on. If you’re active on social media and have a nice, big community, a good way to encourage more visitors to connect with you is to show some social proof. So turn those counters on.
28. Make it obvious how they can get help. Many of your prospects will have questions or concerns. Don’t make it difficult for them to get the answers they need.
Make your contact information visible, including phone number, email address and physical address (if you have an office or a physical store). If you sell lots of products or expensive ones, consider adding a chat feature so prospects can get their answers as quickly as possible.
Providing prospects with a great user experience is critical to your business success. As you can see, you don’t need a complete redesign to improve your website and make your visitors’ experience an easy and pleasant one.
You’ll be surprised just how much of a difference these little changes can have on customer satisfaction and revenue.