In our latest webinar I’ll be addressing one of the most pressing issues in online business – getting website visitors to actually buy from you. In the video, I’ll explain the principles behind improving user experience and look at the best way to make your site somewhere customers want to buy from. Click play to begin and if you have any questions, please leave them as a comment.
Weâ€™ve all got a brand new product, it may be something like a printer, for instance, like the chap on the left. You get this manual and it has page upon page of all the full instructions of how to install it, how to change the ink, how to do everything you want to. But the truth is that none of us, how many of us really read this manuals. The truth is a bet nobody. Manufacturers know this because now, like the image on the right, they include these quick start guides, this opportunity for you to quickly read through how to get yourself running. Thatâ€™s what we need to be doing for our websites, we need to be making a website a quick start for our visitors so they can quickly navigate their way around.
How do we start this navigation process, this manual to website? It starts with looking at your business. Your business is going to have some goals, some objectives, hopefully something that youâ€™ve put into a business plan. As part of your business plan, thereâ€™s going to be something about your website, and your website is going to have its objectives. For instance, your business plan may be to make ÂŁ50,000 of revenue a year. Your website may be perhaps half of your sales so your website objective is to make ÂŁ25,000 of sales.
Now, our website is made up of multiple pages. Each page needs to serve a purpose, it has a goal. This goal needs to feed into the website objective. For instance, we may have a product page, in which case the page goal is to sell a particular product and that in term will be leaned towards our website objective of making ÂŁ25,000 of revenue a year, which in term feeds into our business objective of the ÂŁ50,000. So, it starts to feed up.
Now, when we actually have our page goal, our page goal is going to have multiple page objectives and these little measurable aspects that we can have on our page, that we can manipulate, that we can impact on later. Weâ€™ll talk about how we can do that shortly.
These little objectives are what ultimately make the page have its value. An example of a page objective might be encouraging the visitor to click the purchase button which in turn helps sell the product which of course feeds up to the website and business objectives.
Another example may be encouraging a visitor to sign up for a free trial, provide you with their email address, even just providing more information on products is helping the page objective which is the page goal and of course all the way back up.
But why is all this important? The reason is because of priority. Priority is one of the most important things to consider when youâ€™re looking at the design of your website. For instance, if Iâ€™m making you sign up for my newsletter and I have a nice, big orange banner on my website and I actually have a very small, green â€śbuyâ€ť button somewhere hidden on the page, youâ€™re probably more likely to click the â€śsign upâ€ť button. But if the â€śbuyâ€ť button is a nice, big green button, itâ€™s got the higher priority, the highest prominence on the page, obviously youâ€™re going to be more inclined to clicking that.
So, how do we control the priority? Well, as you can see here, this is a very interesting example of how not to control priority. You donâ€™t even know where to look, youâ€™re all over the place: thereâ€™s colours here, thereâ€™s big shout outs here. Itâ€™s obviously a famous site thatâ€™s actually been famous for its very wacky and out there design. But itâ€™s quite hard for us to work out as a visitor: where am I supposed to be clicking? Do I want to be clicking that blue panel over there, the red panel over here, or perhaps I want to scroll down and have a little bit more. Itâ€™s just such an overwhelming site, weâ€™re lost, we donâ€™t know what we should be clicking. So, the priority is quite quickly lost here.
So, what can you do for your own website? How do we know about our own sites whether itâ€™s too complicated, itâ€™s too busy? Thereâ€™s a thing called â€śthe blur testâ€ť. Now, what you can see here is a blurred version of a website. This is going to be a test that you can do on your own website. Iâ€™m going to give you a few examples. All you can see here is the website has been blurred out – itâ€™s like were squinting, thatâ€™s the whole point of this example. If you squint at your own website so you canâ€™t make out the wording, where would you feel inclined to click?
If you look at this website, itâ€™s a little bit confusing, Iâ€™m not quite sure where Iâ€™m meant to be clicking. Maybe Iâ€™d click on the big orange button, Iâ€™m not too sure. But, as I reveal it, you can now see that Iâ€™m again not really too sure where I should be clicking because the priority hasnâ€™t been dictated.
Another example – our own site here. Hopefully, with this blurred version you got a rough idea of where you should be clicking. And Iâ€™m hoping that youâ€™re thinking itâ€™s the green button, which of course if you said that thatâ€™s exactly where we want you to click. The idea is really we want to be leading our visitors down the journey whatever theyâ€™ve come for. In this instance, weâ€™re hoping that youâ€™ve come for domain names so weâ€™re hoping you kind of progressed the way that you come to our website.
But whatâ€™s the point of all this? Why is this squint test important? The truth is if you squint at your own website and you canâ€™t understand where you want to click, the chances are that your customers are in the same boat as well. So, when theyâ€™re visiting your site theyâ€™re going to be lost. So, give your site a quick squint test now and see if thereâ€™s something that you can quite easily identify as picking out.
Once weâ€™ve cleared up our website from the very quick, easy way of cleaning it out a little bit, whatâ€™s the next best thing that we can do to help improve our visitor experience? That is selling the benefits.
Feature and benefit selling is not just something limited to Internet marketing, itâ€™s actually one of the marketing fundamentals. Too often, we know our products better than anybody and often we can get lost in the features that they have, rather than the benefits for our customers. For instance, you may work with the hoovers that you sell and you may know that 16,000rpm is one of the best features that you can have for a hoover. But the truth is for a lot of our customers who donâ€™t often buy our product, they donâ€™t quite understand whatâ€™s in it for them. And thatâ€™s a great question to ask yourself.
Whenever youâ€™re writing content for your website, whenever youâ€™re saying a feature you think to be a benefit, just say: so what? And itâ€™s that bit that comes after the â€śso whatâ€ť thatâ€™s the benefit. An example here: minty fresh toothpaste. Minty fresh is a feature of toothpaste, itâ€™s not actually the benefit. The benefit is sexy, kissable breath. If you look at some of the toothpaste advertising, youâ€™ll see this connotation in the side.
Now, we work with our products and itâ€™s really important that you expand the knowledge and provide every bit of information you can but in the eye of the recipient, in the eye of your potential future customer. So speak in a term that they can understand and they can relate.
When weâ€™re speaking about our customers, we need to be speaking in a language that they can understand themselves. Again, because we know our products we often start to use jargon words, words that our customers are not going to be able to relate to and understand.
Whatâ€™s also interesting when weâ€™re talking about the language we use with our customers is people who do know our products, people who understand what it is we do and how we do it with our products. Theyâ€™ll often skip the marketing fluff, the bit which perhaps is a bit more jazzed up to kind of entice new customers to look at our particular product range.
If we have a savvy customer, theyâ€™re not going to be reading this information because theyâ€™re already going to know. A great example is: go look at products you know a lot about. If you go to one of your favourite websites that you look when youâ€™re purchasing these products, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll skip a lot of the advertising and marketing thatâ€™s on there. However, if youâ€™re new to this product, if itâ€™s something that youâ€™ve never purchased before, often this kind of information is the information you read.
So, what weâ€™re saying here is we should be placing the novice information, that information which can kind of nurture your potential customers, along the purchasing journey. It should be towards the top of the page, with technical information or perhaps the less exciting stuff towards the bottom of the page.
There is a good reason for this – because thereâ€™s really this three-stage process that we go through when weâ€™re buying a product.
The first step is searching for a solution. For instance, you may Google â€śI need a websiteâ€ť. You have a problem and youâ€™re trying to find the solution to your problem. After youâ€™ve done the search, youâ€™ve probably through your research have come to workout that you need web hosting. So your next search is going to be for: â€śI need hostingâ€ť.
So, again youâ€™re going to do your search and youâ€™re going to go through websites and youâ€™re going to find a couple of suppliers that you like the look of. What youâ€™re then going to do is going to search for your provider. So once you find out that youâ€™ll hopefully want 123-reg for your hosting, youâ€™re going to search for reviews on 123-reg. And thatâ€™s what our customers are always doing: searching for a solution, then a product and then a provider. So we should always be considering this consumer buying cycle whenever weâ€™re designing the content for a website.
So weâ€™ve now got the general look of our website under wraps and weâ€™ve got the content under wraps but whatâ€™s the next thing that we can do? Well, itâ€™s keeping things consistent.
Keeping things consistent has a huge impact on our site. It makes everything easier. If we become familiar with our own websites, if we know our way around Iâ€™m sure if I ask you to go to some of your own favourite websites and navigate around, you can probably do it on autopilot. Thatâ€™s what we want to be able to offer to our visitors, we want them to be able to go around the site with very minimal thought process to what theyâ€™re doing because it makes them have a bit more of an enjoyable experience if they have to think less. So, if our sites are more consistent, theyâ€™re able to find what theyâ€™re looking for and navigate through our site a little easier and quicker.
And, ultimately, if our sites are more consistent, our visitors are able to understand the page and proceed to this next actual little cognitive thought. But what is this next action, how do we measure this?
This is the most important measurement within user experience: calls to action. Calls to action are getting our visitors to do what we want them to do, itâ€™s how we measure, itâ€™s how we determine our websiteâ€™s success at a page level. If you remember jumping back to our page objectives, these are going to be what make up our page objectives. Theyâ€™re going to be white buttons, theyâ€™re going to be â€śsubmit email addressâ€ť buttons, theyâ€™re going to be â€śread moreâ€ť links, â€śview productâ€ť links, even contact details. These are what our calls to action buttons are going to be.
Now, just to clarify, when we say call to action, a call to action is going to be anything that you can click on or do specifically. Itâ€™s normally a button or a link within a page, and itâ€™s certainly something that we can measure as itâ€™s often going to be our KPI. Now, too many of these calls to action on a page dilute it, and diluting it is certainly not something that you want to do because if we have one on a page obviously theyâ€™ll more likely going to click the one button than they are to click if thereâ€™s three of them.
So, what can we do to kind of control how well theyâ€™re seen? Ultimately weâ€™re looking at the call to action prominence. We want to make sure that weâ€™re thinking back to our priority. Going back to earlier, how the priority dictates our main objectives and how we want to be encouraging our visitors to do what we need them to do.
We need to be controlling the prominence by doing one of four things. For starters, the size. The size of the button is probably going to play the biggest role in prominence. Ultimately, bigger is better but if you have a page of just one giant button, thatâ€™s not going to be a great user experience because theyâ€™re not going to know what weâ€™re doing.
The second we can control is colour. Now, this goes into a little bit of psychology because if I said to you â€śthink of the colour redâ€ť and subconsciously you start thinking â€śstopâ€ť, â€śalertâ€ť. Thatâ€™s why you donâ€™t often see â€śbuyâ€ť buttons that are red. Likewise, the colour green connotes with â€śproceedingâ€ť, â€śgo aheadâ€ť and â€śsafetyâ€ť. So, youâ€™ll often find buy buttons are green.
The wording – you can look at how you can use hard sale which would be wording like â€śbuy nowâ€ť, you can use soft sale which is words like â€ścontinueâ€ť, or even directional wording which would be something like â€śpay nowâ€ť. Thereâ€™s no right or wrong answers, itâ€™s going to be something that youâ€™re going to have a look at yourself and see how you can find what suits best for your website.
The final prominence control is white spacing. This is how much area around the button, around the call to action button there is, where thereâ€™s nothing else in there. If you have all this space around the outside, this white area and in the middle of itâ€™s your nice, big green button with a perfect wording youâ€™re going to get far more people click it than if you have it covered with images and not perhaps standing out. Thatâ€™s ultimately how you make your call to action a better call to action. But letâ€™s say our visitors click it, they click our call to action, they press the buy button. Now what?
Interruptions. Interruptions are one of the worst things that we can do and often weâ€™re all guilty of doing something thatâ€™s going to interrupt our visitor from completing their journey, completing their goal or whatever theyâ€™ve come to do on our site. For instance, if theyâ€™re trying to purchase, the worst thing you can do is to throw another product in their face. There is of course this logical upselling – if you have a product or other service that you think may be relevant at the right time, then of course include it. But donâ€™t start selling them something or sending them off away on another site. You certainly donâ€™t want to have any links to somewhere else within your site.
A great example if you look at PayPal or the process when you go to pay, they take out a lot of their links. The same for eBay, when you pay with eBay you can only really click on one or two links within the page. Thatâ€™s because theyâ€™re trying to remove all the distractions and focus you on whatever your journey is trying to do, which is to purchase that product.
Letâ€™s say you have no interruptions at all. What are you going to be faced with next? Youâ€™re going to be faced with objections. And these arenâ€™t actually people saying â€śhey, wait a minute, I canâ€™t buy this because of thatâ€ť. Theyâ€™re going to be perhaps this reason why theyâ€™re on the back foot. A great example can be for a car salesman for instance, where the potential customer may think to themselves â€śoh, I canâ€™t afford this right nowâ€ť. As a car salesman, they turn around â€śwell, thatâ€™s fine, madam, we have plenty of payment plans to spread over however many months you wantâ€ť.
Now, how does that relate to us as website owners? The problem we have is that we donâ€™t have car salesmen to interact with our visitors whilst theyâ€™re there. We need to overcome their objections in advance. Your website is your salesperson. We need to be pre-empting all this information and overcoming all of these objections that may possibly pop up. This could anything from including all the information that you can possibly think of. Having a frequently asked questions section is a really great example of this overcoming objections because generally the questions you see in most FAQs areas are the same you see in most sites because those are quite often the common objections.
Similar to objections – providing enough information. Visitors may be willing to buy but they may just not be sure of that key bit of information thatâ€™s going to seal the deal. This may be: â€śHow long will it take to receive?, â€śWill it work with this other product?â€ť, â€śCan I fit it myself or do I need a professional to install it?â€ť. These bits of information might be that little tiny bit that you need to seal the deal.
Putting all the information you can, wherever you can, whether itâ€™s on the page of a specific product, in the delivery information section, in the FAQ section. Wherever it is, put whatever you can because we work with our products, we know our business and we know our services better than anybody but often our potential customers donâ€™t know what we know. So, we need to make sure that we donâ€™t miss anything out.
Of course, there are situations where we just forget something, weâ€™ve overlooked it. The last thing we want to do is allow our competitors to steal a sale from us because weâ€™ve missed something. So what we need to do is we need to make sure weâ€™re easy to contact. Making sure you have all your contact information all over your website is what can really help with this bit.
Even though you may run a part-time business and you canâ€™t answer the phone during the day or perhaps itâ€™s your full-time business and you want to have everyone call you up, it doesnâ€™t make a difference. Just make sure your emails, your phones, whatever is suitable for you, is all over your website, particularly headers and footers. Itâ€™s well know that if I say to you – â€śWhereâ€™s the contact details?â€ť – you probably start thinking to look in the header or somewhere in the footer.
At the very least you should have a contact link in the bottom, in the footer, and you should definitely have a Contact page where you maybe have a form, your email address, your phone number, whatever information youâ€™re going to be providing.
Also, as well as providing an opportunity to elaborate on a information that you missed out, you can take some of your online goals offline. So you could be making your sales that you wouldâ€™ve made perhaps through your website and do them directly through the customer. Thereâ€™s certainly nothing wrong with that. Your website isnâ€™t just your focal sale point, it allows you to be the central hub for your business.
Now weâ€™ve got all of the key elements that we can do but whatâ€™s the next step that we can take? Well, thereâ€™s something called â€śtrust elementsâ€ť. Trust elements are aspects and images on your website that are going to help your visitors feel like they can trust a little bit better. Thereâ€™s a couple that you can include in your own.
The first is awards and endorsements. Perhaps youâ€™ve won a local award, it could some sort of certification that you or your business has achieved, and this is something that youâ€™re going to want to put on your website.
The next: supplier and brands. If you work with any particular hardware, software or anyone that is a notable name, show that you work with them. It may not be that important to you but to one person it might be that one bit of information that seals you a deal.
Notable clients. Again, if you have big client lists or even if you have a small client list, just showing that you work with other clients, other people, is a great way to show that youâ€™re a trustworthy business to work with.
Finally, something called common icons. The icons you can see youâ€™ve probably seen across quite a lost of sites. Thereâ€™s research that suggests that even just seeing these elements on a website subconsciously actually make you trust a website, despite there being nothing saying that you canâ€™t put them on your site anyway.
Thereâ€™s one more trust element that you can do thatâ€™s really going to supercharge your website, and that is including testimonials and reviews. These are a great way to add a lot of trust to your site. As long as youâ€™re making sales, you can ask any of your customers for a review. Most of them will be happy to give a good one, and if theyâ€™re not happy to give a good one, theyâ€™re going to be providing information that is going to give you constructive criticism.
Putting testimonials and reviews on a website is a really great way just to display that youâ€™re not just this one band thatâ€™s going to disappear overnight with their money, but actually you deliver a good service, a good product, whatever it is. Ultimately, we buy other people so being recommended is a great way.
There are various ways that you can display the reviews on your site. You can insert them in yourself as just text, you could perhaps find a service provider who offers an independent reviews system for you. You could even perhaps get video reviews. All of these are different ways of displaying reviews and testimonials on your site that ultimately increase the value and trust of your own website.
Thereâ€™s one final trust element and this one is an extra bonus as itâ€™s the most recent and upcoming trust element that you can add, and that is social endorsement. Sites like eBay and Booking.com utilise social endorsement on their site as a way to encourage you to purchase based upon what other people are doing. Itâ€™s a subtle way of not only saying â€śwe may run out of stockâ€ť but itâ€™s also the way of saying if other people are doing it, itâ€™s ok for you to do it too. Itâ€™s creating this kind of time-sensitive â€śhey, I might miss outâ€ť mindset as a great way to encourage you to buy.
Social endorsement is a great tool. Itâ€™s very hard to find good information that you can divulge but if you can find it, itâ€™s a really great asset to your websiteâ€™s user experience.
So, that just about wraps up all the tips for today. Hopefully you found it really useful for your business. If you have any questions or comments regarding the UX for your website please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for listening and see you next time!