An unbelievable 547,200 new websites are created every day. As the number of sites increases exponentially, having a superior user experience is a sure-fire way to stand out.
Whether you’ve learned how to start a new blog or are driving traffic to a landing page, it’s likely that higher conversions is one of your goals.
Without prioritizing user experience, it’s safe to say that you will struggle in meeting that goal. UX can be defined as what users experience (hears, sees, and feels) when they visit your website or use your application.
Simply put – great UX delivers an intuitive and seamless browsing experience. But what happens if you’re UX is sub-par? The biggest danger of poor UX is the loss of traffic, conversions, and ultimately revenue.
Since UX is one of the primary means of distinguishing your website, application, and brand from that of your competitors, skipping it places you at a serious disadvantage.
Even if you’ve recently switched to working in virtual remote teams in light of recent events, there is truly no excuse to skip on user experience. Tools like online whiteboards and UX software make team collaboration easier than ever.
So now that you know how important it is, let’s get into why you can’t afford to skip on user experience to stay competitive in the marketplace.
1. Your Website Will Suffer From Lower Search Rankings
Search engines like Google constantly tweak their algorithms to ensure that the results for any given query match the intent of the user.
After all, they need to provide the best possible experience so people continue to use their search engine.
Each time Google rolls out updates to the algorithms the feedback and advice for webmasters is always the same: focus on the user.
The impact of following this advice has become evident from the ‘long-click’ effect. The longer a user stays on your website from clicking to it from the search results, the more likely your website is to rank higher in the search results.
The key thing here is to avoid pogo-sticking where a user searches on Google, clicks on your site, and then immediately bounces back to the search results.
Behavior like this indicates that your page/site is not engaging and as a result, can have a detrimental effect on your rankings.
Having poor user experience, especially in terms of speed and content structure, can lead to a pogo-sticking.
Speed is more difficult to control if you aren’t technically minded because it often requires the input of a web developer to optimize elements of your site.
However, there are some great WordPress plugins that can improve the speed of your site with just a click of a button.
More often than not, one of the biggest culprits slowing down site speed is images. In this instance, WebP Express and A3 Lazy Load WordPress plugins are great when used in combination to optimize images.
WebP Express turns all of your images into WebP format, meaning they are compressed (become lighter) and preferred by Google.
Meanwhile, A3 Lazy Load controls how your images are loaded – i.e, images are loaded only when they become visible in the user’s browser.
This reduces the number of resources needed to load your site and therefore, speeds it up.
There are many ways to improve site speed but there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are three metrics that you should focus on.
These are known as user-centric performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for the page’s main content to load. This lets the user know that the page is loading and delivers the ‘is it happening?’ experience.
- First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive or responsive. This delivers the ‘is it usable?’ experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: Measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.
In regards to the content on your site, you will always hear people telling you to produce quality content. But this is quite vague.
The key here is to create content and structure it in a way that immediately addresses the intent of your users.
For example, say you run a software review website and you are trying to target people searching for ‘XYZ Review’.
When building your landing page, you should directly address the intent of the reader towards the top of the page. In this case, it would take the form of a review summary with crucial need-to-know information.
PasswordManagers.co does a great job of delivering a user experience that directly and immediately addresses the user’s intent using the example above. Their review of Dashlane features a summary with pros and cons and an overall score at the top of the page.
Ultimately, getting both speed and content delivery up to scratch is incredibly important, especially considering that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
2. Your Website Visitors Will Stop Engaging
No matter what type of website you run, customers who feel like they are stumbling around in the dark when visiting your site will not stick around very long.
According to a recent report, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
This is particularly relevant for eCommerce sites that have endless product categories that are difficult to navigate, leading to lower conversion rates.
Aside from being presented with 20 clickable menu items in the primary menu, the drop-down menus for sub-categories and their corresponding drop-downs are perplexing.
There are menu items that appear to be duplicated creating a somewhat jarring experience leaving you not knowing where to navigate to.
Keeping your navigation as simple as possible is key.
To decide on which links to include in your menu, you can set up event tracking using Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager to monitor menu link clicks.
Based on this data you can remove those menu items that get a low number of clicks and prioritize the placement of those that are frequently clicked on.
Another suggestion is to consider adding a WordPress live chat plugin to your site so that if site visitors have questions, they can ping you directly before resorting to leaving the site.
3. Wave Goodbye to Customer Loyalty
Online shopping is not just about attracting new customers, Shopify’s State of Commerce report showed that the real battle is for brand loyalty among repeat customers.
In fact, 73% of online shoppers agree that once they find a product or brand they like, they stick with it.
If you are starting a new eCommerce business or thinking about redesigning your existing online store, there are many steps that you need to follow if you want to gain repeat customers.
But functional design should be at the forefront of your mind to craft an effective and simple website to influence customer loyalty.
All of us prefer the convenience that a simple and easy to navigate website offers and we tend to revisit sites that we like.
Remember, the design and functionality of your app or website is an extension of your brand. A good example of this is Apple. They are famously known and credited for their simple, intuitive, and easy to navigate devices.
If they were to tinker too much with this formula and break out of the established conventions that they have built over the last few decades, they may eventually lose the loyalty of their customers.
The changes don’t have to be major to have an impact either. Back in June, Apple received numerous complaints from iPhone users after they noticed an unusual green tint to their iPhone displays when first unlocking the device.
This is an extremely minor change and didn’t affect the integrity of how the devices worked but still resulted in an undesirable user experience.
The main takeaway here is to ensure that any changes are always tested on a small group of users first before being rolled out to assess the impact on how a user perceives and interacts with your website.
The internet is chock full of opportunities for innovative thinkers and mold-breaking products but you need to make sure that you stand out from the competition to be noticed.
The average human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish’s, meaning you have approximately eight seconds to make a great first impression.
Take the time to craft an effortless user experience by making your site as easy as possible to navigate and you will be rewarded.