Offering a great customer experience is essential for any business and isn’t limited to the quality of your products. You could have great products at the lowest prices and still be driving customers into the welcome arms of your competitors with a sucky customer experience.
The same applies to the user experience on your website. If your usability is good then you have a better chance of converting visitors into customers. So how does your website rank for user friendliness?
How responsive are you?
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are fast becoming the biggest platforms for accessing the internet so websites really need to be optimised for mobile.
Check how your website appears on mobile – you can use Google mobile site tester. Does it resize to your device screen?
If yes, take 1 point.
If no, minus 2 points.
If you had to look up what a responsive site is it probably means you don’t have one and you can deduct another point from your total.
Channel your inner cheetah
Most web users are impatient and they’re not going to wait around for a slow-loading website. In the digital world there is no such thing as “all good things come to those who wait” and patience is certainly not a virtue. If your website is a slow-loader your potential customers will quickly give up and head over to your competitors faster website.
Use a tool like Pingdom to test the speed of your website – you’ll also get suggestions on how to improve your speed – your website should load within 4 to 6 seconds to keep visitors from bouncing and to improve your search engine ranking.
Take 5 points if it’s less than 6 seconds.
Under 8 seconds: 2 points.
Over 8 seconds: minus 5 points.
If you’re not up on your internet lingo tl;dr means ‘too long; didn’t read’. Attention spans are getting shorter and you don’t want to lose customers because your website isn’t keeping pace with changing habits.
The average web user skims web pages so your content should be short and to the point with headings, sub-headings, paragraphs and bullet points to help break up text.
Take 2 points for a header and a sub-header on the home page.
Minus a point if your website has more than 300 words on your home page without scrolling down
Search and rescue
If a visitor can’t easily find what they want on your website it’s unlikely they’ll stick around long enough to become a customer. Providing an internal search box in a visible location like the upper right hand corner of each page can help rescue a sale. Users appreciate this time-saving apparatus and the quicker you get customers to where they want to be the more likely it is you’ll get a sale.
Two points for a search box; minus two if you don’t have one.
Is there a human in the house?
When a potential customer has a burning question, or really needs to get in touch, the worst thing your site can do to them is provide a generic contact form and nothing else. A contact form is fine but only if you provide more direct means of contact like email or phone number as well.
People feel comforted by people not email boxes and contact forms. If you’re not giving customers a way to contact you immediately it looks like you’re not interested in hearing from them and that’s bad for business. Allow users to contact you directly and the chances of you calling them ‘customers’ increases.
Give yourself 2 points for a phone number.
Take 1 point for a direct email.
Deduct 4 points if you have neither.
5+ points: Congratulations, your website is so friendly it’ll have its own kid’s TV show soon
2-4 points: Your website is one of those people who are friendly but “only when you get to know them”
0-2 points: Your website has an unapproachable face and every now and then shouts “what are you looking at then?” at passers-by
-0 points: Your website hates everyone and doesn’t let them forget it. A makeover is desperately required.
About the author
Maria Bellissimo-Magrin is the CEO of full-service creative marketing agency Belgrin. She previously wrote How to Win Fans and Influence Purchases, Digital Branding: Six ideas to help your SME nail this increasingly complex task, Define your culture…now, is that the reality?, What a 90s advert reveals about business today, How can SMBs get the most out of LinkedIn?, Virtual reality revolution: time to get ahead, why potential customers ignore your ads, Rebranding: when to take the leap? and Social media channels your SME needs to be on.