The UX, or user experience, of your website will make or break you — if your target doesn’t enjoy visiting your website, it doesn’t matter how good your products or services are. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your website is about you or what you offer because above everything else, your site is about the user. The good news is that it isn’t hard to please the people who visit your site, assuming that you have an open mind and you’re willing to make certain design changes to improve your site, your business, and ultimately your profits.
Don’t Fear the White Space
Image via Flickr by hackNY.org
One common mistake people make as they’re designing their own sites is the fear of white space. The typical explanation is that they think that space is better spent advertising something else they do. They want to cram in as many ads and as much content as possible. That’s neither necessary nor smart. A balance of white space makes your site easier to read, more pleasing to look at, and it keeps the attention on your content. That last bit is particularly essential because…
Content Is King
Remember this. Commit it to memory. Say it to yourself every day. It does not matter if you offer a physical product or service. Your website still needs content. Even small businesses devoted to catering, cleaning, or lawn service benefits not just from a website, but from a blog attached to it. Keep readers up-to-date about what you’re doing. Share stories and anecdotes as well as information. Offer expert, knowledgeable advice. Just make sure you present something relevant and easy to read.
Always Opt for Responsive Design
Responsive design is non-negotiable these days. Nearly everyone relies on a smartphone, a tablet, or even a smartwatch to use the internet. It’s no longer solely about creating a website that pleases people who use laptops and personal computers.
The design and flow of your site should work and look the same across all devices, which means you also need to keep up with advancing technology. If you optimize your site to look great on popular tablets and phones, you’ll see an enormous and immediate difference in your UX. Just make sure you also take into account the speed of your site and how that translates — make it as fast on T-Mobile’s network as it is on a lesser-known carrier.
Be You-Centric, Not We-Centric
The content on your site needs to speak to your customers. Instead of saying what “we, the company” can do, tell users what they’ll love. Use “you” to speak directly to your target audience in your content, headlines, newsletters, and blurbs. Try to avoid extolling the virtues of your brand, business, or product. That seems counterintuitive, but your users want you to speak to them, not at them.
Keep It Simple, Sweetheart
This is not the 1990s. You are not hosting your website on Geocities. You do not need something complicated and flashy. Simple is always better. Keep it simple in looks, and keep the design smooth and uncomplicated, as well. Don’t make it difficult to find your products, look for help, or search for keywords. Don’t make it impossible to place an order, reach customer service, or lodge a complaint.
Try A/B Testing If You’re Unsure
You probably know what A/B testing is even if you haven’t heard or used the term before. It simply involves testing two versions of your website to see which one performs better with your audience. You want to find out which one your target prefers. This is a foolproof way to ease you into making changes and to show you the light if you’re reluctant to change the design of your site simply because you like it.
Design a new page using these tips, and pit it against your current site. You can even limit your changes to just the landing page or the main content page. See which one comes out on top. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
Your website is your baby, but babies grow. Improve your user experience and everything else will follow. Just try it.