User experience is essential to your website's performance; if users can't find what they’re looking for, they’ll most probably just go elsewhere to find the information they seek.
Finding out why users leave websites can be challenging at times and requires extensive research and user testing to try and see what is causing them to leave. However, there are some quick and simple ways you can improve the user experience today, that could improve your website’s performance and ultimately improve conversions.
Before we begin, we have blurred some images to protect our clients’ data; however, you can still see the thought-process behind it. So let’s dive straight in.
1. Responsive Design
Responsive design can play a key role in user experience. With more people browsing websites on mobile and tablet devices, it's vital that your website is optimised effectively across all devices and platforms.
Responsive websites are designed to provide an optimal viewing experience for users across all devices, which allows the same website to adapt to the screen it’s being viewed on without compromising the functionality or aesthetics.
We are already seeing mobile users surpassing desktop users in 2015, and this is only going to increase further into the year.
Responsive Design is important for 2 reasons:
- It delivers a consistent user experience across all devices.
- It enables potential customers to browse your website on any screen size, making it easier to absorb information and make purchases through mobile and tablet devices.
2. Website Speed
Page speed plays an even more important role with user experience, especially across mobile devices, because when users are browsing on the go, they want to access information as quickly as possible without waiting around for the website to load.
It's been proven that pages that load faster both rank and convert better as a result, and the fact that Google confirmed that page speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank a page further highlights the importance of getting it right.
Let’s look at some studies:
Slowing down the Google search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6%. (Google)
40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. (Econsultancy)
A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversations. (Kissmetrics)
The best way to analyse your website’s page speed is through Google Analytics. Click on the section Behavior - Site Speed - Page Timings then click on DOM timings at the top. You will then be able to see the average document interactive time on each page.
3. Site Search Functionality
Many websites have a search box functionality, where users can search for information within the website. Most users will only use the search box if they can't find what they are looking for from the main navigation area.
From a search perspective this is valuable data, because it allows you to find out exactly what users are looking for on your website.
To investigate this more, go into Google Analytics and navigate to Behavior - Site Search - Search Terms where you will be able to see what users are looking for.
If you find that there is a high search volume for some keywords, then it could be a case of adding the topic or category keyword into the main navigation, which will save users the trouble of manually searching through your website.
4. External Links
Regularly checking for any broken links that could lead to a 404 error page is essential as these could result in a bad user experience and increased bounce rate.
Another instance could be a case of your competitors linking out externally to the wrong page, for example; let’s say a blog links out to one of your pages "website design services" but the page targets “SEO services”. Therefore, this could have an impact on the bounce rate and user experience, resulting in loss of potential business.
In Google analytics, you can see which websites are linking back to you. If you notice they are linking to the wrong page, then you can contact the website and ask them to change the link to the correct page.
5. User Testing Behaviour
User behaviour supports the user experience because it allows you to find out why users do what they are doing on your website.
Below is screenshot of Crazy Egg in action.
The example above shows that users are searching for information via the search box quite often. If you recall from #3 on our list, you can take a look into Google Analytics and investigate any high search volume keywords.
See your website from a user’s perspective and see how they behave and interact on your website. Discover what makes visitors take action and what causes them to leave, then use this information to make decisions about to update.
6. User Behaviour Flows
In Google Analytics, you can identify ‘user behaviour flows’ that focuses on how users are navigating through your website, and allows you to find out where they are interacting the most.
So, after a user lands on your website, where do they go next? Which pages do they spend most of their time on? How far in the sales process do they go until they make a purchase?
There are many ways a user behaves on your website, for example;
- A user reads your article and finds it helpful, so they join in the conversation and leave an interesting comment.
- After the user has left their comment, they see another link below the article that also looks interesting, so they click the link.
- They find the article content so good, that they decide to sign-up to your email newsletter to receive more articles.
This is just an example, but statistics show that it usually takes around 7 visits to get a user to take some sort of action on your website. In 2014, Google announced the introduction of Content Groupings to Behaviour Flow in GA.
This allows you to understand the behaviour of your content and lets you see visitors’ journeys across your site. Below is an example of how a user is behaving on the website, and what pages they are visiting the most.
Understanding what users are doing and how they are behaving on your website is crucial; you can significantly improve their experience and increase your conversions too. It forms the basis of conversion optimisation, which is a growing area within digital marketing.