Oct 30 2015 | by CONOR BROWN
What would you do if you were challenged to rapidly increase the results from your website without spending any money on advertising or outreach campaigns? Search Engine Optimisation is a proven way to significantly increase your traffic but it can be a competitive and time-consuming process before you see tangible results. Content marketing? No problem - a quick Google search will tell you that a bit of “storytelling” here, some “engaging content” there and a dash of “relationship building” will give you a buzzword-filled recipe for success. In reality, this is easier said than done.
These are both important aspects of developing a successful and fulfilling online experience for your users - but what can you do if you’re already ranking highly with attractive content? Marketers spend hours pouring over every syllable, adjective and verb that goes into their copy which often leads to missing the bigger picture; sometimes it’s not the words that are the issue, it’s what they’re written on.
Let your website do the work...
If you’re struggling to achieve your online goals and feel your website is underperforming, it may be time to rethink your user experience.
User experience strongly influences the way users interact with your website and the decisions they make online. It’s a simple yet powerful aspect of the design process that can have a significant knock-on effect for the success of your website; a report from Econsultancy suggests that poor online experience is costing businesses billions of pounds a year. Even if you’re already generating leads through your website, you may not realise that your user experience is limiting your results.
There are a number of factors which influence user experience. From the layout of information on your page to the choice of background colour, every aspect of your website can be tested and optimised to operate effectively. Basic knowledge about customer psychology can help you increase the performance of your website. Do you use a banner to promote products or promotions on your website? If so, there’s every chance that they’re being ignored. A 2013 study found that 86% of consumers have ‘banner blindness’, a relatively recent phenomena whereby users subconsciously ignore banner images due to a long standing association between banners and online advertisements. This problem is compounded by revolving carousel banners - further studies have found that internet users are becoming increasingly conditioned to associate movement on a web page with an advertisement and therefore ignore it. All of these things can be easily overlooked when designing a website.
Even simple psychology can turn into positive results. When we visited BrightonSEO in April, we heard from a speaker who found that simply adding an arrow pointing to the contact form on her website increased lead generation by 1.5%, which adds up over weeks and months. Another speaker told us how changing the text on a ‘Submit’ button to something more imperative and compelling (such as ‘Send your message!’) also had a positive effect on their lead generation.
Consumer psychology and user experience are intrinsically linked. With the right knowledge and implementation, business owners can see significant upturns in the performance of their website. There are a number of well documented examples of this online, such as this e-commerce website selling wall decorations which saw their conversion rate increase by 550% in 30 days - without changing any of their content or spending money on advertising.
Simple, aesthetic changes - such as putting the search bar in a more prominent position, adding a larger call to action and changing the colour theme - created a better experience for their customers and made it easier to navigate their site, resulting in an smoother customer journey which ultimately led to an increase in sales.
Colour is another overlooked aspect of the user experience. More often than not, colours are picked for purely aesthetic purposes - whether it’s fitting in with brand guidelines or because of the website owner's preferences. The role colour plays in conversion and user experience is often demoted to a secondary role (if considered at all) despite there being a number of studies highlighting the impact colour can have. A case study by Hubspot saw a website increase conversion by over 20% simply by changing the colour of their homepage call-to-action from green to red.
Knowledge is power...
All of these small design aspects play a huge role in how your users interact with your website - whether you like it or not. The increases in conversion, revenue and/or lead generation from the earlier examples didn’t happen by accident. We’re firm believers that data should inform all of our digital decisions and all the above examples were driven by extensive analysis and testing. Heat-mapping (as shown for the Wall Monkeys example above), A/B testing and eye-tracking can all provide insightful information about user behaviour and - in the right hands - can inform design changes which have a positive effect on your website results.
Analysing your website to make sure it’s performing at optimum efficiency will help you realise its full potential. There are a wide range of tools available online to help you spot any opportunities; from expensive eye-tracking tools to simply analysing your Google Analytics data. Changes in customer behaviour and online trends occur over time as web technology advances so however you do it, it’s important to keep testing and refining. For example, HTML5 is one recent advancement which has allowed developers to create new ways for customers to interact with websites, so it’s important that your design and user experience remains up-to-date to maintain efficiency.
Take care of your own and the rest will look after itself...
The results noted throughout this blog post were all achieved through simple tweaks that had been informed by careful evaluation and data-backed insights. Tactics like social media marketing, content marketing and the elusive ‘viral’ marketing are all attractive ways to promote your brand but there’s not a great deal of use chasing retweets, shares and mentions if your own media isn’t performing as well as it could.
Changing the way your users interact with your website can have a huge effect on your overall business goals. Feel free to drop us a message if you’d like more information about improving the user experience on your website and learn more about our conversion optimisation programmes to unlock your websites potential.