Optimising the User Experience Part 1
If you’re looking to optimise your website, improve your conversions and ultimately delight your customers, you’re going to need to understand who those customers are, what info they need/want to see and how they’re going to get to, then navigate, your website. Understanding what we call “the buyer persona” and “the user journey” is of critical importance to the effectiveness of your website’s optimisation. Firstly you optimise for Google and other search engines so they can deliver the website to your ideal customers, and secondly you optimise for your customers who you’ll want to impress with an intuitive experience. In this 3 part series we’ll discuss how you can build, or renovate, your website into a conversion powerhouse, through consistent and effective optimisation.
The buyer persona | Delighting customers online
Before you can start anything, you’ll need to define who your ideal customer, or buyer persona, is. Analyse your current sales data, review social media insights, chat to your sales & customer service team, and use this data to design a picture of the ideal customer who’s the most valuable to you. This customer should be made up of the most identifiable demographic traits you’ve researched and should be as accurate as possible. For example, your buyer persona should read something like this;
- Mid to high income
- Not a home owner (this could probably be anyone in Sydney under 35, amirite?)
- High achiever and looking to climb professionally
- Uses Facebook & Instagram regularly
- Prefers to deal online, not on the phone
This is deliberately general, but your persona should indicate as many personal traits of your semi-fictitious persona as possible. In doing this, you’re assessing the pain points that have placed this persona in your businesses orbit. In other words, the problems they have that your products can solve. Furthermore, this data should guide you to where your customers are, like a particular social media platform for example. Creating a successful persona will indicate the who, where, and why, which is the perfect foundation to begin your optimisation.
The user journey | customer experience
Think about the last time you bought something from a bricks and mortar store. Was the experience you had a good or a bad one? Chances are you’ll be able to quickly round off the details of your experience, but they almost always revolve around helpfulness, availability, and simplicity. Was the person in the store helpful and listen to what you were looking for? Did they then guide you to a product that was relevant and available? Did you understand how to purchase the product, and was it easy to do so? The online experience should be the same; you need a website that’s helpful, delivers what it says it does, and is simple and easy to purchase from.
Being user-centric | Optimising the online experience
In order to do this, you need to consider your buyer persona, and how you’re going to answer the questions they’ll ask. Remember that you’re designing your website for them, not you. It’s about clearly displaying the relevant information in order to educate your customer, so they can find the answers they need and then be easily guided through the purchasing process. But before we look at in-depth user experience, your customers need to find you first.
How to be found online by search engines and customers
Think about the last time you were in a shopping centre, like Westfield, where you’re surrounded by options of similar product offerings. Now let’s say you’re looking for a simple black t-shirt. As you stand in the middle of this shopping centre, you start to look at the shopfronts, firstly you start to ignore any store that doesn’t look like it has any clothing in it, then you start to assess the available clothing stores you can see. Now let me guess what you do next; would you pick a clothing store that looks like it has casual clothing, that’s clean and well displayed, and that has lots of people in it? Of course you would, and you’re not alone. People are drawn to things that are aesthetically pleasant, and are intrigued by what others find interesting. If you see a lot of people in a store, looking around and making purchases, you think to yourself “so many people are finding this interesting, I should check it out!”.
How to attract search engines
Search engines work in a very similar way to how you would in the above example. A user puts in a search term like “black t-shirts Sydney Westfield” then the search engine crawls through the internet to bring you the most relevant results, which in this case is clothing stores that are located in the Westfield Sydney shopping complex. While you would look for clean, well-displayed stores, a search engine would look for relevant content and information in order to decide what the best possible page is for you to view for that store’s website. While you’d be intrigued by a busy store, search engines are intrigued by websites that have a lot links (or referrals if you like) pointing back to it. Think of these links like your friends recommending that store to you. If one friend was to recommend a certain store to you, then the chances of you visiting that store would be higher. If 10 friends were to recommend that store, you’d almost certainly want to check it out. The more links back to that store’s website, the higher the ‘authority’ of that site is, thus the more search engines view it as a relevant and reputable suggestion to display for the user. In short, attract search engines and they’ll attract your customers.
Next time on Reef blog… | Optimising the user experience
Stay tuned for my next post where we’ll be tying together the above points and looking at a couple of tips on how you can optimise your website for search engines and deliver the most relevant results to your potential customer. In this way, you’ll be offering the best user experience, getting you much closer to securing yourself a conversion. Can’t wait for part 2? Get in touch with Reef team and I and find out how your business can increase conversions by optimising the user experience.