Before launching your website, you felt sure it’d receive a healthy amount of traffic, but those expectations just haven’t come to pass. Or maybe your site did well at first, and now it hardly receives any visitors. Below, we’ll look at several things that could be contributing to your struggling site, plus how to fix them.
There are many things that could cause a poor user experience. Maybe your site isn’t well organized, so it’s too hard for people to find what they need, or perhaps the drop-down menus that make up the bulk of the navigation are clunky and make it difficult for people to click on the sections they intend to visit.
If you think user experience is to blame for your site’s woes, it’s a good idea to recruit some volunteers to go through the site as they would if they were regular visitors. Hire people to watch them as they do that and make notes about the parts of the site where they seem to get the most frustrated. If possible, repeat the experiment again after your design team has tackled some of the identified issues.
Sites that only go through in-house testing could be particularly prone to offering poor user experiences, because the people doing the testing may be so familiar with the site, they unconsciously click around to different sections with prior knowledge in mind, which makes their results less authentic overall.
When carrying out usability testing, you can employ several methods but should have objectives in mind no matter which one you select. It’s even possible to use a technology that relies on artificial intelligence to gather statistics about user experiences, then sends you a video of all the things people do on your website. That kind of collective data could help you understand where the site’s most problematic areas lie.
According to some internet analysts, over half of a website’s visitors spend less than a minute there. You only have about 15 seconds to get their attention and make them want to stick around longer. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle and enticed your guests to linger, are you doing what you can to make them want to provide their information so you can send them more information that’s relevant to them?
If not, you’re making a big marketing mistake. The internet is vast, and even if people are initially impressed by what they find at your site, they may have trouble getting back to it in the future, especially if they forgot to bookmark it. When your site includes a contact form or some other method of at least obtaining people’s email addresses, you can follow up with them instead of waiting for them to come back to you.
Although it’s common to have a specific section of a site that contains a contact form, it’s smart to do more by capturing leads earlier on within the timeframe a user spends on the site. Consider having a lightbox that opens when a person first arrives on a landing page and offers some sort of incentive if an individual enters their details into the box.
Avoid asking people for too much information. Only request the details you need most and you’ll see a higher rate of return. Things that could be offered to make people want to provide personal details in exchange for something free include:
After gathering those details, site marketers can put them to use by using them to contact the individuals who provided the details. The correspondence could inform people about recently added content on the site, sales and new products. Then the site’s being marketed well and you’re doing your part to make sure good leads don’t get away.
Because mobile devices are so ubiquitous in today’s society, you can’t assume people are only accessing your site on desktop and laptop computers. It’s crucial to include elements of responsive design so the site works as well on a smartphone as a computer.
Statistics say over 60 percent of searches originate from mobile devices. Google also gives its nod of approval to responsive design as the preferred way to make your website mobile-friendly. Responsive design causes the site to detect the screen size of a user’s device and display content accordingly for the best browsing experience.
Access your site from tablets, smartphones and computers, and see if you enjoy a consistent user experience across each platform. If not, it’s time to make some meaningful design improvements.
Instead of utilizing responsive design on the main website, you could also make a second website that’s specifically for mobile users. Simply have a redirect in place that sends people to the mobile site when needed or add a link to the mobile specific website to the footer of the main page.
When people come to your website and see you haven’t updated the content in six months, that could give them a poor impression. They may think you’ve lost interest in the website and wonder why they should put any energy towards spending time there. They also could think that because the content is so outdated, whatever the site offers isn’t appropriate for their needs.
Fresh content plays heavily into an intelligent SEO strategy. Search engine crawlers visit regularly updated sites more frequently. You should target your content to people, not search engine crawlers, but both of them benefit when you take time to add fresh content.
Consider that keeping the content current could also help people see the website as an authority in the industry. You can strengthen that perception by promoting shareable, relatable content across appropriate social media feeds.
When trying to answer the question posed by this article’s title, you’ll probably discover there’s not a single factor causing your website’s performance to lag. However, the insight you’ve just read should help you uncover some of its most prominent problems. Then you’ll be in a great position to make redesign plans that get fantastic outcomes.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.