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May 25 2012
Tips and Tricks

User Experience: The Key To Successful Online Sales

PostedFriday May 25th 2012

Whenever I am asked to create a website for a client, I always start by asking – ‘What experience do you want your customers / visitors to have?

It’s not unusual when you’re beginning to plan your website to find yourself feeling uncertain what steps to take for success. By far the biggest task at hand is defining not only your business objectives for the site, but also defining the user experience. You need to figure out how to guide your reader from the opening page to the point where you can make a sale.

In order to define the User Experience, you must determine the goals for your site.  Be clear on the purpose of the site (is it a Selling Site, Informational, Lead Capture), understand who the target audience for the site is and then set reasonable goals so you can measure your website’s success in viable ways.  Once you have this information, you can define the experience you want your visitors to have on your site.

One thing that will help you is to find other sites that offer goods or services similar to yours.   One reason you should do this is that you’ll very quickly discover what you don’t like – be it colors, format, wording or similar – please make note of these things! Secondly, even when you find concepts you like, you’ll want to differentiate your layout so it suits your target audience and branding.

Here are some helps and hints to defining the user experience for a greater level of success.

  1. Your site layout should make sense and be very easy to navigate. If people have to hunt for what they want, you’re unlikely to get the sale.  1 rule of thumb I use is to make sure that a visitor can buy or act on a Call To Action within 3 clicks…
  2. Find a way to involve your user. Interactive sites engage a readers senses more thoroughly, meaning they will likely to stay longer. Video or audio is an excellent way to interact with your visitors.
  3. Allow your users to give you feedback on their experience. People LOVE to give opinions and you can get some really great ideas for future updates this way. This also makes your user feel closer to you – personalization is a huge tool in cyberville.
  4. Maintain simplicity. A business website that’s too complex does nothing to satisfy the click-through culture. Give your visitors what they want quickly along with the opportunity to do something about it.
  5. Spell check (don’t laugh – you’d be amazed at how many potential customers will be put off by sloppy writing).
  6. Do your research; test your design. You may not get it right the first or even the second time.  In fact, your website should constantly evolve, as your business does…
  7. Hire the right people for the right jobs (i.e. don’t expect your SEO writer to be a web guru, and don’t ask your web guru to write!).
  8. Get to know your visitors. You can’t target the world. The better you come to know who is using your website and WHY, the better you’ll be able to utilize that space.

It’s incredibly helpful to have someone else walk through your site and give feedback on their experience!

Finally, constantly return to your branding and your business goals throughout the process.  Consistency matters.

Charly Leetham is a Small Business Coach and Online Business Implementation Expert and she helps small businesses take their business online. Charly provides services to solopreneurs and small business who wish to sell or promote their products and services online. Visit www.AskCharlyLeetham.com for more information

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