This post was first published in March 2018, but the information may be useful to businesses affected by COVID-19. Please note that some information may not be up-to-date – you can find our latest COVID-19 guides here.
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The user journey is the path that a visitor takes on your website. Ultimately, the aim for the user journey is to drive the visitor towards a specific goal such as to: complete a sale, sign up to a newsletter, follow the brand on social media, or subscribe to a service.
Now, this may sound obvious but the easiest way to improve your user journey is to make it easy. All too often businesses put roadblocks in the way which mean the journey is longer or more time-consuming, requires more effort from the user or is just downright difficult to navigate.
Reviewing your user journey should help you to think about the steps (e.g. a page or a process such as clicking a button) a user can take across a site, how easy it is to complete a journey and how long it takes so you can simplify it and increase conversion.
Read 6 things to help you get started:
Map out your user journeys
Start by understanding the various journeys that visitors could take across your site to complete a variety of goals or tasks. Remember that a journey can be everything from a one-page visit with no real interaction through to a multipage journey including reading a blog, looking at reviews, researching products and completing a purchase.
This will give you the basis to start refining and remove any unnecessary steps, delays or issues. How do different types of customers typically move through your site and what are the key touchpoints in their journey? If there’s a common page users are bouncing from, perhaps this is hindering the journey?
Although the content, visuals and steps taken on the site are important, this will all be useless if your website isn’t performing technically. How long do webpages take to load? Are there any dead links? Do you have any pages that simply won’t load? All this will disrupt the user’s journey and is more likely to see them abandon their path and click off your site.
How many steps?
Consider steps within a journey that could be removed. Although you may be concerned about losing information, you may find that there are pages on your website that repeat information and make the user journey longer. Remember that each page or action a user takes is an opportunity for them to become distracted, bored or disinterested. Each journey should succinctly present them with only the information they need to make a decision and move further down the journey path.
Your call to action (CTA) buttons or the links that drive your visitors towards a specific goal should be clear and accessible. Don’t delay those eager visitors who are ready to make the next step. Consider where buttons or links are placed on the page and their size, colour, font and design. They should stand out as the obvious next step – if not, the customer could disappear in another direction!
Sign up forms
You may have developed a great user journey through your site, and lead the visitor to a point where they’re ready to convert. However, if they are faced with a laborious sign up form that feels like a gruelling task then they are likely to disengage and abandon the action.
Start by assessing your sign up forms and asking yourself
Are we only collecting the details we really need?
Is the form easy to read and navigate?
Is the form easy to fill out?
Are there any fields we can remove?
Does the form load properly on mobile devices?
Do we really need a sign up form?
Some businesses may decide to allow customers to complete specific goals – such as moving through the sales process - without signing up. However, if this isn’t realistic for your business then seek to make any collection of details quick, easy and non-arduous for the user.
Are you missing a step?
As well as limiting steps to create a quick, direct user journey, you may want to consider whether you are missing out a step or vital information that could support customers on their path.
Analytics of your website will help to highlight if there’s any point in the user journey where you are losing potential customers. Could you include a testimonial here? Is there a dead link? Is it missing a call-to-action? Are you taking users from one step to another too quickly and not offering enough information to help them make a decision? Mapping out your journeys will help you to understand whether you’ve created a variety of user paths with all the steps in tact!
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to improve your website to boost sales, register now for the free Winning with Websites workshop with Superfast Business Wales.
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