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Strengthen your website strategy by improving your website’s UX. Find out what 5 small changes you can make right now.
It’s not as easy as it used to be to have a successful, high-converting website. There are many factors at play, and with multiple trends that seem to change constantly, you never know what the next big thing will be.
But the landscape of solid website design is not as difficult to understand or predict as it may seem at first glance. The most important thing to have is a targeted website strategy that includes adherence to the best user experience (UX) practices.
The internet offers a mix of both high and low-quality content, but there’s a reason that lower-performing sites fail to rise to the top of organic search results.
These days, a great website is more than just a collection of impressive visuals. For people to like it, they must enjoy using it and find it to be both valuable and helpful. What does this mean exactly? It means the website needs to:
These criteria aren’t simply important for the sake of turning a profit. In fact, the success of nonprofits is just as dependent on website quality and design. If you want people to take any action, not just click a button or make a purchase, the above-mentioned factors matter.
And that’s where great website strategy comes in.
In short, website strategy is the set of decisions you make to help lead your visitors toward a desired goal. This goal can be anything from subscribing to a newsletter, to completing a purchase, to registering for a webinar.
Guided by your goals and the goals of your visitors, you can make informed, strategic decisions about the design of your website.
What is the end result? A high-functioning website that gives your visitors what they want and gets your company or organization closer to its desired growth goal.
It doesn’t matter whether you already have a website strategy or you still need to develop one. The process can be broken down into four simple steps. You can use these to start from scratch or to tweak an existing strategy.
1. Define the end goal for your website
You want your website to do more than just exist. You want it to attract visitors and you want those visitors to take specific actions. What is that action? Define it and never forget it. Everything else you do will always be in service of that one end goal.
2. Get to know your target audience
The best way to achieve your end goal is to find out as much as you can about the people you’re directing toward it. Different people have unique mindsets, needs, and desires. Get to know the people you want visiting your website, and keep their personal characteristics in mind.
3. Outline an on-site funnel
An on-site funnel is a sort of map. The departure point is the moment your visitors land on your website, and the arrival point is the moment they complete your desired action. It’s up to you to map out the journey and make it as intuitive and efficient as possible.
4. Implement your strategy with the help of UX principles
Now, you need to combine the ingredients above - the goal, the target audience, and the funnel - and create an actual website designed with the end-user in mind.
But to translate this abstract journey into a tangible website, (especially if you want to do it right), you need to know the basics of UX.
There’s not a single excellent or high-converting website out there that’s not designed with the user’s experience in mind. The more pleasant it is to use, the more people will like using it. And the more people like using it, the closer you get to your own end goal.
You can either spend years learning how to do UX in depth or you can learn the following five basic principles of UX to steer you in the right direction.
Clutter creates confusion. More often than not, it pushes your visitors in all the directions except the one you want. The only antidote is clarity. When a page is composed only of the elements and content that are relevant to what your visitor needs to know, you increase your chances of success.
The choice of where to place content matters, and this includes the navigation options you offer to your visitor. You wouldn’t bury your most crucial piece of information in a generic FAQ section, just as you wouldn’t fail to provide your visitors with a way to navigate to a booking page.
A website that doesn’t serve its function is a website that is losing critical user traffic. The issue doesn’t even have to be a serious one. A user’s experience is often negatively affected even by slight decreases in responsiveness. But the biggest issues, of course, always are the ones related to completing goals, such as filling out contact forms.
Lack of consistency, just like clutter, also creates confusion. When buttons, titles, and pages all look different, you might find a visit to a single website a bit too much. Instead of making site visitors want to browse a bit longer, they start thinking about leaving the website altogether.
There are some elements to website design that are best left just as they are. For example, when you see a magnifying glass icon, do you ever wonder what it’s for? Of course not. You already know that clicking this icon allows you to do a site-wide search. That’s exactly why it’s important to know when to be creative and when to do things in a standard, predictable way.
Even if a website UX overhaul isn’t on the radar, you can still make powerful adjustments to improve user experience. Here are five changes to make in order to create the biggest impact with minimum effort.
1. Remove elements that are not relevant
If content is relevant but not that important, try to find a better place on the website for it. By doing this, you’ll make sure your visitors don’t feel overwhelmed by your homepage or become confused as soon as they land on your website.
2. Make all the main elements consistent
Go through every action button, header, text style, and page layout. Make these elements consistent in a way that aligns with your overarching website strategy or branding initiative. By creating cohesiveness, you should notice an increase in the time your visitors spend on your website.
3. Include plenty of whitespace
The use of whitespace is one of the best ways to avoid user and visual fatigue. The bigger a block of text, the less engaged the reader becomes. This applies, of course, to design elements as well. By being generous with whitespace, you allow breathing room and reduce fatigue.
4. Highlight the most crucial elements
A lot of UX design has to do with skillful use of visual language. The more prominent or visible an element is, the more importance the eye gives it. That’s exactly why hero banners are large and why CTA buttons perform well when they are a bright color that stands out from the rest of the page. These are subtle visual clues that are generally understood, even across languages and cultural cues.
5. Check the mobile version
Whatever you change to your website, keep in mind that most modern users benefit from being able to browse on mobile devices. Desktop and mobile versions of websites provide two different experiences, and the latter often needs tweaking if you want it to look and work just right.
At Acton Circle, we help your company thrive by working toward your users’ best interests. Thanks to our knowledge and experience in website strategy and UX design, we create Webflow websites that people love to use.
We’re Acton Circle, a boutique design agency helping purpose-driven organizations increase their impact. Led by Founder and CEO, Olivia Wheeler, Acton Circle has helped countless change-makers leverage the power of design for social good.Learn more