As a small business owner, you’ve probably read plenty of articles by now about conducting research, finding your audience, and creating a customer acquisition plan for your business. The next step? Building your online following and brand presence.
This will include pumping up your social media channels, creating a blog strategy and quality content, following and engaging with the right crowd, and of course, creating and maintaining your company website.
Luckily, being a small business brings an advantage that larger companies do not have; a focused goal. The more specific your business goal and your customer persona is, the easier you can leverage user experience (UX) to improve the relationship your customer has with your brand.
Every time your brand interacts with a customer—whether in a virtual or face-to-face exchange—that encounter should be positive and healthy. If it’s not, your brand is going to get damaged and you’re missing out on a big opportunity to grow.
Upgrading your company website can be an unpredictable expense that may not seem worthy of the investment. But believe me, it is.
A positive user experience (UX) on your website can mean the difference between just a few sales a month, or hundreds.
Understanding User Experience
Unlike earlier years, when you could have a simple website and your business was good to go, the expectation for business sites, apps, and digital marketing initiatives has become higher. The demand from users for rich, immersive, and functional two-way encounters has increased exponentially.
This is what gave rise to the new term: user experience (UX).
In short, UX is about how an individual feels when he or she interacts with systems—including websites, applications, or software you’ve developed. Generally speaking, most users base their opinions on:
- visual appeal
and other similar elements.
So how does UX affect your small business? Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering an upgrade for your website.
1. How’s the load speed of my website?
These days, the majority of internet use is done on mobile devices. It’s a fact.
In a page load study conducted by Kissmetrics, 80% of people said they expected a page to load in less than 10 seconds. And if it doesn’t? Well, it’s an easy “on-to-the-next-site” click. In an age where multitasking is common and patience is at an all time low, your website’s load speed directly influences the experience.
2. Are my website’s visuals appealing?
Visuals are huge nowadays. Although copy is still obviously important in marketing there is a new emphasis on visuals. This includes the content you choose — including photography, images, and buttons —to create a seamless experience for users. Other things to consider is appropriate font size, condensing menu size, and a “fixed width” site so that users aren’t forced to scroll horizontally.
3. Is my website mobile compatible?
Similar to your page load speed, your company’s website should be compatible with mobile devices. Better yet, make it compatible with all devices (including iPads, tablets, etc.). That way, you ensure that your users remain happy when visiting your website. Nothing is more aggravating than scrolling through a website that doesn’t fit your device’s screen!
These days, it is almost a given that a website is mobile compatible. For this to work, your website needs to either be mobile-friendly or responsive.
Well what’s the difference?
Mobile Friendly means the website is designed so that it will perform well no matter what device the user is viewing it on. This usually means that it is simplified so that it will look good and be functional on mobile devices.
The website doesn’t change—it remains the same across all platforms.
Responsive websites usually change to fit the device that they’re being viewed on. For example, your website’s menu could have 10+ options on desktop, but once switched to iPhone, it could be narrowed down to 5 categories instead.
Regardless of which method you choose for your website, mobile compatibility is key to improving customer-brand interaction for your small business.
4. Does my website have clearly defined paths?
As simple as this one may be, there are websites out there with very little clarity in their mapping and paths. If your business objective is to increase sales, you need to make it easy for users to purchase an item. If your goal is to increase conversions, you need to make it easy for users to find the right information that will drive them to convert.
For example, there are companies out there with little to no basic contact information. When considering UX, make sure you clearly define your paths, and that they align with your business objective.
Remember, these potential customers coming to your website aren’t here to break a sweat trying to find ways to contact you. Your goal should be to make sure you make it easy for them to find all the information they’re looking for. Your phone number, email, and address should all be readily available on your website. A great way to take advantage of this is to create a click-to-dial feature so that users can simply tap on your phone number and begin calling you.
5. Is it a “functional” and “intentional” design?
Everything on your website should be there for a reason. This includes photos, content, typography, colours, and yes—even buttons!
A good rule of thumb to ensure your website design is aesthetically pleasing is to keep up with the industry styles.
Some other factors to consider when upgrading your website:
Personality and Unique Style: Since you own a small business, your website should include something different than what you see everyday. Adding a touch of personality to your site can work wonders. You want visitors to remember your website and have it stand out amongst the other thousands of websites they’ve been to.
Design Process: A good practice before jumping head first into hiring someone to upgrade your website is to revisit your business goals and how success is measured, as this will greatly influence how the rest of your UX design pans out.
Ready to leverage user experience (UX) for your small business?
A positive user experience (UX) for small businesses is essential to converting visitors to customers. Focus on the compatibility of your website across all devices, load speed, clearly defined paths, and keeping a functional and intentional design and you will be much closer to leveraging UX properly for your small business. Remember a positive UX on your website can play a huge role in whether you’re converting a few customers or a few thousand.