01 November 2018
If you ask someone what makes a good website, you will probably get a plethora of different answers. However, it all comes down to one thing, and this is user experience. You need to design something that gives users an easy, enjoyable, and intuitive experience. Not only is this important for their personal view of your website, but it impacts search engine optimisation too. After all, a UX design is something that Google ranks highly. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the secrets to improving your website’s experience… Improve your 404s There is nothing more frustrating for a user than finding a dead-end. Of course, the main aim is to make sure that you do not have any 404 pages. However, sometimes this cannot be helped, and so you need to make sure you do 404 pages the right way. This means you’re your 404 pages should have a clear direction. Users should know where to go next. If they don’t, they are simply going to exit your website altogether. Onboarding For onboarding to be a success, you must make sure that your viewers reach their success moments. And, for this to be the case, you need to know what success looks like for your user. What do they want to achieve by buying your product, using your service, or visiting your website? Professionals can help you to build your strategy effectively so that you understand the different roles your product is being utilised for, and what success looks like for each of these roles. This enables them to design paths that guide your users through your product features so that success is achieved. Website security Website security is important for a number of reasons. It’s not just the site itself that you need to worry about. If there is a serious breach, then you might even find that your own systems are affected. Whatever software you might use that has anything to do with your website, you will want to keep a close eye on it. It might be that you have some software specifically designed for your forum, for example. If you are not careful, this could easily be used against you by hackers to undermine the security of your website more generally. The most vital thing here is to ensure that you always keep all software updated as soon as possible. This is especially important when patches are brought out for old problems, which have been spotted, but you should do it all the time regardless. You also need to make sure you have trust signals on your website so your users know it is safe. Educate your users You may be wondering how educating your users will improve user experience. Well, users are constantly on the lookout for the right information. If you can supply it at the right time, you will be providing them with the ultimate education. Through educating the user, you are empowering them, and this will often lead to them converting into paying customers. Choose a web host carefully Web hosting is important for two reasons: speeding up your website and enhancing security. Some of the best website builders come with hosting included. You are probably aware that the performance of your website is impacted by the host you choose. However, hosting is not something you often think about when you are trying to keep your site secure. If you want to make sure that you are hosting your website in the safest way possible, then you need to look into what your various options are. Often, it is considerably safer to use shared hosting, so that might be worth trying if you are particularly concerned for your website’s safety and security. Alternatively, you might want to host it yourself, as long as you have the resources. But bear in mind that you will then need to make sure you are protecting your own system as well as possible. Remote user testing The final tip to follow in your quest to improve user experience is to engage in remote user testing. This is something that has enabled the best companies around the world, from Microsoft to Facebook, to improve their website’s user experience, boost conversions, and create a better service or product. Remote user testing allows for greater diversity in testing while also eliminating the need for a lab, and being quick and affordable. This process will enable you to discover the ‘why’ behind your users’ opinions and thoughts, and the ‘how’ behind their actions, so you can make tweaks to improve your website. If you follow the advice that has been mentioned above, you will notice drastic improvements to your website. Not only will you start to climb up the search engine result pages, but your conversion rates will improve too. The article was written by Jann Chambers from UK Web Host Review. @UKWebHostReview
11 October 2018
Have you ever clicked away from a website because you couldn’t decide if their services would be the right fit for you? Or just because something about the brand’s voice didn’t really resonate with you? The purpose of web copywriting is to make sure you don’t do that. To persuade your potential customer to choose you over a competitor, you need to have more than a couple of great, attention-grabbing headlines on your website. Your web copy needs to resonate with your target audience on a deeper level – and for that, a sense of style and purpose is essential. You need to know exactly what your brand is trying to say, and how you are going to go about it, down to the very last abbreviation and apostrophe. Without this understanding, your message may get lost in the wind, and your potential customers may leave your website to purchase something from your competitors instead. Stay consistent to build trust Consistency builds trust. And trust leads to sales. Remember, having a website is not just about presenting a beautiful face to the world. It’s about using that face to sell your products and services, which simply will not happen if your potential customers don’t trust you. Staying cohesive and consistent in your web copy will help you look and sound more professional, establishing the kind of trust that is needed to make a sale. Consistent does not have to mean boring, either. Think about Richard Branson, for example. He has built a multi-billion dollar empire around doing the unexpected and the risky. And yet he is consistent in delivering an amazing, customer-centric experience that is aligned with his values of adventure and risk-taking. These values are communicated frequently and consistently in all of his marketing materials, including his web copy. Keep in mind that you need to stay consistent in both your purpose (what you are saying) and your style (how you are saying it) to really take advantage of the “consistency builds trust” principle. Let your purpose do the persuading Remember the old saying: if you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one. If your copy is trying to persuade everyone, it will not persuade the people who really matter. To be effective, your web copy needs to be very clear about the people you are trying to reach and the point you are trying to get across. Just like a mumbo-jumbo of styles and tones will turn potential customers away, so will a message that’s diluted and lacking purpose. However, a very clear, passionate message can save a website and a business that has fallen behind the times in the design department. If you let your purpose shine through in every piece of copy you put on your website, you will increase the persuasive power of your writing. Make the most out of your words Unfortunately, knowing what your brand is all about and what you are trying to say with your copy is not always enough to make you stand out in a crowded market. It is also important to know how to make the most out of the words you put on the page. Even if you can’t afford to hire a professional copywriter, knowing a few basic style and language rules is important to really make the most out of your copy. In general, using direct, persuasive language will convince and move the reader along in the buyer’s journey. Flowery language filled with unnecessary adjectives will confuse them, and make them click away from your website. And the same goes for using unnecessarily long words or jargon — they’ll make you sound like you are trying too hard. And the same goes for using excessively lengthy phrases when a shorter word will do, for example saying “due to the fact that” instead of a simple “because”. Try using one of the many online grammar and spelling tools to give your copy a second pair of eyes. Even the most skilled writer misses things every now and then, so it’s worth double-checking. Project a strong brand identity Building a brand identity is not just about designing the perfect logo or choosing the right fonts or images for your website. Your messaging and positioning is a core part of your brand, and nowhere is it better reflected that in your website copy. From your About Us page to your Services page, your website copy is the place to show your potential customers who you are and what you stand for. A strong brand identity is vital in trust-based ecosystems like ecommerce — a brand identity can make or break your product business. In fact, a robust brand is one of the most important components of building an ecommerce store, and one of the top KPIs investors look for in a new venture or startup. Let’s say you want to diversify your portfolio and pick up a business for sale online — what data do you need to consider? Firstly, make sure it has a reliable and stable environment, plus plenty proof of concept indicators (reviews etc). Secondly, it should have an existing marketing strategy that you can hit the ground running with — you don’t want to have to create it from scratch. Finally, it needs to have a strong brand identity. In a world where branding is everything, it’s vital that your new business has a strong cachet with its customers. Everything from how you say “hello” on social media to how you abbreviate your business name on your website gets etched into customers’ memories and becomes a part of your brand identity. No detail is too small to mention. That is why a good copywriter will usually ask you about things like words you would never use, industry-specific terms that you like to stay away from, and even your preferences when it comes to using certain abbreviations in your copy. Without cohesive, distinctive website copy that drives your point home, a potential customer might leave your website feeling confused and uninspired. Having a sense of style and purpose behind your copy will help you differentiate yourself from other brands, increase the persuasive power of your words and ensure that your website visitor actually reads your copy. That said, making sure your web copy actually accomplishes all of that can sometimes seem nothing short of impossible. Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce entrepreneur from Ecommerce Tips, a blog dedicated to sharing his years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Whether it’s marketing mishaps or design disasters, Patrick can steer you right. Check out the latest tips and hacks on Twitter @myecommercetips.