Small Business Financing: Planning a User Experience for Your Website
Small business owners are awakening to the importance of a digital presence more and more lately, as well as the ability for them to create business and buzz that can help them get found, stay in touch with fans and brand advocates and even make sales through digital storefronts. For some business owners, the creation of a website is the biggest step that they have taken towards integrating technology into their business plan, but for others it is just the beginning of the development that they put in to their virtual presence. Once a business owner has a website, they can begin to gather big data regarding how well it is meeting their goals. Depending on what their data is telling them, they will have a list of ways that they would like to improve their website. It can be tempting to work on different parts of a site in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, but in order to create the best experience for their clients, business owners should take a step back and look at the bigger picture of how their site works.
Think holistically about the experience of your customers as they enter your website. One of the great tools for analysis of a website that small business owners may or may not already be using is “visitor flow”. Essentially, visitor flow will give you a view of the paths that your visitors take through website including how many drop off after the first page and where they tend to go page by page. This tool is useful for many reasons, and can help to optimize a wide variety of websites geared towards different user experiences. For example, if you manage an e-commerce site and you notice that people will frequently view multiple items for sale and then leave the site, this might be telling you that you should make your checkout navigation easier or more apparent. If people can’t figure out how to buy whatever it is that they are looking at easily the second that they decide they want it, then the odds are good that they will quickly refocus their attention on something else.
Make it simple for your visitors to decide what they are looking for and then go to it. A lot of the time, business owners feel so strongly about their business that they let their ideas for it take up entirely too much space and time, resulting in a bombardment of information that casual web users will not be likely to go through. This is the same problem that can result in poorly targeted sales pitches, since the owner of the business is so excited to share their enthusiasm that they forget to think of what the client actually needs. While your business is unique and special, a little bit of unsentimental logic can help you determine what your clients expect to see and what they need in order to experience the site as intended. Make your site conform to a user experience that you have taken the time to think about, and you will see the improvement reflected in your data.
Photo Credit to The Open Dept. on Flickr