Website usability issues are the things that affect your visitor’s experience of your website. If they have a good experience they will be more likely to do what you want them to i.e. buy something, fill out your contact form, sign up to your service/newsletter, tell their friends and bookmark your site so they can come back. If they have a bad experience at any point on your site then you are not likely to see them again. By taking some simple steps to review and improve your usability you will increase your conversions and make more money.

The usability study was really helpful in focusing on the user experience and giving us guidance on ways to improve the user friendly appeal of our site
Mike O’Brien, MD, www.countrysidelove.co.uk

What does ‘Website Usability’ mean?

Have you ever spent time on a website that doesn’t perform the way you expect it to? I imagine that you left pretty quickly without any intention of returning. That website had a usability issue and chances are that the website owners didn’t even realise there was a problem. By prioritizing web usability and conducting a usability study in the early stages of your search engine optimisation strategy the results will come in extremely useful and in our opinion it is a crucial part of your online marketing strategy.

There are many levels of usability analysis right up to working with focus groups and testing various designs on numerous individuals from your target audience. Often this is impractical and can be expensive but a common sense approach to evaluating some key areas of your website is a great place to start. Strategy Internet Marketing now offers a design usability analysis of client sites as part of the initial strategic evaluation and audit of their website.

How can website usability issues be identified?

There are often clues that identify problem areas with websites that you will find in your visitor statistics. It may be that bounce rates are particularly high on certain pages, the average time on site may be out of sync or unexpected pages are a popular exit point. An ecommerce site might find that a disproportionate number of people are adding items to their baskets but not going on to buy. On a brochure site people may visit your contact form but very few complete it. All of these things throw up red flags and provide clear points for further investigation.

The great thing about website usability issues is that in many cases a very small adjustment can fix the problem and unplug the bottleneck. Web browsers are notoriously fickle and have increasingly high expectations about how your website should perform. When you have literally seconds to make a good impression it’s a good idea to ensure that you don’t make it difficult for your visitors to do what you want them to do.

How Strategy can help you increase your conversions by improving design usability

When working with Strategy we will learn about your target audience, understand your business objectives and be very clear about the key performance indicators that will measure our success e.g. completed contact forms, increased orders, more registered users, increased downloads, more visitors to certain pages etc. By ensuring that your tracking is working properly we can measure your current benchmark and take steps to make improvements in the right areas.

Our usability study involves looking at your website from your visitor’s perspective and evaluating the options that are available to them, so we ask questions such as:

  • What immediate message are you giving?
  • Are the next steps clear?
  • Does your navigation work?
  • Do you need/have a search option?
  • Is there a link where you expect one to be?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • What do your images/photos say?
  • Is your design clean and clear, are colours/fonts/styles used well?
  • Are the contact options clear?
  • When navigating through the site are there any dead ends?
  • Can you get lost in the site easily?
  • How do you buy something (if ecommerce) or arrange a consultation etc?
  • Do forms ask too many unnecessary questions?
  • Does your copy accentuate the benefits (or is it all about “we we we”)?
  • Is your delivery/returns policy clear?
  • Is the checkout process straightforward?
  • Are you providing the necessary reassurance to hand over credit card details?
  • If you enter at an internal page do all the links work?

It is very easy to give confusing messages on a website and not realise how this is being perceived by your visitors. Plus, it is very common for website owners to be simply too close to see any problems.

What could your next steps be?

If you would like Strategy to conduct a usability study for your website, contact us to discuss how this would work and what the deliverables would be. Alternatively check out our pay-per-results pricing option for our comprehensive search engine optimisation services which include a usability study. You can view some of our other client successes by visiting our SEO Rankings page.

If you would like to know more about our range of search engine optimisation services contact us today on 0845 838 0936 or email us.