You might have heard it said before that your website should be your hardest working employee. I agree that having an effective website is really helpful when it comes to building and growing a successful business.
And the good news is that an effective website really only needs to do one thing: give visitors a great experience so they keep coming back and/or take the actions you want them to take.
That said, there are three essential elements that contribute to a great user experience on your site. So in this post, I’m sharing those three elements and giving you simple steps to take to make sure your website is doing its job as your hardest working employee.
Element #1: Direction to next steps.
Every page and post on your site should include some sort of next step people can take. In other words, there shouldn’t be any “dead ends” on your site.
People are busy and they’ve got a million things that can distract them at any moment. Because of this, you want to make sure your website is directing people’s attention toward the next steps you want them to take.
Of course, you want to limit the various “next steps” someone can take on a given page, so you don’t overwhelm them. The idea here is just to give people a couple things they can do such as:
- View a related post or resource when they finish reading a blog
- Connect with you on another platform when they scroll to the bottom of your home page
- Opt into your most popular freebie by clicking a button on your About page
Providing visitors with direction to the right next steps will help people to build trust and connect with your brand.
Action step: Pick one of the examples above to add to your own website so visitors are directed to a next step they can take to connect further with your brand.
Element #2: Easy paths to take action.
Like I mentioned before, everyone is busy and it doesn’t take much for people to get distracted. So, when you want visitors to take a certain action on your site, make it easy for them.
A good rule-of-thumb here is to reduce the number of clicks it takes for someone to do whatever it is you want them to do on your site.
For example, I often have free resources or paid ebooks that relate to the topics of my blog posts. When this is the case, I’ll include a couple sentences at the end of the post directing people to the related resource or ebook. I’ll also include a button that takes them directly to the page where they can download or buy. I don’t turn half the blog into a mini-sales page, and I typically don’t send them to a landing/sales page where they have to take another action to get what they want.
This works well for my business, but in general just remember that the more steps someone has to go through on a “path” to take an action you want them to take, the more likely you are to lose people along that path.
Action step: Pick one action you want people to take when they visit your site. Maybe it’s opting into your email list by downloading a freebie, or buying a mini-course or booking a free call. Walk through the process yourself and count the number of steps somebody has to go through to take that action. See if there’s a way to make that “path to take action” easier for your site visitors.
Element #3: A consistent and inviting look and feel.
When someone (especially someone who isn’t already familiar with your brand ) visits your website you want the experience to look and feel good — similar to the way you would want things to look and feel good if someone new was visiting your home.
Your website should be inviting. After all, if you decided to have new friends over for dinner you would likely clean and straighten things up a little bit before they arrived. Similarly, having an organized site with a clean design will make it inviting to visitors.
Your website should also have consistent design elements throughout. Most people keep a consistent design theme in their home (for example, you wouldn’t expect someone to have a nautical kitchen and a modern/minimalist living room and a boho bedroom). Similarly, you want keep design elements (like colors and fonts) consistent on each page of your site. If you have a brand style guide, stick to it on your website so that visitors know they’re in the right place.
Action step: Check out this video case study of personal trainer’s site for examples of the three essential elements in this post. If it gives you additional ideas about how you can improve the user experience on your site, share them in the comments below and then pick one to take action on!