As a digital marketing strategist. I have a full-time job testing tools and procedures to achieve better results for my projects. Sometimes I join the occasional webinar. Or follow tutorials on YouTube. The curiosity is to test what I learn or think of ways I can use the new information with other concepts I already know so as to produce better strategies. Today I want to talk about Ux Design. I want to give you 10+ ways you can improve User Experience to optimize your ecommerce website and make your customers happier. I would encourage you to test carefully what you learn. These are some of the best practices I have learned and tested and usually RESULT in better conversion rates and sales volume. Still… ultimately it is your AUDIENCE and customers who decide what they prefer.
Years back it was possible to rank within search engines like Google with a page containing the same terms repeated thousands of times. With the addition of Google RankBrain and Natural Language such techniques no longer work. Today at the core of success is to provide for the website visitors the best user experience. By carefully studying and applying Ux Design practices you will be able to create websites, progressive apps and software applications with pleasant user interaction. Also, it will be easier to release products which are useful to the target audience, and accumulate sufficient user base to produce great results from monetization models. This post is all about strategies which work most of the time. Remember not all audiences respond the same way, so you have to test to know for a fact, what works for you.
“User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.”
I will be listing this set of best practices in no particular order of importance. So I encourage you to read everything because you may find some of the most powerful strategies near the end of the article.
1- Avoid Clutter In Your Design
With the boom of the Internet Of Things, we are seeing an increase in devices connected on the internet. These days refrigerators, smart TVs, appliances and smart lights can share data with servers and home devices. A segment of those devices growing vastly in use is smartphones and tablets. Developing countries like India, China, Brazil and Africa are growing drastically in numbers of smartphone users. Maybe this is not too important to you as a marketer or business owner. Perhaps you don’t advertise in any of those countries. But still, it is estimated that as much as 80% of all traffic online right now is coming from smartphones.
What I’m trying to imply with the data above is that rather than have complicated websites that consume lots of resources. You should instead focus on simple, responsive, dynamic and effective website designs with very little clutter. This will result in digital stores that make it much easier for the consumer to place their order be from a smartphone or some appliance connected to the Internet Of Things that has a small touchscreen attached to it.
NOTE: Although the newer generations have grown immersed in technology and are able to easily browse the internet. There are many baby boomers out there who find it more difficult to use digital ecommerce stores. It has been shown on some studies the average attention span people can focus is 7-8 seconds. Perhaps those studies are not too accurate. But still, in our digital world, we are bombarded with notifications and distractions. Ultimately we lose our focus. The simplest website design keeps your customers focused. Allowing them to successfully place their order. If the process is too difficult they leave your website and never come back.
2- Blazing Fast Load Speed
In our highly digital world where the time goes by really fast, there is an important currency everyone wants more of. This currency is TIME… and most everyone out there is willing to pay for solutions if it will save them time. Why should your website be any different? Many studies have shown the correlation between website load speed and sales made. In every single case, the slow loading websites made the lowest amounts of sales. What is more. Google now counts website speed as a ranking signal which affects Search Engine Rankings and whether an online business becomes successful or not. The harsh reality is some people out there find it hard to wait 1 second for a website to load.
As such, I recommend you to optimize your website as much as possible so it can load under one second. The best websites out there in this category load in under 250 milliseconds. The loading speed of 500-650 milliseconds is good. Anything under 1 second is acceptable. The digital store which takes longer than 1 second to load is losing business. To fix this problem the most important criteria is to pick a good hosting service. Neil Patel has some good insights you can use to improve your website speed.
NOTE: When it comes to hosting providers there are solutions for all business sizes. A simple website which is just a landing page used to collect email addresses and advertise a phone number could use just about any of the standard providers. I highly recommend Siteground. For bigger projects like ecommerce stores with thousands of products then you can look at solutions like Shopify or hosting services like liquidweb, Nexcess or Zerolag. There are many providers and some of them have better support for certain platforms than others. In other words, some hosting server providers are better with WordPress websites than websites using other platforms like Magento. So you should research the best provider based on the platform you are using for your project.
NOTE: Check out this threat about web hosting providers. As you can see the majority of voters recommend Siteground. They have great customer support and reliable hosting at affordable prices. If your website/web store scales to hundreds of thousands of visits per month. Then I would recommend liquidweb which offers more plans and hosting services.
I want to note the more resources your website requires the more the hosting solution will cost. Also if you will be using a premium template from ThemeForest or Envato marketplace, make sure to pick a dynamic design that has been optimized for fast load speed. A simple way to test if you pick the right template is to upload the files to the server. Then you can use tools like Pingdom and Gtmetrix to find out what you can improve on. Ideally, you want your default theme to return A scores from the start. In this way, you know the template you picked is an asset that will help you reach your goals and not a liability. For my next project, I will put more time testing and picking optimized templates because it makes a big difference for SEO.
3- Every Action Should Guide Your Customer
Since I do a lot of research and do so much testing sometimes I find myself using older websites. These websites don’t do a good job of showing me whether an action was completed. For example, maybe I tried to place a book in the shopping cart and I don’t see anything happen. Perhaps it did what I wanted but I did not get an indication or message to show me the action was successful. The screens did not change or anything. For every action the user takes there should be a clear outcome that guides your customer. Build the user flow thinking is your grandma that doesn’t know anything about computers who will be using it. If you keep this in mind your website will be simple to use. It will actually do its job in selling your products and supporting your customers.
4- Follow Best Design Practices
As I have said in other posts there are certain design patterns that greatly optimize your website in performance and also conversion rates. Some strategies you should be using include:
- The company logo should be at the top left of your website. The logo should backlink to the home page. Use a copywriter or come up with a clever slogan to go with your logo. Then you can make it a popular hashtag on social to add more visibility to your brand.
- You should include the corporate phone number at the top left. 800 numbers do better.
- Make sure to use CDN like Cloudflare. Your website will be faster and more responsive for users in different geographical areas. Also, it will protect you from spam and DDOS attacks coming from competitors or spam networks.
- You should have a Contact Us Page and also About Us Page
- Returns and Refunds information should be clear and easy to find. Don’t make it a legal thesis as fewer people will buy from you.
- Your first page should use software like Sumo, Hello Bar or OptinMonster to collect email addresses. Building a list is still the lifeblood of most online businesses. (This may decrease website performance but it really helps your business.)
- You should implement some sort of live chat, AI chat or chatbot widget across all pages. A well-optimized AI chat widget can guide your customer better than a customer support agent.
- Enable push notifications to increase website traffic
- You should use a shopping cart which allows 1 click checkout. This saves your customer time and makes it easier for them to place the order. The shopping cart should show how many items are in there.
- Make sure to link to all important pages on your website. Dedicate a section of your website for this purpose. The internal backlinking will boost your SEO and also help your visitors/customers find the most important information on your site.
- The old boring corporate model is dying. Humanize your brand. See how Aweber added pictures of their team. (No affiliation)
- Make sure to add content across your website which targets all relevant keywords for your products and services.
- Use a sticky menu listing your most important categories or content. It should contain the resources your visitor/customer comes for.
- If you have many products and services you should be using a mega menu.
The list of ideas you can use is much longer than what I listed. But I listed what I have tested up to this point to be most important.
5- Recruit The Best Customer Support Agents
You may be wondering why this is on the list. It turns out User Experience is affected by every point of contact between visitors and your ecommerce store. Given the popularity of ecommerce solutions like Shopify and the ability to turn WordPress into a web store using some plugins like Woo Commerce, many business owners out there have purely focused on automating their services. They use methods as described in Tim Ferris 4-hour Workweek to achieve a business where minimal time commitment produces the maximum results. I will tell you the strategies work great but when so many people focus on automation services get degraded.
It turns out many customers out there like to support the company that has the best customer support. In particular, I have found there is an older demographic out there who really enjoys talking on the phone. I don’t want to say they feel lonely but it really brightens their day when they get to talk to a human being who helps them with their order. One of the best strategies you can implement to improve user experience is to recruit great phone support agents to attend to your customers. When you do this. You will find positive reviews will proliferate on social media which will result in higher organic rankings and more free traffic. This strategy also helps you attract young entrepreneurs who will do business with you and buy bigger quantities of your products.
6- Content Should Be Super Simplified
Part of providing the best user experience to your customers is to make the content on your website super easy to understand. That means you want to write super simple meta descriptions. The same applies for product descriptions and bullet points providing advantages and benefits of buying the product or service. In case, you have a blog you should write expert caliber long-form content. However, if you use an academic approach like a research paper your customers won’t understand it. The best approach is to write informally and to use context and wording a kid would understand. If the visitor feels frustrated and doesn’t understand your information then they will go away and probably never come back.
Something which really helps your content become digestible and easy to understand is to write shorter sentences. You should also use plenty of space and a font which is easy on the eyes and easy to understand. One book which talks about typography and the best fonts to use to generate more sales is CA$HVERTISING. If you read that book you will learn plenty about copywriting. The best book in the subject is Eugene Schwartz Breakthrough Advertising which is so valuable, the physical copy sometimes it sells for over $1000 especially if is the original edition. If you study those two books you should be able to produce better content to power your ecommerce store and generate bigger sales volume. When you write content, think is a kid who is reading it.
Also in order to improve your content, you should be using images and videos. It has been found on multiple studies done that content with high-quality images and entertaining or informative videos are read more often. As the seasons change and the world changes. People shift their focus and interest to different topics. Part of winning in terms of SEO is knowing what people are searching for AT THAT TIME, then optimizing your content with the right keywords which have to do with your products and your industry. Optimizing is truly never-ending and there is always room to improve your content. Right now I’m waiting on Google to index my data and start ranking my content so I can pull keyword data from within Search Console and start optimizing my content.
7-Use Follow Up Sequences/Autoresponders
When a customer reaches out to your company via email you should have in place some sort of automated response. Instead of stating you are out of the office use this message to provide the absolute most important information your customer may be seeking. Let them know you will respond to the email as soon as you can. While too much automation will be detrimental to an ecommerce store email is one of those mediums where automation is key to success. The goal should be to perform enough split testing to know what works best for your audience and in this way maximize your results.
8- Test Multiple Marketing Angles
Something I have learned the hard way is that marketing angles make or break an advertising campaign. Ideally, you should test enough marketing angles until you can combine them in a way so as to provide bigger benefits to the audience interested. This correlates to better ux experience. One key step is to make sure that your ads and your website match in what is stated. If you say one thing on your add. Then the customer lands on your ecommerce store and the information does not match… then the user experience is bad. Also, bad adds like this cost a lot more to run. Especially if you do it on Google where there are metrics like google add quality score/google add relevance score.
NOTE: Some very clever marketing teams out there are building the advertising strategy so that they craft an add and based on this add they go and create the landing page. They are very granular in their approach. Testing many different angles and creating many different landing pages to test those angles. This, as you may imagine, is a lot of work. But the advantage of doing it this way is that they are able to really boost their conversion rates from all of this testing. On average Google Ads across all industries convert at 2.1-2.3%. They can get this to be 5%, 7% and even higher than 10% which is great! The average click-through rate for email at a worldwide scale is a little over 4%. Throwing that out there just so you know it.
9- Use Trust Badges And Discount Codes
Some very successful people have a different view on whether Discount Codes and promotions should be used. They see this as a negative thing to do because it trains customers to wait for the big sale and then the customers ask for a coupon code all the time. What I can tell you based on my own experience is that providing the customer with a coupon code specially if they are asking for it. Helps strengthen the relationship between the business and the customer. In my previous job whenever I saw a customer on the chat (or over the phone) asking for a coupon code. I would tell them they were very special and I would give them a special code just for them.
As you may imagine this would make the customer very happy. Often times I could trace back the act to a review or recommendation such customer had left on the internet vouching for the company. They would also send the company referrals to do business. We got so good at making the customer feel so special when they got their coupon code many customers started searching online for “Company Name + Coupon Code”… which resulted in a branded keyword which pushed a lot of traffic and more business to the company.
In the case of Trust Badges it makes it easier for the customer to feel safe when they use their credit card details on your ecommerce store. Adding icons to showcase your website encrypts all communication with SSL encryption. And supports most common payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, PayPal… and showcasing the logos of all the big clients you work with and the associations you are part of. Adding the iconic Mcafee antivirus icon. All of these little details put the mind of the customer at ease and they feel more willing to complete the purchase and to trust your company also adding to the user experience.
10- Build Positive Reviews On Social Media
I’m sure I already mentioned the importance of building positive reviews on social media but I wanted to expand on it a little bit more. In particular, where I have found the biggest benefit is positive reviews on Google My Business Listing. If you can get great reviews for your business on Google My Business magical things to start to happen. Customers drive or travel hundreds of miles just to come visit you. The impression rate for your adds on google shopping, Google Ads and organic search terms ramp up to the point your business takes most of the impressions. Competitors struggle to be shown.
Based on my experience (so far) I believe reviews on social media produce bigger ranking signals from an SEO perspective than building backlinks. So try hard to please your customers so they leave reviews for you. It will pay itself from all the organic traffic you will be getting which will result in a lot more business. For reference on top of Google My Business here are some other top review sites.
If the web browser is lost, often times they will leave the page frustrated and they may never come back. Such activity would lower your website rankings in the long run if it keeps repeating with more visitors.
Sometimes following the best design practices is difficult especially for non tech people. One good design practice I have not implemented for example, is to use table of contents at the top of each post so users could jump to the section they are most interested in. This can be done easily with table of content plug ins for WordPress or code and I will apply it sometime in the future.
A lot of little details like this go a long way in formatting your web page and providing for the user the best experience possible. A Japanese word you should adopt is Kaizen which means to “change for the better”. Start by working on a project and building a website for your online business. As you improve your skills and technical abilities keep applying the concept of Kaizen every single day.
After a year or two of doing this you will have world class skills which are very valuable to the marketplace. Another way to do it, is to recruit specialists to follow the best design practices in terms of Web Design, SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization and other important aspects. The main reason affiliate marketing today is dominated by teams of specialized individuals is because the marketplace has become exponentially more competitive.
In fact, I can give you all the information I know (which is my goal). It would probably still take you months or years to be able to execute it. I’m learning Design Practices and concepts from entrepreneurs who produce millions in sales per month. I can’t execute on it because it requires substantial programming experience and other skills, knowledge of API’s, libraries and programming languages I don’t have right now. I’m working on them.
Aim to become better everyday or find a community of specialists who already have the skills you want and learn from them. That would really set you ahead of a lot of people and competitors. Once you have the resources to start hiring people remember to recruit the best customer support agents you can afford. Customer support is among the most important activities which determines success or failure of any business.
Content has been king and will continue to be king for a long time. Most people still use the Sky Scraper Technique to create digital assets which far outrank their competition. The goal is to rank for as many keywords as possible and to acquire the biggest organic traffic share from those keywords. So build amazing content which is simple to understand and is structured to contain images, videos, illuminating infographics and engaging widgets.
NOTE: In a similar way Google has noticed a lot of SEO’s are focusing on Sky Scraper type content Brian Dean popularized. So they have deployed Bert to make it much easier for shorter content to rank for informational type searches. For top of the funnel content which is informational in nature, short, to the point content will perform better with the Bert update.
Too much automation is no good. However, is really difficult to build a relationship with all your customers and website visitors without leveraging follow up sequences and autorresponders. You should build an email list and use these tools to share all the important content with the users who join your list.
Often times campaigns are only as good as the angle you use to promote the products. Focus on testing multiple angles, across different audiences to find what works at any particular point in time. This is the reason why finding profitable products can costs $10,000 USD or more in advertising, as it takes a lot of testing. Remember that badges and discount codes can help increases conversion rates by making the website seem more trusted.
Just as important in creating a seamless buyer experience for your customers, ranking your digital assets in all major search engines; and producing a big powerful brand is to accumulate positive reviews on social media. The more organic these reviews are, the more you will rank and the more your adds and organic hits will be shown everywhere around the web.
Focus on providing the best customer experience so you can build good reviews and save a lot of money on advertising. By applying this information you will be creating the best user experience which will result in the best outcome for your business.
I hope you learned something from this post that helps you improve your Ux Design so it can improve your user experience. Right now I’m helping some of my friends and a couple of business owners who are trying to grow their brand by applying on their digital stores the same concepts I share here.
Until next post.
PS: Another important aspect of creating the best user experience possible is having the best security on your website. Here is a good resource about ux security you can read.