1. Websites are intended for people – something that seems to get over looked by developers every once in a while. Large development teams can get so immersed in the application that the original purpose seems to get lost. Silos sometimes are formed based on responsibility and communicating across these silos becomes a challenge. Designing for customers means placing oneself in the position of that person and building the website to meet their needs and objectives.
2. The true measure of a successful website is by the number of visitors who convert into customers. First, a quick definition of “customer” since many websites do not have a shopping cart per se, one must define a customer as a visitor who completes a specific action on the website. This action is a goal of the website, which matches the goals or objectives of the visitor. For example, an informational government site may have a goal to provide information, thus downloads, or visits to a specific page, may be the measure of success.
3. The goals of the website must also correspond to the goals of the target customers. For example if you have a product you want to sell, your goal is to move as much product as possible, whereas the customer goal is to use the product that will benefit them. So in order to meet your goal, you must thoroughly understand your customers’ goals.
4. Minimize your Bounce rate. Google defines a bounce when a visitor only accesses one page and then leaves. When your bounce rate is high, it indicates a potential problem with your website. Visitors can “bounce” at virtually all contact points with your website.
– Search engine Bounce
-Your site gets top ranking but people pass it by
– Referral site bounce
– Advertising or linking from many sites gets little action
· Ad Bounce
– You pay for advertising (e.g. Ad Sense) but get minimal return on your investment – few people access your
site based on these ads.
· Home or landing page bounce
– Lots of one page visitors who land and disappear
5. Optimize your usability. Look at the visiting patterns of your website and try to understand why users aren’t converting. This is best done through a combination of visitor behaviour analysis and usability testing of the site with real users. These include:
– Usability bounce
o Visitors leave after several page views
– Shopping cart bounce
o The most dreadful bounce, the number of people who go through the process of ordering but abandon at
the last step.
· Bounce – bounce
o Those people who leave for random reasons and no matter what you do, would probably not convert.
There is no solution to this category of visitors.
6. People leave at these different contact points because the website did not meet their objective. Trying to answer why the visitors objective hasn’t been met has spawned a huge Internet industry (try Googling “Internet Marketing”!). The primary reason is that they either did not find what they wanted, weren’t ready, or were getting information for comparison or other purposes.
7. Use Google’s free Website Optimizer. This multivariate testing tool presents different layouts of the same page to visitors, allowing you to use the one that converts the most visitors. If you can improve your website so that even a small percentage of visitors actually convert to customers, significant benefits can be had with minimal investment. Sometimes repositioning a heading can have remarkable effects.
8. Ask your customers . Getting real customer feedback is a challenge, although well worth the effort if you can do it. There are several methods to do this see our article on 12 Easy (and not so easy) Ways to get Customer Feedback on your Website.
9. Develop goal oriented persona’s. Persona’s are an excellent way of putting yourself into customers’ shoes and can help your designers to visualize how a visitor will use your website. There is a major difference between user segmentation and segmenting users by goals. The first will produce a significant number of segments, whereas the latter should generate maybe 3 or 4 personas with perhaps one or two more sub personas.
10. Plan your website redesign. Planning is key, most of the hard work is done before any code gets written. The first step is to find out what worked and what needs improvement. The second is to identify the strategic drift between your current website and the direction your organization is going.
11. Identify key performance measures. Understand the performance goals for your website in business terms, then get your web statistics to generate meaningful numbers to measure that success. If you use Google’s Analytics, you can establish goals and ROI based on visitor behaviour.
12. Keep on top of website changes. You can no longer update and ignore your website, competition is fierce and you must be tweaking your website, combining different techniques to improve the performance and looking for major shifts in your market space.
13. Know what your competitors are doing. Periodic competitive comparisons are necessary to see how well you differentiate yourself and also whether you are falling behind on website promotion.
14. Understand your website strategy. Your organization has spent lots of money and resources on the website, knowing how it is positioned relative to the overall corporate strategy will create value not only for the organization but also for the customers. Integrating this channel with other customer channels will also make it easier for the customer and generate value for the organization.