A few years ago, having a working website was good enough.
As people were buying more and more online, giving users the option to purchase through a website automatically put you ahead of the field.
But now, online shopping is the first port of call for a lot of shoppers, and most businesses offer the capability to purchase via a website.
Which means the shopper has far more choice. And can be far pickier when choosing who to do business with. So much so, that if a user sees something on your website that they don’t like, they tend to switch off immediately.
In this article, Booking Protect’s digital team are going to go through the 5 biggest mistakes you can make on your website and what you can do differently.
Annoying pop ups
The word ‘annoying’ is key here, because pop-ups done well are still a good way of collecting data or driving customers down a certain path.
The problem occurs when they’re used in the wrong way. The golden rule when it comes to pop-ups is that they shouldn’t deter the user from doing what they came to do. If the pop-up helps them out, that’s brilliant. And if it’s easy to close when they’re done with it, that’s even better.
If it’s intrusive or slows down the user, that’s really bad.
Consider what benefit the customer receives from your pop-up. Don’t use one for the sake of it.
P.S also note that on mobile, pop-ups create a really bad experience. If you’re going to use them, make it on desktop only.
Too many animations and moving parts
A website can look really cool if it has lots of moving parts. You know the ones we mean; where the navigation menu is driven on to the screen by a toy train and the contact button prints out your contact form etc.
But looking cool and working properly don’t always go hand in hand. If an animation makes it harder or longer for a user to do what they want to do, what’s the point of it?
The one thing we know for sure about web users is that they like to do things quickly and efficiently. They like it when they press a button and it does the simple thing, straight away.
By all means, make your website look really cool. Use an animation if you want. But build your design around your customer journey, not the other way around.
Plan how your user will move through your site, then build a design that works for that path.
Keywords are vital for SEO. If you’re not optimising your content for the keywords that people use to find you, you won’t feature high up on the SERPs (Google, Bing etc).
But there’s a big difference between optimising for keywords, and keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is a practice that used to be really common in SEO. Practitioners would load their content with the same key phrases over and over again to the point where text made no sense.
Now, user experience is a huge part of SEO, and keyword stuffing is seen as offering a really bad user experience. Making it a big no-no.
In fact the moral of this story (or this paragraph at least) is to ensure that any efforts you make to find new customers aren’t at the detriment to people who know about you already and are ready to buy.
Right idea, wrong execution
For this section, we’re going to use a current website as an example, but of course, we won’t name the company in question.
The company decided that they were going to introduce a live chat function for users. They studied the data and realised that it would create a better customer experience if there was a staff member to help the user while they were browsing the site.
To this point, the thought process was exactly right.
They introduced a live chat platform on desktop and everything worked great.
But then, they tried to implement the same live chat platform on mobile and things didn’t go so well. The problem they met was that the live chat platform wasn’t mobile-friendly.
It was one thing working out that a customer could benefit from live chat, but they hadn’t thought about how live chat would work on different devices.
Soon after, they found a tool that linked their Facebook Messenger to their website, replacing the live chat they had in place. This was the perfect solution as messenger is widely used and optimised for mobile.
A good idea is only a good idea if properly executed.
Going round the houses
Earlier in this blog, we talked about the customer journey, and we’re going to dip back into it for this final point.
When you build a website, your customer journey planning will look something like this:
It’s a very simplistic view, but your get the idea.
Now, here’s what it shouldn’t look like:
Actually, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that journey. It goes through all the reasonable steps.
But it’s definitely wrong if the user could go through the first journey example instead.
Make the user go through more steps than are necessary and they’ll get bored. They get bored, they go somewhere else.
Creating a great digital experience
The best piece of advice we can offer is to use your website as if you’re a customer. It’s the best way of finding issues or negative experience points.
Simple is usually better, but base all your decisions on analysis. Use Google Analytics, heat maps and journey paths to find out how users prefer to use your site, and build on that information.