5 Best Practices for an Engaging Website User Experience

You’re being judged every time a new visitor lands on your website. Are you making a good first impression? If you’re not, your visitors are most likely bouncing off your website as fast as they can so they can find a competitor’s site that meets their needs. Hurts doesn’t it? Fortunately, you can make a couple fundamental changes so that visitors not only take the time to engage with your website, but even convert into leads! Here’s how:

1. Get to Know Your Target Audience

This is first on the list for a reason. It is absolutely the most important part of creating an engaging website user experience. It’s so important, that you should do this before even building your website (but it’s okay if you’re playing catch-up). Creating a website without taking your target audience’s website engagement preferences into consideration is like making a suit without taking measurements. A one-size-fits-all approach to web design will generate subpar results. Custom is key.

Learn how your target audience interacts with technology. Do they prefer to use a desktop, tablet, or their smartphone when searching for your product or service? This will affect your web page structure. Learn how they talk about your product or service and reflect that in your website copy. Do they prefer a conversational or formal tone? If you’re in banking, why use the word “funds” when your customers use “money”? Be human—think like the user—or better yet—ask the user! Conduct buyer persona interviews to find out what your target audience wants in a website. 

2. Design for Lead Generation

Your website can be a lead generation machine; you just have make a couple careful changes to get it started. Remember, it’s all about making it easy and valuable for your visitors. Start with your home page. Keep your navigation menu short and sweet, keep CTAs prominently above the fold, and don’t let temporary promotions detract from the primary focal points of the home page.

Give visitors the time to get to know you before asking for a commitment. One of my pet peeves is having to subscribe to a newsletter before entering a website. It’s frustrating and 99% of the time, I leave. Can you imagine visiting a store for the first time and having to register before even having the chance to look at the products? There are appropriate times to ask for these commitments. Don’t let a simple mistake cost you new visitors.

This line of thought should flow all the way to the form where you’re asking for a registration or any other commitment from your visitor. Moreover, the value of the information you’re asking from your visitor on a form should align with the value of the offer they’ll receive in exchange. If you’re asking for a blog subscription, a simple name and email address should do. If you ask for more, like their company name, job title, and phone number, you will most likely have a higher drop off rate. Think of your offer as a product and the information you’re collecting as the money people are using to purchase that product. Make sure the “price” is fair. To be safe, always keep it short.

3. Focus on Providing Value

What good is a creative website if it’s not functional? Focus on offering a valuable solution to visitors at every step of the way. Don’t get carried away with beautiful imagery and moving graphics if they’re not going to help your visitors have a truly engaging website experience. Educate your visitors and allow them to easily find what they’re looking for. If they came to your website to learn more about your company and see examples of your work, provide a clear company About Us and make case studies easily accessible. If they came to find information about your product or service, provide a clear FAQ page and a blog where you can showcase your expertise by covering topics ranging from industry trends to whatever people are searching online about your industry.

Google Search Example4. Test, Test, TEST!

Don’t take this too hard, but a website is never truly finished. Your work doesn’t end after you’ve launched your website—a website is a work in progress. You must always test, analyze and make adjustments according to how people are interacting with your site. Tests could vary from slight changes in copy, images, Call-to-Action (CTA) design, and more! Just always make sure that you’re testing one variable at a time. For example, if you choose to test two different button CTAs, like the example below, make sure that’s the only item you’re testing on that page during the testing period. And to get even more granular, compare a difference in text OR in color. Not both. What’s more, make sure analytics and tracking are enabled on your site!

Version A: 


Version B:


5. Did Someone Say Mobile Again?

And finally, it wouldn’t be a website user experience post in 2016 if I didn’t include making sure your website looks good on mobile! If you frequently visit websites on your mobile device, you probably appreciate not having to zoom in on a web page, as well as the big buttons that clearly help you navigate. Take those items into consideration for your mobile website. Just because you have a responsive website, it doesn’t mean that content is going to load in a logical order on all devices. Always test your web pages on various devices (and browsers)—especially on tablets and mobile phones. In the words of Google, “Consumers increasingly rely on the mobile web for research and discovery, which makes it more important than ever for companies to have an effective mobile presence.” Don’t miss out on the opportunity to impress on all platforms. Remember, you only get one chance.

If you’re realizing that your website is in dire need of a makeover, here’s something that will help. Download Redesign Unlocked: The 10 Keys to Reinventing Your Website now! And access a free 10-step breakdown to effective website assessment and redesign. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out. We’re here to help.

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Sheila Villalobos | Account Manager

About the Author

Sheila Villalobos, Account Manager

Sheila Villalobos is a PMG Account Manager and trend tracking extraordinaire. When she’s not being her naturally resourceful self and figuring out new ways to use old marketing tools, you can find her staying up to date on all things web design, ABM, contextual marketing and strategy (and writing blogs about them).