SEO is many things in one: content, optimization, analytics, development—the list goes on. One such core component of SEO is user experience or UX. UX has been around for a while—even the earliest personal computers involved it in some capacity (think initial user interfaces). Nowadays, we’re so accustomed to UX that once novel features (OS, file managers, etc.) are now routine expectations. As you might have guessed, UX is wide-ranging in practice; a modern UX focus area is websites. In fact, page experience is a ranking factor for Google. But what constitutes a “good” site UX—and is it worth investing in it? Read on for more insight.
Good Site UX: The Basics
Chances are you’ve seen your share of good sites and bad sites. But what makes them that way? Let’s think about it for a sec.
You’ve probably come across a site where you’d like to learn more but aren’t exactly sure how to go about it. The site’s navigation (often a top bar, but not always) doesn’t offer the information you’re looking for or that you’ve come to expect—and drilling down into the site’s sections doesn’t seem to help much either. You’re confused by the layout, don’t know where to go next, and are near ready to call it quits. This is a prime example of a bad site UX. You, the user, aren’t able to find what you’re looking for. The site, itself, doesn’t facilitate your end goal.
Sometimes, sites get carried away. For example, they might emphasize graphical elements, rather than functional ones. Let us explain. Notice our example to the left. Graphically, it has some interesting elements. However, these elements sacrifice page speed load times (in this case, significantly)—and the page itself offers scant information for potential users, which doesn’t make for good UX. Good site UX isn’t if a site is beautiful, artistic, or otherwise pleasing to the eye. Those aspects might add to a better overall experience, but they aren’t directly helping the user. Site UX primarily cares about functionality—and if the site is helping the user reach their intended (or end) goal.
Designing for UX
So what informs a good site UX? A number of things, really, but we’ll try and distill it into a few key areas. These include:
Your site’s purpose. Might seem like a no-brainer, but your site’s purpose is super important. Is your site an e-commerce site? Then it will need to be designed in a way that facilitates users to quickly and easily view products, shop how they want, and buy without hassle. If you’re a service-oriented business, you’ll want your website to allow your potential clientele to learn about you, learn about your services, and get in touch with you with ease.
Your audience. Who your audience is drives almost everything you do with your marketing, including SEO and site UX. You’ll want to design (or enable) your site with your audience in mind. This means naming your audience up front, tailoring content to them, and building out your site in a way that best speaks to them. Again, you want to be intentional here. You’ll want to lay out your pages logically, and use proven methods to talk directly with your intended audience.
Your features. Chic new features and what’s latest and greatest is all too often overblown. If your features get in the way of what your audience is after, then it’s best to do without them. An example of this would be an obstructive pop-up video barring users from seeing content on a contact (or other high traffic) page. While a video could do fine on a front-page header depending on audience need, it might cause page bounces (people leaving the site or page) if done for its own sake. It’s best to learn about what features stick or resonate with users and utilize them. For instance, a search bar function or feature may help your audience find content relevant to them quickly and easily. As a general rule to follow, make sure your audience aims trump “cutting-edge” gimmicks.
What your audience needs and doesn’t. This follows along a similar line of thought as features. Throughout your site, you’ll want to discern what your audience needs to have and can do without. You want to make the most out of the key screen real estate you have. Your layout should match expectations, follow a logical pattern, and be simple and easy to interact with. You don’t want your audience jumping through hoops to find the content they’re after. This does a disservice to them—and to you in retention, conversions, and ROI. When it comes to a good site UX, simple is best and less is often more.
Does Site UX Actually Matter?
Now for the question likely top of mind: Does my site UX actually matter that much? Well, yes, it does. Site UX can affect your intended audience’s interaction with your site, your users’ bounce rate, and your ROI. If you think of your site as your organization or business’s online face (which you probably should), that should help clue you in to how important site UX really is.
Think about it: if someone has a bad experience on your site, how do you think that reflects on your company as a whole? Websites are very much the online counterpart to your in-person entity—if not your whole identity in and of itself (we’re looking at you, e-commerce sites). Site UX also plays a big part in potential ROI. For instance, poor UX can cause a drop in form fills or conversion clicks, which equates to less new business for you.
So, yes, all this to say that a good site UX matters. But how do you get about assessing, and even addressing, your site UX? Uptick Marketing provides the SEO expertise to do just that. Reach out to us today to talk SEO, good vs. bad site UX, and more!