Last year, user experience became the main priority for online businesses even more so than before. Among them were online giants Facebook and Google, who took major steps to improve the user experience of their websites. For Facebook this meant taking steps to prevent or penalise misleading ‘click-bait’ headlines and for Google it meant a crack down on ‘black-hat’ or misleading search engine optimisations (SEO).
With the arguably two biggest online players making user experience a priority, this trend will only become more important for digital marketers and small business websites in the coming year. It can be a daunting task to stay up-to-date with all the changes in guidelines and rules so it’s much easier to focus on the most important thing: remembering your audience when you are creating content or making changes to your website. Here are our four reasons your small business should be focusing on user experience:
1- Google insists on it.
Last year, Google made some noticeable changes to its search algorithm, the way in which it decides what to show searchers and how to rank websites. Small businesses don’t have the extensive resources corporations have to dedicate entire teams to figuring and carrying out the technical specifications Google wants. However, SMEs need only to focus on the visitor and place them at the heart of everything they do.
The main thing you need to know is that Google wants your content and your website landing pages to create value for the reader without being overly promotional or sales-focused. So, if your business creates content, it should be placed onto a blog or a dedicated Resources section of your website. Regardless of where, it should be easily accessible and you can also use SEO tactics to make your content more easily discoverable. Think about the reader every step of the way; your content should be well written, based on credible sources, and useful to your target audience. And lastly, the method you choose to direct readers to your content, whether it be links, social media, or online ads, should be dictated by the nature of your content and your target audience’s likely online behaviour.
2- Don’t forget about individual landing pages.
Whether you are creating a landing page for an advertising campaign or a resource you’ve created, landing pages should always be optimised for the user. This might seem like common sense, but small businesses often throw something together quickly and move on to the next important thing. Spending time and consideration on landing pages can go a long way and consistency is key.
If viewers arrived on the page after clicking a link that says “View our white paper on Facebook advertising,” everything on the landing page should be consistent with the expectations you have previously set. In this scenario, visitors should easily be able to find the paper mentioned without having to look for it or sift through a lot of irrelevant information first.
3- Facebook wants business posts to be more engaging.
Facebook is continuously changing the way the Newsfeed works based on feedback from thousands of users. This change is motivated by Facebook’s desire to create a higher quality and more engaging experience for the social network’s users. As a result, Facebook has heavily encouraged business pages to only promote valuable content to their follower bases. Social media marketers should therefore focus their efforts solely on content that is useful to their audience. This is true not only for the content created in-house, but for any external links and resources shared through Facebook.
4- Mobile is everything.
Since the advent of smart phones, online no longer just means desktop, it also means that more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. Last year, mobile devices finally surpassed desktop devices as the primary way in which people get online. This means that it is absolutely crucial to a business’s online success to provide a mobile friendly website which can be created using responsive design. Professional website designers will be able to advise and create such a site for you but mobile website builders are an incredibly easy way to achieve this at a lower price without requiring any complicated technical knowledge.
With so many reasons to improve your user experience, now is the perfect time to invest the time and money to make your visitors happier.