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    UX for small businesses – What do you need to know?

    by Iain Thomson Project Lead

    You’ve set up your business and launched a website, which performs reasonably well. But there’s a niggling thought that it might not be getting the attention it deserves, and that sales and leads directly from the site are way below what you were expecting.

    You could have reasonable search volume and page ranking, for example – that’s achievable for small businesses that operate in a specialised niche or serve a relatively small geographic area.

    The first thing you need to do is check your analytics. If you’ve not set up Google Analytics, it provides a valuable insight into how visitors interact with your site, and requires a small amount of setting up, which can be as simple as installing a plugin if you’re on WordPress.

    Other tools exist as alternatives, and you will probably also have a basic analytics package in your hosting dashboard, too.

    But what exactly are you looking for in your analytics? The main metrics come under the category of engagement. That is, which pages people are looking at, how long they are staying there, where they are going afterwards and what actions they are taking during their visit.

    A good indication that you have user experience (UX) problems is that you are getting a reasonable number of visits, but people aren’t staying very long on the site.

    That can indicate a number of things. Perhaps the content on your site doesn’t correspond with what people expected when they were sent there. In such cases, it is a good idea to ensure your keywords and meta tags are more focused on your products and services.

    There are also marketing decisions you make that could affect visits, such as being overpriced compared to competitors, or not having good delivery or return policies.

    That can turn people off quickly. Finally take a good look at the way your site is navigable and searchable. Ask people unfamiliar with it to find certain products and see how long it takes them.

    You should not rule out technical issues, however. A very important factor in making your website sticky is literally showing visitors some content within a second or two of the page launching. We all know that feeling that the site we’re visiting isn’t being responsive, and we have developed pretty short tolerances for slow-loading pages. Opinions vary, but two seconds is considered the maximum amount of time people are willing to wait before quitting.

    There are measures you can take to combat slow loading, however. You can ensure your hosting package is the best you can afford – in general, the fewer websites yours shares a server with, the better will be its performance.

    Keep an eye on unnecessary plugins and tools on your site – they can have a massive impact. Make sure your images and videos are optimised and if possible, are not being hosted by a separate server.

    In short, aiming for a mobile-first approach will really help, as sticking to that philosophy will necessarily keep your site nimble, fast and effective.

    Whether you’re building a site from scratch or developing it within a platform such as WordPress or Magento, implementing all the rules of good UX should produce an observable increase in engagement and, hopefully, conversions.

    We’re experts in such development tasks, so if you need a hand, however small your business, please get in touch so we can help give your customers an experience you’ll be proud of.