User Experience The Ruler of Your Content Kingdom
Contrary to many schools of common theory in SEO, the primary goal for the content on your site is not to increase your rankings in Google or other search engines. While SEO is critical to help you stand out in the digital domain, having users find your site is not enough. While content might be king, the user experience is the real ruler of your content kingdom.
Whether your user comes to your site from an email campaign, organic search traffic, or through pay-per-click ads, delighting them with what they find on your site should be your ultimate goal.
How do you ensure that your user’s experience will be the best it can be? It starts with keeping your web content REAL.
While this should be obvious, brands in search of organic traffic often undertake desperate means to get users to their site, even if those users never turn into conversions.
For example: recipes tend to get a lot of organic traffic and even get shared often on social media. A local attorney, who also happens to be an amateur chef, decides to post recipes on his blog, and indeed his website traffic does increase. But he didn’t make anymore money. The issue is, it did not rank well for relevant keywords, and all the traffic and shares he got of his recipes did not result in any new clients for his firm.
A better approach is to answer your user’s questions. Most Google searches are phrased as a question, and the sites that are consistently ranked the highest are the ones that answers questions best. Ask yourself:
- What questions are your customers asking?
- How can you answer them better than your competitors?
- Is there a way you can structure content or create it to answer those questions?
The more relevant these questions are to your product or service, the more likely those prospects are to become converts. This even starts with having a relevant domain name, one that lets users know right away who you are and what you do. Find yourself with a domain name that could be driving traffic away? Purchase a new one, and redirect your old site to it. Don’t make a customer leave because they’ve stumbled upon your site expecting something else because your URL is not well constructed.
Despite the temptation to gain traffic to your site anyway possible, keep it relevant. This will both increase your reputation as a trusted, honest brand, and keep your users satisfied.
In this sense, the word easy is rather broad, but let’s break it down into a few different elements.
- Easy to Search: Have a simple search bar so users can find what they are looking for quickly. Ideally your content will lead to questions, and your site will make it easy for them to find the answers. Have it near the top of your landing page.
- Easy to Navigate: Much like the search bar, your navigation menu should be clear and easy to operate. If you have drop down menus, make sure they make sense under the heading where they are located.
- Easy to Read: Use fonts that are easy to read, colors that make text stand out, and no odd placements of ads or other photos that interfere with reading content. Don’t use complex jargon or long sentences and paragraphs.
- Easy to Buy: Once a user has chosen to buy from you, make sure the checkout process is simple and clear, with plenty of payment options.
If any part of this process is too difficult, the user may just abandon your site for one that is more familiar to them or easier to use. You don’t want to go to all the trouble of developing a lead only to frustrate them and chase them away.
If you don’t already have a responsive site, and have no idea what the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative is, it’s time for you to get on board.
A majority of searches are now done on mobile devices like phones or tablets, and if your site does not adapt to them, looks like crap on them, or takes too long to load, your potential user will leave quickly.
While many small businesses and startups know this they often don’t simply test the site for themselves. Do this whether you pay someone to create a professional site for you, or do it yourself.
The days of web browsing done mostly on a family’s desktop computer are well behind us. If you’re not designing your pages to both navigate and read easily on mobile phones, you risk losing nearly 60% of your potential user base.
Few things are as frustrating to a user as a dead website. What this means simply is that there is rarely, if ever new content added, and the site itself doesn’t change.
If you scroll through the internet, you will find plenty of sites that are still built on a theme from the 1990’s, whose latest blog post was in 2015, or that simply look abandoned. They’re often not well laid out, difficult to navigate, or leads to pages that are irrelevant to what the user is looking for.
Some of them are, however, there are some where the business created a website because they had to have one, but have not touched it since. Most of the time, this is because they don’t understand that a site has to be dynamic and living for Google or users to even see it at all.
Search engines operate on the principle that the more often you post new content, the more often your site is crawled and indexed. This is why fresh content is so important to ranking in search engines. Ranking in search engines is also how new prospects find you and your business.
For your site to be successful, you have to keep it REAL: Relevant, Easy, Adaptable, and Living. Content may always be king, but the user experience is the real ruler of your content kingdom. You’ve got to keep them happy, or your other inbound marketing efforts will be useless.