Getting website traffic is great! But, if your website visitors have a poor user experience, your website traffic is virtually useless and resulting in an undesirable ROI.
In part one of this series, we went over some initial steps for getting started with your digital marketing audit. This second blog post builds upon the first one. At this point, you should have a good understanding of who your target audience is, what your goals are, and you should have access to review your website’s performance. Now, let’s evaluate the user experience of your website, to maximize your conversions.
Evaluate Each Primary Landing Page
- Go to analytics.google.com and navigate to the data for your website. If you only have one website in your account, it will likely default to your website once you’re logged in. If you have multiple websites, you may need to toggle to the website for which you want to view the data.
- Click on “Behavior” in the side menu.
- Go to “Site Content” in the dropdown, under Behavior.
- Click “Landing Pages” in the dropdown, under Site Content.
- By default, you’ll see the data for the last week. You may want to change this to the last 30 days, or more.
Now you can see the pages most often landed on. These are the pages you want to pay most attention to. Also, if there are some pages you feel are very important, but aren’t showing up as one of your most visited landing pages, make a note of them. You’ll want to figure out what’s preventing them from seeing much traffic.
Next, once your most critical pages are identified, make sure each one provides an phenomenal user experience. The following recommendations will help you with this.
Run a Core Web Vitals Test
There’s a great tool Google recommends for auditing a website’s performance. It’s called web.dev. Go to that website and then run a test on each of the pages you’ve identified as being important. There are four scores your web page will be given. They are for your performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO. You want at least a 90+ for each score. If you can rank 100 for each of them, even better.
If you aren’t ranking 90+ for each score, speak with your developers to help you resolve this. And if you want to learn more about this, feel free to read our blog post titled What Are Core Web Vitals And How do They Impact You?
Also, when you run this test, it’s a good idea to do it while in incognito, or a private window. This will give you a more accurate reading than if you aren’t in incognito or private mode.
End goal: Make every important page rank 90+ for each score given by web.dev. Better yet, if you can, make every page on the entire website rank 90+.
Ensure a Super Fast Load Time
Statistically, if a landing page takes more than three seconds to load, 40% of website visitors will immediately abandon the website they’re trying to load. For more great stats about the importance of having a fast website, check out this article by Hobo Web.
So, while it sounds great to have a lot of traffic, if your website takes too long to load, the number of visitors who actually stick is far less than whatever your analytics is reporting. Make sure the load time for each important page is as low as possible. Ideally, you want it to load in 2.5 seconds or less.
To see how long your web pages load, use the same reports generated when doing your Core Web Vitals testing (at web.dev). In addition to seeing the four different scores, mentioned previously (performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO), you’ll also see some other details in the report. Specifically, there will be a metric called Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This will be measured in seconds and represents how long it takes for the page to load, to the point where the user can actually start getting any real value out of it.
If you are scoring 90+ for all four metrics, especially the “performance” metric, you will probably have a load time of 2.5 seconds or less. But just make sure.
End goal: Make every important page load in 2.5 seconds or less. If you can get it down to less than half a second, that would be great! That’s what Google shoots for.
Check the Average Dwell Time
Hopefully the website visitors aren’t leaving due to a slow load time. But, here’s another time factor to look at… once a visitor lands on your website, how long do they stick around? This is called “dwell time.” It is a few seconds or a few minutes? You’ll want to check the average time spent on your website, as a whole. The average visitor, on most websites, will spend about two minutes on the site. If your visitors are spending more time than two minutes, you’re content is likely pretty engaging. If it’s significantly less than two minutes, there is possibly an issue with your content strategy.
End goal: Ensure your website is of high enough value that your website visitors want to spend time on it. If they aren’t sticking around, you’ll need to identify the reason for this, and make appropriate modifications.
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Check the Average Bounce Rate
What’s the bounce rate for each page? A bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who land on your website and then leave without visiting any other pages. This can be a problem for a couple reasons.
- It can indicate your website isn’t designed in a way to convince visitors to contact you or go deeper through your marketing funnel. If the user isn’t sure where to go next, when they land on your website, this is a sign of a poor user experience, which we don’t want.
- It can indicate your website is missing compelling call-to-actions. Ideally, most landing pages should influence the website visitor to take another action that will ultimately lead to them contacting you or making an online purchase.
A good question to ask yourself is “what’s a good bounce rate?” and the answer really depends on a number of factors. The best resource I can share with you, to help you come up with a good benchmark to compare yourself to, is an article by CXL. Here’s the link: Bounce Rate Benchmarks: What’s a Good Bounce Rate, Anyway?
End goal: Make sure your website visitors are going beyond just the page they land on, unless you have a very good reason for not sending them deeper into your website. For example, if visitors are landing on your contact page, then contacting you and leaving, that’s not too concerning. Also, blog posts often have a higher bounce rate. But, make sure the bounce rate for each page is appropriate.
Include Helpful Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
One reason your website might have a lower dwell time or a high bounce rate is due to a lack of CTAs. When someone lands on your website, regardless of the page they enter through, what do you want them to do? Let me give you an example. If you’re reading this far into my blog post, you likely need help figuring out how to audit your website. Now, do you want to audit your website yourself, or do you want to hire someone to do it for you? I’m not sure. But, I am including multiple CTAs.
- I’ve shared a link to read the first blog post in this series, so you can start from step one.
- At the end of this blog post, you’ll receive a link to read the next blog post in this series, assuming it’s been published by the time you’re reading this.
- You’ll also see a call to action that encourages you to contact us if you need help auditing your website.
- At the bottom of this website, you’ll also see a button that says “Need Help? Let’s Talk!”
- Depending on where you go next, you could see other CTAs on our website, such as a chat notification, or something else.
- You’ll also see a couple CTAs encouraging you to subscribe to our blog, if you like what you’re reading.
Many website owners will publish a blog post, product page or services page, and never actually call the reader to action. Resolving this issue should help in multiple ways, including dwell time, bounce rate, conversions and more.
End goal: Make sure you don’t leave your website visitor having to guess where to go next or what to do. It should be extremely clear and easy to take the next step in their journey, whether that’s to move to another page on your website, to fill out a contact form, or to call you.Make sure you provide a phenomenal user experience for everyone who visits your website. #UXAudit #UX @AskJoshLyons #JLM Click To Tweet
Consider Your Audience to Improve User Experience
When a visitor lands on your website, it’s because they’re looking for a solution to an existing challenge they’re faced with. This challenge may be a product they need to purchase that will make their life easier. It could be that they need information to answer a question they have. They ultimately need a solution to something that drove them to visit your website.
The first thing your website should do is acknowledge they’re in the right place. Does the very first thing they read resonate with them? For example, you most likely need your website audited, because you’re concerned it may not be generating the desired results. The first sentence in the blog post addressed the importance of having a properly audited website, so you can address issues and maximize ROI. I then proceed to tell you how this blog post will help you.
After this blog post is published, and had time to get traffic, I’ll need to review it and see if visitors are clicking to read the next blog post, or contacting us. I’ll also need to see if people are spending significant time on the website. In fact, we can even see how far down the page a typical website visitor will scroll on this blog post. If we find the post doesn’t seem to be as helpful as it should, then we aren’t meeting our audience’s needs and will need to adjust.
End goal: Always design the page in a way that will meet the website visitors’ needs.
Make Sure the Website Uses a Responsive Design
According to an article by Hook, if a website is not mobile-friendly, 48% of the website visitors will feel as though the “business simply doesn’t care.” And according to Review 42, “73.1% of consumers will leave a site with non-responsive design.”
The statistics above paints a clear picture that a website with a responsive design gets better results than a website that’s not mobile-friendly. As time passes, this statement only becomes more and more true.
End goal: Make sure each of your landings pages, and the website as a whole, looks amazing on every device. This includes computers, tablets, smart-phones and any other type of devices your website is viewed from.
Make Navigation Easy to Follow Through Your Funnel
Going back to the “Consider Your Audience” point, think of where your website visitor will ultimately want to go. Will it be your contact page, or to another blog post, or to a page to learn about your services? As you read through your landing pages, consider where the audience member would likely want to go next. Then, evaluate the page to see if there is a clear and obvious way for the visitor to get to the next step of the funnel.
Of course, CTAs is a big part of this. But aside from CTAs, what about your navigation? Is it simple to follow and can a visitor easily get from point A to point B through your navigation?
If you have a massive menu, you may want to consider using a mega menu layout instead of a drop-down menu. This can make it easier to navigate your website.
End goal: Make certain it’s easy for your website visitors to quickly and easily navigate to wherever they need to go, through your marketing funnel.
Check for Interstitial Pop-Ups or Annoying Ads
Over recent years it has been extremely common to see pop-ups when arriving to a website. These pop-ups are typically blocking the website visitor from viewing the content they’re trying to access, in an attempt to get the user to subscribe to the website or make a purchase of some type. While these are popular, they are usually annoying and result in a poor user experience.
In addition to resulting in a poor user experience, these pop-ups are something Google specifically does not like to see. As a result, they can be harmful to your rankings on Google. The same is true of ads that interrupt the user’s interaction with the website and are intrusive in nature.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have pop-ups. But, they need to be done in a much less obtrusive way, so as not to interrupt the website visitor from accessing the content they’re trying to get to. Here’s a helpful article by Thrive Agency on how to use pop-ups in a way that won’t hurt the user experience or penalize your rankings on Google: No Intrusive Interstitials
End goal: Don’t use intrusive pop-ups or ads on your website. Instead, find alternative ways to run ads, acquire email subscribers and move website visitors into funnels.
Fix Broken Links
A website visitor doesn’t want to navigate from one page to another, just to be greeted with a 404 error (page not found). You can use a tool like SEMrush to find broken links on your website. Or, you can hire a marketing agency (such as Joshua Lyons Marketing), to do this for you. Then, make sure each broken link is corrected.
End goal: Ensure a positive website experience by not sending a visitor to a page that doesn’t exist.
Check the Overall Design of the Website
Although your website might load quickly, be responsive, and follow all the other best practices, that doesn’t mean the design is up-to-date. Check with current best practices in design, and make sure your website is up-to-par.
Here are a couple considerations related to this point.
- Sliders used to be really popular, now they are not considered a best practice. Your website might be the exception to the rule, but if you’re like most websites, it would be wise not to use a slider on your homepage. Rather, just show the most important content your website visitor needs to see when they land on your landing page.
- Work storytelling into the design of your landing page. Not sure what storytelling is, in relation to marketing? No worries. Just do a quick search on Google for “How to do storytelling for marketing” and you’ll get a lot of great results. Make sure it’s implemented into the design of your landing pages, as much as possible.
Aside from the two points above, just look at the design. Is it currently attractive and would you be proud to have a website visitor land on your website? If not, get it updated and make it look amazing. We update our own website on a very regular basis. It seems like there is always something that can, and should be, improved. And even if you’re totally happy with your website, and just launched it, the general rule of thumb is that your website needs to be updated every three years, to stay up-to-date with best practices.
End goal: Make sure the design of your website is attractive. This inspires confidence and helps improve both conversion rates and the overall user experience. If there’s something that doesn’t look great to you, then consider fixing it.
Final Thoughts Regarding User Experience
In part one of this audit series, we discussed identifying your audience, goals, and making sure you have access to review and edit your website. If you didn’t read that post already, please check it out. Otherwise, stay tuned for part three of this series. In the next post we share how to do a “Technical Audit” of your website.
And here’s the end goal of this entire blog post: Make sure you provide a phenomenal user experience for everyone who visits your website. When the user experience improves, so do the conversions, revenue and profitability. If you find issues with your website during the auditing process, make sure to make a note of them, so they can be appropriately resolved.
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And of course, if you need help auditing your website, let us know! We’d be happy to assist with this. Just shoot us a message via our contact page or through the contact form below.
As the founder of Joshua Lyons Marketing, Josh Lyons primarily focuses on business development. He has studied and practiced marketing since 2008 and launched his first company (a marketing agency in Pensacola, Florida) in 2015. When he's not writing blog posts, recording podcasts or consulting, he enjoys spending time with family and friends. He loves listening to audiobooks and checking out different coffee shops. He also enjoys fire juggling, amigurumi, travel and swing dancing; which is how he met his wife.