Improve user experience: 7 ways to make your website more engaging

If you’re looking to improve the user experience on your website, you’re not alone. A user-friendly website can lead to more traffic and happier visitors. However, it can be difficult to decide how to design your website for the smoothest possible experience.

Luckily, you don’t have to perfect your website through trial and error. By understanding some universal techniques, you can better serve your visitors and take your web presence to the next level.

In this article, we’ll walk you through seven ways to improve user experience on your website. We also provide you with some examples and some tips to help you get started. Let’s dive right in!

How to Improve User Experience: Actionable Tactics

Here are the seven tactics we’ll cover – read on for more details:

  1. Make your website more visual
  2. Optimize responsive design
  3. Track user experience metrics (and improve where necessary)
  4. Use a marketing funnel
  5. Optimize design flow
  6. Make your content skimmable
  7. Don’t let ads overwhelm the user experience

Let’s go through them…

1. Consider a visual approach

No matter the quality of your content, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Visitors faced with a wall of text may be intimidated. This could cause them to skip your best work.

Therefore, you should consider a more visual, image-based approach. One way to do this is to mix up your formatting. Even the occasional photo gallery or video can break down long content into a more manageable format. You can consider Pinterest as an extreme example of this method:

An example of high quality website images to improve user experience.

By focusing on the visual elements, Pinterest makes it easy for users to understand content at a glance — even when there are dozens of options. This can enhance the user’s experience by helping them consume content quickly and easily.

Even if you rely on a lot of text, try to include photos and screenshots throughout to make it easier to understand. With just a few images, you can break up an otherwise lengthy post into easier-to-read sections.

If you have a text-heavy post that doesn’t lend itself to additional photos, you can also create an accompanying infographic. This format conveys all of your written information in a way that is easier to read.

2. Make sure your website is responsive on all devices

You probably don’t need to tell us that there are many mobile users these days – 7.1 billion of them [1], to be exact. These visitors make up a large portion of your audience, so it’s important to improve your site’s mobile experience.

There are several ways to make your website more mobile-friendly. An important step is to choose a mobile-friendly design from the start. Virtually all modern themes are responsive by default, but we recommend digging in and actually testing how your theme performs on different devices to ensure the user experience is optimal.

You might also want to carefully craft your menus. Cluttered navigation can make it difficult for users to find what they are looking for. So, consider building in lots of submenus to reduce the options your users need to browse on mobile devices:

An example of ThemeIsle's mobile menu with generous spacing to improve the mobile user experience.

You can also check how much white space you have included. Because mobile screens are smaller, they can be more difficult to use accurately. When a user keeps clicking on the wrong tab due to insufficient spacing, it leads to a frustrating experience. Generous spacing can go a long way in relieving this pain point.

Finally, let’s talk about speed. Loading times are essential for smooth navigation. However, loading times on mobile devices may differ from those on desktop devices. With a tool like PageSpeed ​​Insights can help you ensure high performance on all devices.

3. Track your user experience metrics

We’ve covered the importance of using analytics many times. However, there are some metrics that are particularly useful if you’re looking to improve user experience across the board.

A popular tool for analyzing the behavior of your visitors is Hotjar. It shows you where your users are clicking and interacting via a heatmap. This can give you valuable insights in an easy-to-read format:

An example of a Hotjar heatmap that you can use to track visitor metrics and improve user experience.

These heatmaps show you the most popular aspects of a particular page. Therefore, you can use it to evaluate the successes and failures of your website. For example, you may find that an area of ​​important content isn’t getting the attention it deserves. You might want to reconsider the design of this area so that more people are attracted to it.

Finally, you might also want to take a look at your site’s usage metrics. You can easily track them through Google Analytics and similar tools. There are many numbers to keep an eye on, but some of the most important are:

  • bounce rate: This metric tells you how many visitors show up and then leave without looking at a second page. It’s not a high bounce rate always bad, but it’s something to consider, especially if the goal of your content is to keep readers on your site.
  • Length of stay and page views per visit: The easier and more enjoyable your website is to use, the more time visitors will spend there on average (and the more pages they will visit).
  • Conversions: If your website’s ultimate goal is to drive conversions (whatever that means to you), a low success rate may indicate user experience issues.

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to user engagement metrics. People who spend time leaving comments or reactions are probably enjoying their experience. If these numbers are low, you should look for ways to increase them.

4. Use a marketing funnel

A marketing funnel is a clever way to engage your audience. This model provides new visitors with minimal, attention-grabbing information. Then, as they become more familiar with your brand, more engaging content will be introduced to get them closer to converting.

This approach can help you increase sales and organically personalize each visitor’s experience. It can also help users reach more relevant content, thereby increasing their time on your site.

An easy way to start building a funnel is to develop a thoughtful internal linking strategy. For example, you should avoid linking to advanced articles if your content is aimed at beginners.

Additionally, you may want to include basic links in more advanced posts to introduce readers to basic concepts. For example, the following blog post links to more information about blockchain:

A blog post with linking best practices to improve user experience.

We also recommend that you take care to serve your loyal users appropriately. Returning visitors and customers are likely already interested in your brand.

Therefore, you should avoid bombarding them with opportunities to sign up for a mailing list or create a new account as this can get tiring. If you take the time to design content for all parts of your marketing funnel, you’re more likely to increase user satisfaction.

5. Keep in mind the design flow of each page

When a user visits your website, they may not be looking for a specific element. You could just look to a page and let your eyes wander. Because of this, we highly recommend thinking about how you’re guiding your vision if you’re looking to improve the user experience across all your pages.

A simple way to do this is to avoid a cluttered screen. Without white space, it can be difficult to know where to look next. Intentionally including some blank spaces can help visitors focus on where you want them to go.

Another way to apply this strategy is to use the “triangle approach”. This includes placing a single dominant image at the top of your page. Then, when users scroll down, you can fan out your content. This can help users follow your content more naturally.

You can also consider grouping similar items. For example, YouTube places its video content in the center while keeping all navigation elements on the left:

An example of YouTube's design flow.

If you want to go beyond these steps, consider taking a web design course. Even if you learn just a few additional tips, they can potentially help improve your site.

6. Make sure your content is skimmable

The internet gives people quick access to unlimited amounts of information. However, one of the consequences is that people expect quick results. You might not want to take the time to read an entire article. Skimmable content is therefore key to visitor satisfaction.

Luckily, you don’t have to limit your content to do this. Just a few formatting changes can make a big difference. For example, bulleted and numbered lists can help you quickly summarize important items.

Another approach is to provide an article summary at the bottom or top of the page. This is especially important if your article is trying to answer a question. Users can always read the main body of content for more detailed information.

We also recommend providing header links at the top of your page or post. This gives users instant access to exactly what they are looking for:

An example of summarized headings.

Finally, we recommend writing detailed headings as well. Clear titles can quickly communicate the topics on a page and let the reader know what to expect. Headings are also a way to include relevant terms without resorting to keyword stuffing.

7. Be careful with your ads

Finally, let’s talk about ads. Ads are an efficient way to monetize your work and increase your income. You don’t have to phase them out completely, but we strongly encourage you to use them with caution.

One way to improve user experience is to limit ad space per page. When visitors have a hard time finding your content among all the ads, they can get frustrated.

Reserving white space can be an easy way to reduce the chances of this happening. In addition, you can restrict displays to an area of ​​the screen, as in the following example:

SFGATE's website with advertising in only one section, which can improve user experience.

We also recommend that you prioritize value-based partnerships. If your ads are poorly placed, they could send users to websites they don’t want to visit. Therefore, making sure you only work with quality brands can go a long way in maintaining trust.

You may also want to avoid pop-up ads. Although some websites still make heavy use of these, they’ve gotten a bad rap over the years. That’s because they interrupt visitors while navigating your site. As such, it may be best to choose other ad locations or at least use minimal pop-ups.

When in doubt, remember that ads aren’t the only way to support your site. There are other methods to monetize your work and maintain a quality user experience.

Improve your website user experience in 2023

Let’s be honest; Building a quality WordPress website is not easy. It is an art that takes time, resources and practice to perfect. Luckily, following a few important strategies can go a long way in improving the user experience on your website.

In this article, we’ve covered seven ways you can improve your visitors’ journey:

  1. Consider a more visual approach.
  2. Make sure your website is responsive on all devices.
  3. Keep an eye on your user experience metrics.
  4. Apply a marketing funnel to your content.
  5. As you build, keep the design flow of each page in mind.
  6. Make sure your work is skimmable.
  7. Use ads with caution.

If you need help, you can also hire a website usability expert to ensure your website is easy for visitors to browse.

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