After somebody clicks on an ad, the only way to turn that person from a window shopper to a customer is the experience you provide for them on your website. It’s that critical moment, right after a click, for your brand to make an impression, gain trust, and ultimately get the person to spend their hard-earned money on your product or service. So next up in this blog series, I want to look at user experience and web design through the PPC lens.
Let’s say there’s a new taco restaurant in town. You keeping seeing their billboards on the highways and you’re getting mailers about their taco Tuesday deals. The brand looks interesting and you love tacos, so why not try it out? You walk in and the place is a mess, the tables are dirty, there’s some kind of weird smell, and you can’t find seem to find a person that actually wants to take your order. You’ve had enough, you’re hungry and you leave.
So what happened? Their advertising worked but their user experience was terrible, so they lost out on a customer. For all you know these tacos could be the best in the world, but you walked away because the place was in disarray. This happens all the time with PPC campaigns. No matter how sophisticated the PPC campaign, the final decision comes down to the person’s experience on your website.
How Do I Know if My Website is Working?
It’s common for business owners to approach websites as a singular, siloed project. In reality, a website is a living breathing entity that requires regular maintenance and upgrades. Once you have that mindset about your website, the following will make sense.
Step 1: Get Your Baseline
The first place to start is Google Analytics. Check how your site is performing by looking at key metrics like pages per session, time per session, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc. These top-level behavioral metrics will give you an idea of how people are interacting with your site.
Next, I like to check where the traffic is coming from. If you filter down to source/medium inside Google analytics, you’ll be able to see what channels are pushing traffic to your site. To take it a step further, take a look at the behavioral metrics of the traffic from each channel. This exercise can be very illuminating and will show you which channels are performing best and which channels could use a boost. Taking a deep dive into these metrics will help you establish a baseline for which you can measure your results moving forward.
Step 2: The Human Test
To simplify, clunky navigation and hard to understand content are 2 major factors that will keep a window shopper a ‘shopper’ and not a ‘buyer’. One exercise I like to do is test if the navigation and content are up to par is a simple human interaction test. Reach out to some friends or colleagues and give them some instruction on what they need to find on your site. Then watch them go and try to hunt it down. Try to find someone that is unfamiliar with your business and your website.
Take note of where they are clicking and the routes they are going to find the information they need. It sounds like a simple idea, but I bet you’ll be surprised how long it takes people to find the information they are looking for.
Another way to do this exercise is to instruct your subject to find something that’s not actually on the site. They will likely click around for a while, going to second and third level pages and navigation menus. Again, take note of how they move around on the site. This exercise will highlight which design elements on your site are working and which are not catching the eye.
To take this one step further towards professional UX research, we often refer clients to UserTesting.com where they can get true user feedback and insights on the usability of their website. It’s an affordable and professional way to get unbiased feedback on a website or design.
Part 2 is on the way…
The next few steps require special attention so we’re going to put a pin in this subject and come back a little later. In the second part of this blog, we’ll look at landing pages, how to use them strategically, and how to make sure you’re constantly testing usability and improving on performance.