Businesses often evaluate their websites to understand how they compare with competitors. Many, however, are left disappointed with their website’s performance, particularly in converting visitors into loyal customers. A common issue is the lack of connection with the target market and the absence of an optimized user experience. Many websites are developed without incorporating essential market insights and focusing on user experience, which is crucial for success.
Optimize Your Website Business Performance and User Experience
In recent years, executives discontented with their websites have been advised to invest in search engine optimization (SEO). While SEO is essential to digital marketing, relying solely on it is not enough. Many business owners find SEO expensive and are uncertain of its actual impact on their business. The focus must shift from merely optimizing for search engines to optimizing the website’s overall business performance and user experience.
Four Steps to Optimize Website Business Performance and The User Experience
Businesses should take four critical steps to make their websites more compelling to their target audience.
Understand the market first. Find out what prospects value—before you put up content and push it to the market.
Specify the business purpose of the website. Know the market problem your site will solve and which parts of the business you want to accelerate.
Develop the user experience strategy and design. Map the market and business needs to the solution’s design; ensure consistent brand and messaging throughout the design.
Measure the design against the objectives. Validate that customers’ needs are met, and tasks are easy to do; test with people who fit the profile of your target customers.
Understand the Market
The first step in optimizing your website is understanding the market. How your website communicates your offerings to prospects or customers is more important than the products or services themselves. It’s crucial to learn what prospects value about your products or services and communicate it effectively. This knowledge can be acquired through various methods, such as analyzing demographic data, examining internal sales data, or conducting surveys. For B2B solutions, it’s essential to consider the requirements, processes, and success measures of the businesses you are serving.
Specify the Business Purpose
It’s vital to understand the problem your site helps solve clearly. The content should address the needs of the prospects and customers effectively. This involves developing a solid understanding of website users, including their needs, wants, and preferences. Unfortunately, many websites are created without incorporating a clear business purpose, which is essential for aligning the website with fundamental business objectives.
Develop the User Experience
The user experience encompasses all aspects of a visitor’s interaction with the company’s services, products and website. It is critical to the company’s success to provide excellent prospect and customer experiences. This objective puts the user at the center of the design process—incorporating user concerns and advocacy from the beginning—and dictates that the user’s needs should be foremost in any design decisions.
To meet the customer’s exact needs and to deliver simple, elegant solutions that are a joy to experience goes beyond giving customers what they say they want and merely providing a checklist of features. You must have a strong understanding of your market needs and the target audience of your solution. You must also map the market and business needs to the solution’s design.
Ensure consistent brand and messaging throughout the design. In many regards, your user experience is your brand. You must develop an understanding of what motivates your users and manage their expectations while consistently representing your brand and message throughout their experience with your company, services, and products.
Measure the Design
Validate that customers’ needs are met, and tasks are easy to do. Putting your solution in context for your customers and users is key to validate that the solution meets their needs and is easy to use. You need to work with people who fit the profile of your target customers and conduct design reviews to gather feedback. Develop prototypes to review concepts to ensure that your site meets customer and user needs. Also, validate where workflows and content for various customer segments overlap and differ. Start thinking about the right experience to support the different market segments and users’ needs.
Once you have validated that the site meets customer and user needs, you can evaluate the tasks to ensure they are easy to complete. It is a test of the solution’s ease of use and not your customers’ intelligence. If the tasks are hard or impossible to complete, your solution is not easy.
Leveraging Data Analytics
In today’s data-driven world, leveraging data analytics is not just an option; it’s a necessity for any business that aims to thrive online. Data analytics can significantly enhance your website’s performance by providing insights into user behavior, content engagement, and conversion paths. Here’s how you can make the most of data analytics:
Understanding User Behavior
Understanding how users interact with your website is crucial. Tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Mixpanel enable you to track various metrics such as the number of visitors, bounce rate, and average time spent on the site. More importantly, you can see the user’s journey through your website – which pages they visit, in what order, and where they drop off. This information is invaluable for identifying areas that need improvement.
A/B testing involves creating two or more variations of a page or element on your website to see which performs better. By using data analytics, you can measure the effectiveness of different designs, content, or calls to action. This enables you to optimize your website based on data-driven decisions rather than assumptions.
Data analytics allows you to segment your audience based on various factors such as location, device, or behavior. With this information, you can tailor content and offers to specific segments of your audience. Personalization is a powerful tool for improving user experience and increasing conversion rates.
It’s essential to know which actions on your website lead to conversions. Conversion tracking involves monitoring users’ actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or filling out a contact form. By understanding which elements of your website contribute to conversions, you can focus your efforts on what drives results.
With the advancement of machine learning and AI, predictive analytics has become more accessible. Predictive analytics involves using historical data to make predictions about future events. For instance, you can predict which products a customer is likely to be interested in, or when they are most likely to make a purchase. This enables you to make proactive decisions and optimize your marketing efforts.
Presenting data in a visual format helps in understanding complex datasets easily. Tools like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI help you create dashboards and reports that make it easier to interpret the data. With data visualization, you can quickly identify trends and patterns that might go unnoticed in raw data.
Ensuring Data Privacy
While leveraging data analytics, it’s imperative to ensure the privacy and security of user data. Comply with data protection regulations like GDPR and be transparent with users about how their data is being used.
Quick cases in point
In pursuit of new business, a small consulting firm was frequently asked if they had a website. Based on the demand-side information and needs of the business, the three missions of the website were to:
- Establish company credibility
- Be an easy-to-use networking tool
- Provide those working at the company with an easy-to-access, anywhere sales presentation
During the tweak-and-tune phase, feedback from those who closely matched the ideal client profile said they wanted more background information and company case studies, and these sections were lengthened and reformatted. These efforts resulted in a 50% increase in clients within 120days. Interestingly, since these steps were implemented, the background information and case studies are the most frequently viewed pages.
In another case, a five-year-old high-growth financial services firm was getting little value from its website. Support costs increased, SEO return on investment had flattened, and the site’s contributions to the business were down.
The company developed a better understanding of the markets they served—prospects did not want to read about specifications, but how the financial services being offered could solve their problems (The Do Fors). The owners decided to make the website missions about: solving problems for prospects and making it easier for clients to engage with the company. The results showed a 25% increase in clients over the following six months. The site now serves the company as a qualification tool and distribution channel—and the cost to reach these new clients has decreased by 10%.
Website Business Missions
Develop a specific mission for your website—before investing the technical and creative talent, time, and money in the build. Here are some examples of actual website business missions:
- Reduce time-to-market and time-to-revenue
- Generate qualified leads
- Expand product and service reach while reducing our costs
- Target a previously unreachable customer
- Allow partners to more easily do business with us
- Establish or increase credibility
- Transact business
- Attract and retain new customers
- Convert visitors to customers
- Increase customers’ loyalty and spending
Learn more in Pragmatic’s Market course
- Gain a thorough understanding of your buyers and how they like to buy so you can build the product marketing strategies that deliver results.
- Align across go-to-market teams by effectively sharing and leveraging your buyer knowledge to prioritize the right product marketing strategies.
- Measure your strategies against the metrics that matter most to your organizations, focusing on outcomes and impact, not vanity.