Do you know how well your website works for you?
Do visitors to your site stay and consume the content you provide for them, or do they leave within seconds?
One factor that determines the success of your website is the quality of the experience users have when visiting your site.
User experience is what happens when we engage with any product or service. And the quality of that experience determines if we’ll come back and use that product or service again.
Here’s a Quick Example …
Let’s say you decide to go out to eat tonight.
At the restaurant, you wait in line to be seated. What’s taking so long? There is no one else waiting.
Finally, someone comes and shows you to a table.
You’re ready for the menu. But there’s no menu on the table, and there’s no one in sight to ask for one.
After what seems like a long time, you get a menu and place your order. Your food arrives… late and lukewarm.
At this point, you’re upset, disappointed, and underwhelmed by your experience. And most likely, you will not go back to the restaurant because of it.
Across the board …
User experience is not limited to the offline world but equally applies online.
Whether you’re on a website, using an app, or searching online, when it’s difficult or confusing to find what you’re looking for, it leads to a bad experience.
And nobody wants that… certainly not if you rely on your website to bring more patients to your practice.
That’s why your website’s user experience is important and deserves your attention.
While user experience consists of various components, some more technical than others, there are some basic things you can do to improve the user experience of your website.
But first, here are some statistics about general website use.
You Only Have Seconds …
We are getting more and more impatient.
A sampling of 2023 statistics published on Forbes highlights the expectations of website visitors:
- Users form an opinion about a website within the first minute.
- 47% will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- The average time spent by visitors on a single page is 54 seconds.
- Website users spend 6.44 seconds looking at the navigation menu.
- Videos on a website may increase the time spent on a page by 88%.
- 61% leave a site within five seconds if they don’t find what they want.
- 88% say they won’t return to a site after a bad experience.
These are sobering statistics, no doubt.
But keep in mind that data is compiled across different industries and businesses. Also, it’s reasonable to assume that web users have somewhat different expectations toward big business and e-commerce than small businesses. And maybe they are a bit more forgiving of small business.
Now, the question is, what can you do to improve your website to provide visitors with a great experience?
You’re not a tech or e-commerce company, nor do you have an IT department or staff. Chances are you have a webmaster who maintains your small business website, or perhaps you maintain it yourself.
Here are a few suggestions to help you improve the user experience of your website; some may be a bit more technical than others. However, they will be easy to implement for your webmaster or yourself if you maintain your own site.
Your Audience and Their Needs:
- First off, identify who visits your site. What are they looking for? What are their goals? What are their needs?
- Throughout your website, address their needs and speak to their goals; provide enough information so people know and understand the services you provide and how you can help them.
Look & Feel of Your Website:
- Stick to standard design and naming conventions on your site. People have certain expectations about what to see on a website. Use common terms like Home, About, Contact, etc.
- Use a clear navigation menu across the top of every webpage, and group similar items together in dropdowns. Menus allow visitors to explore your website and make your information easy to discover. Be sure to provide a way for visitors to find their way back to the home page or other pages.
- Clearly identify your website: include the name of your business, your logo, physical and web address, and phone number. People must know at once that they’re in the right place.
- Include a clear, brief headline explaining what you do for people. For example, you might say: “We help you feel better again.”
- Throughout the content of your website, use generous “whitespace.” Big blocks of text may feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and challenging to read. Break text into short paragraphs to make it more readable and easier to consume.
- Increase the readability and accessibility of your site by using generous whitespace, larger font sizes, clear contrast between background and text, bullet points, bolding, italics, and underlining of text.
- Use a different color for weblinks so they can be easily identified by visitors.
- Make sure that the text on your site is properly formatted with subheadings, clearly identified hyperlinks, adequate-size buttons, and images with alternate text. No matter if a reader has full sight or has a visual disability accessing your content via a screen reader, the content on your site should be accessible to all.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor… make it easy to move around your website and to find information. Make it easy to understand and consume information.
- Use colors wisely. Consider the design and aesthetics of your website.
- Keep the most essential information above “the fold” (the part of a web page you see without scrolling)
- Make sure you have an “About” page. People want to get to know you beyond where you went to school and what degrees you’ve earned. If you have staff, also include information about them. Make sure to include pictures.
- Be sure to have a clear and complete “Contact” page; make it easy for people to contact you. Include directions to your clinic, how to contact your clinic, and how to reach you in an emergency.
- Provide site visitors with a clear message about what you can do for them.
- Consider including a short video on the homepage explaining what your practice does and how you can help. Provide enough
- Include a clear “Call to Action” on your site. For example, ask visitors to call your office to make an appointment or to get in touch if they have questions. If you have a newsletter, invite visitors to sign up for your newsletter. If you’re conducting a survey, ask people to fill out and submit the survey. Always be clear about what you want people to do next.
- Make sure your website loads fast. As you’ve seen earlier, how fast a website loads matters to users.
- Be sure your website works on mobile and is optimized for mobile. Today, many access the web from their mobile devices, and an excellent mobile experience is imperative.
If you count on your website to help you build your practice, it’s best to keep an eye on user experience.
Because the quality of experiences people have when interacting with your website may determine if someone will or will not become a patient.
While technical improvements are essential, other considerations may be equally important.
One of them is the clarity of your website’s messaging.
Visitors to your site should not have to think about your message. They should not have to guess what you do. Your message must be clear.
When visitors come to your website, they must know at once that they are in the right place, understand what you do, and how you can help them.
Don’t confuse people; don’t force them to think, interpret your message, or make decisions… because a confused mind will always say “No” and leave
How do you feel about your website? And, do you know if it’s working for you?
Let us know; share your feedback with us and leave your thoughts below.