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Quantity or quality?

20 Oct 2011

Businesses need to worry less about increasing website traffic and pay more attention to user experience (UX) and conversion rates.

That’s the advice of Anna Gervai, owner of digital agency Orchid Web Design.

"What is the traffic doing once it gets to their site?” Gervai says.

The Auckland based businesswoman feels it is time to start asking questions about how intuitive your company website is for visitors to use, and how effective it is at persuading clients to take action.  

"Whether that action is to subscribe to an email newsletter, pick up the phone or complete a purchase online, a high converting website starts with usability,” Gervai says.

A good website will feel intuitive to use and will be consistent.  If it takes more time to work out how to use the site than it does to make a purchase or find a contact, the chances are users won’t return. 

"Too many sites require users to spend time working out how to use the site.

"This gets in the way of users finding out what they need to know and getting where they need to go so they can take action.”

While you don’t want your website to be identical to other sites, it does help to remember that people expect a certain similarity in key things like navigation bars.  Horizontal navigation bars should be at the top of the page and flow left to right, or what is often referred to as from learning to action.

"In other words,” Gervai says, "pages like about us should be on the left and action pages like register, checkout and contact us should be on the right.”

Another common mistake is missing essential pages or calling them unexpected names. Unless there is an obvious reason for naming the home page anything other than ‘home’, avoid going for cute or eccentric names.  After the home page, a company's 'about us' page is often one of the most viewed, so also needs to be easily accessible and recognised.   

"Despite being so popular, I see a lot of companies who don't have an 'about us' page, or they call it an unexpected name or even hide the link to it below the fold [where the user has to scroll down to see it]. Call it 'about us' and put it right up there in the main navigation. Users should not have to scroll down to find it. "

Do you have trouble turning traffic into sales? Post your comments below, then maybe take a look at Anna Gervai's blog.