The vast majority of all online experiences still begin in the exact same way: with a search engine. This means your average new customer will arrive at your site for the first time after discovering a problem. They'll typically take to a search engine like Google in order to attempt to solve it. After a few searches, they'll arrive at your primary domain and will take a look around...and the quality of the user experience you're able to offer them will determine how long they stay and if they ever think about coming back again.
How much does website UX impact success?
According to one recent study, a massive 88% of all online shoppers say that they wouldn't even consider returning to a website after having a single bad user experience - this is true regardless of whether that experience included a purchase. In fact, about 70% of all online businesses that fail do so because of poor UX - meaning that this is one quality you literally cannot afford to ignore for much longer.
It’s essential your site is easy (and enjoyable) to use. It can't just provide someone with the answers to their questions or the other information they seek - it also needs to do so in a way they actively enjoy being a part of.
In other words, you need to position your website to get the right information in front of the right people at exactly the right moment and in the right way.
Visual aesthetics play a big role in UX
The same study outlined above revealed that people tend to form about 75% of their total judgment on a website's credibility based purely on aesthetics. So even if you know your site does what someone needs it to and says what someone needs it to say, they're still likely to exit and never return if it isn’t visually attractive.
How to improve your website user experience
One of the best ways to make sure you're accounting for the variables involved in UX is to create website mockups that you can test and modify. This involves coming up with multiple mockups that are slight variations of one another. Then, get those mockups in front of real people and see which ones you respond to.
To help, you can use sites like Respona to check out the most popular competitor sites. Use the keywords that someone would search to find your business on Google and then take a look at the top five hits and see which visual elements they have in common. What are your biggest competitors doing well and, more importantly, what can you improve on?
Remember the primary goal is for users to arrive at a site that functions the way it's intended. People are looking for a product or service like yours and your site needs to be built in a way that funnels them in that direction in the easiest way possible.
But that's just one small part of the experience.
Your users want to feel you out. They want to see how credible you are. They want to see what separates you from so many of your competitors. That's the information they seek in this situation and it's up to you to give it to them.
If you're able to check all those boxes and provide them with the type of exceptional website user experience that your competitors can't match, you'll have a perfect storm on your hands in the best possible way. At that point, you'll have more new customers than you know what to do with.