The superstructure of brand identity is dependent on a vigorous online presence. This presence feeds on a consistent uptrend of user engagement and conversion.
If the foundation of your brand identity is not robust, the whole framework will be fragile.
Two important building blocks of online brand identity are:
- A user-sensitive website
- And an attentive social media presence.
These form the backbone of your brand’s online business endeavours. They are the points from which you expand to all other consumer and business touchpoints.
Home is where the website is
“Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.” – Paul Cookson
Your website is your business’s digital head office. It’s the place that never sleeps and where your brand narrative starts. It’s also the stage from which you project your brand’s values, objectives and achievements.
It is, in a sense, the vanguard of your online ecosystem. It’s how you set yourself apart from the competition and from where you drive new business.
And, as with a physical storefront, website user experience (UX) is key. It impacts your online brand identity. The first impressions of those “entering the door” matters – a lot!
“Focus on the user and all else will follow.” – Rule #1, Google’s “Ten Things” Philosophy
Customer experience (CX) is the overarching category into which user experience falls. It’s the customer perceptions of a brand as a whole and throughout their entire brand journey. User experience (as a subset of CX) is the end user’s experience with your product, service, app or website.
Nowadays websites need to work well on desktops as well as mobile phones and tablets. And if they don’t deliver an excellent user experience, your brand’s reputation will be at stake.
A good UX starts with understanding who will be visiting your website. What will they be wanting from your website? Whatever they need, you’ll need to ensure they get it quickly – or else they’ll leave. This is considering that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
For this article, GNL researched insights from A Comprehensive Guide to the ROI of UX, Monsido’s 2022 State of Websites Report, UserZoom’s The State of UX 2022, and Adobe’s Achieving Deliciousness: Adapting to an increasingly content-hungry world, among others.
Six ways to optimise your website’s user experience (UX):
Invest in UX and make design central to all touch-points consumers have with your brand:
On average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return – that’s an ROI of 9,900%. When users value a website experience or interaction, they are bound to visit again.
Stunning design also trumps simplicity. When pressed for time, 59 percent of global consumers crave beautiful design over simplicity. Design-driven businesses also outperformed the S&P by a whopping 228% over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, 94% of people cite web design as the main reason for mistrusting or rejecting a website.
Integrate user research in your website’s development process:
According to UserZoom, integrating user research in product development works wonders. It impacts customer satisfaction (by 80%) and brand perception (by 76%).
Optimise page speed:
Pages that load in under a second convert around 2.5 times higher than pages taking five seconds or more. An extra five seconds of page load time can also increase your website’s bounce rate by more than 20%.
Adopt a mobile-first approach:
A mobile-first website strategy that delivers a user-centric experience must be the norm. This is because most people visit websites using their mobile phones. Small wonder, as there are 5.34 billion unique mobile phone users globally.
Make accessibility a priority:
In 2022 WebAIM surveyed 1-million of the world’s top home pages. Most (97%) had accessibility errors, the majority of which (86%) were due to low-contrast text. Besides violating the basic tenets of good design, such an error can also cause non-compliance issues. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a good place to start. It covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible for all.
Test your website’s usability:
Users visit your website to fulfil a specific need. If the experience is frustrating or time-consuming, potential customers will move on. Conduct tests to evaluate your website’s usability. Test early, test regularly, and always focus on your unique audience and their needs in relation to your brand and its offerings.
In this age of multi-choice and immediate online convenience, your website needs to stand out from the crowd. If your website’s UX is not spot on, and if the experience of visiting is frustrating, you’ll end up losing business.
Your website is not just a home for your business, but a home for others. Make sure they will want to visit again and again.