Your website has been designed, you have enhanced the homepage and other pages for the proper keywords, all your images have “alt” tags and your breadcrumbs and navigation menus are organized and use understandable explanations. By all rights, you are ready to go live.
In the weeks after going live, you notice increased traffic but no conversions. Google Analytics shows that potential customers never made it past the homepage. What is going on?
Do not fret; you are not alone.
Hasty website designers, business owners and Internet marketers are learning that designing your website for attention from search engines is not enough. What good is an optimized website that looks like a Picasso painting? A website is not supposed to be a piece of art that customers have to decipher, it should be acute and clear.
What occurs is that website designers either design a page the way a business owner specifies, or business owners design their own pages – and the result is a mess. If you find yourself in this same predicament, there is a solution – one that is necessary for any Internet and SEO marketing campaign: usability testing.
Usability testing allows average and experienced Internet users a chance to survey your webpage by completing specific tasks you assign them. How well they complete these tasks and any feedback they give about your site is essential. A marketing website is not built for you and your employees, it is built for the cultures and demographics out there whom you wish to convert to your service. Keeping this simple fact in mind should be the impetus you need for that ROI for which you been patiently waiting.
When performing a usability test, it is not only important to have the surveyors sign a release form that gives permission for you to video and audio record their reactions and results, but also it is important that you select diverse surveyors. Use men, women, children and those from different cultures and ages. Who is your target customer? This is important to keep in mind when selecting individuals.
Follow a usability testing script. Try to select no more than five people, and make sure each session lasts no more than one hour. Not only will this keep the process inexpensive, but will make sure any feedback received is specific and qualitative.
Usability testing is an essential final step for any new website or website in need of a makeover. What works? What is broken? What should be removed? You may not know, but your potential customers do know. Do not turn a blind eye to them and they will not do the same to you.
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