Whether you’ve spent countless hours building your site and creating content or you’re just getting started, it’s important to give your users the most useful experience possible to ensure their needs are met and your goals achieved. But determining where to start is often a daunting task. We’ve identified four easy steps you can take when creating (or recreating) your site.
Create a Content Strategy
Content is one of the most important components to consider when designing your site. And while it’s a great place to start, it’s important to implement an overarching content strategy to help guide your users as they navigate your site. But before defining your content strategy, you need to understand your user personas, who they are and what they hope to achieve.
Questions to ask during the content strategy phase:
Who are you trying to reach?
What unique challenges are your users facing?
How can you more effectively reach your users as they navigate each step throughout the buyer’s journey?
The goal is to understand your users and provide compelling content that helps them move closer to their goals (and your ultimate call to action). This step doesn’t always require you to generate new content. Chances are you have the content your users want, but it might not be arranged in the most intuitive way. To assess the performance of your content, you need to understand the pages your users are consuming and those they are not. If you find users viewing several pages but spending very little time on each, it might be time to consider how your users are flowing through your site.
Determine sitemap flow
Once your content has been created and arranged (or rearranged), the real work begins. It’s time to determine how the content comes together across pages.
Sitemaps aren’t a one-size-fits-all component and there are a number of tools available to aid the process but it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You can achieve a sitemap with something as simple as sticking your content pages on the wall and building out navigation flows by drawing arrows between pages to indicate how you want your users to consume your content. Simple sticky notes can be used to determine calls to action or things you want your user to do.
You should strive to really understand how the content comes together when building your sitemap. The goal of your sitemap should be to arrange your content in an intuitive way so that your users seamlessly flow from one page to the next. Understanding expected user behavior is key to assembling your sitemap. Once you’ve determined how the pages flow across the site, it’s time to implement the site navigation to guide users through the sitemap.
Provide clear site navigation
Site navigation is key to pushing users through your content in an intuitive way. Once you’ve determined the types of content to present across the buyer’s journey and assembled page flow in the sitemap, you’re ready to combine everything with your navigation. Navigation is used to help your users determine where to start consuming content and where to end with your call to action. The two most common types of navigation are top level and secondary. Top level navigation is often the first place your users go to decide where to start.
The next step is to implement secondary navigation (often found in dropdown menus and sidebars) to help guide users through supporting content. Calls to action are often the final step in driving users from your content to complete the goal you have in place (i.e., Click here to sign up). But how do you measure the success of your site and use measurable data to drive its design?
Implement Google Analytics Reporting
Nothing helps validate the success of your site quite like data and Google Analytics can help you highlight areas of potential improvement across your site. Understanding simple metrics around bounce rate and average time on page is a great way to start understanding how your site content is performing. The bounce rate identifies pages where visitors exit your site without visiting additional pages and the average time on page determines how long the user is viewing a single page of content. A high bounce rate and low average time on page could indicate an opportunity to enhance the content type to better fit your users’ needs. A high bounce rate and high average time on page might indicate that users find the content useful and might highlight an opportunity to place a strong call to action.
Not sure how to interpret the data coming from Google Analytics? Quill Engage can help get you going by delivering the most important insights about your site’s KPIs in plain English directly to your inbox. Learn more >