There are almost 2 billion websites worldwide.
So how can local companies stand out from the masses and compete for business with mega-corporations? The answer is more straightforward than you might think.
By focusing on user experience, you can help your clients drive website traffic, increase conversions, and hold their own against global companies.
We live in an era where every business has a website, so your client needs to stand out to make a serious impact.
In this article, we’ll explore nine different ways you can enhance your client’s website to provide a stellar online user experience for long-term business success.
What is online user experience?
Online user experience (UX) is the sum of all user interactions with your client’s product or website.
User experience starts with user intent. Identifying customers’ needs and expectations enables your client’s business to design an ideal experience for their online customers.
For example, UX is all about how easy it is to navigate their site or app, what information they provide when someone visits their page, and how easy it is for your client’s users to find what they need.
User experience design has grown in popularity over the past few years as more people use websites and apps on their phones than ever before. This means that UX design has become increasingly important for businesses that want to stay competitive in today’s digital market.
Areas of UX Improvement
You can improve the user experience of your client’s website in many ways.
When it comes to local brick-and-mortar businesses, the strategies may differ from those of larger chain corporations.
Local businesses aren’t one-size-fits-all, but there are a few areas of UX improvement that almost every local business can consider.
Area 1: Google’s Core Web Vitals
Google’s Core Web Vitals are important to your client’s business.
Why? Because according to Google, they’re one of the main ways that search engines determine how well their website is performing.
Google uses Core Web Vitals data like speed, broken links, and time people spend on the site to evaluate website performance.
The faster your client’s website performs, the better it ranks in Google search results. So if they’re looking for more traffic and better leads from Google searches, you must keep up with these metrics.
Google’s Core Web Vitals gives users website speed and performance data. This data can help them improve their UX, search engine rankings, and business success.
Area 2: Ease of navigation
Have you ever searched for the website of your favorite restaurant? Most of the time you’ll encounter a horrendous website that’s impossible to navigate. You can’t even find the menu, for crying out loud.
And what was your immediate reaction? You bounce, of course.
So, it’s essential to avoid this same scenario with your client’s website at all costs. Check that links are working, edit landing pages for a better user experience, and create or update blog content using an AI writing tool or content writing service.
Quality content and clear pathways throughout your client’s website are a must-have. All sub-pages should be labeled accurately and created with easy-to-read fonts. Don’t overcomplicate — simplicity is best.
Stemple Creek Ranch, a grass-fed cattle ranch in Northern California, does an excellent job outlining its product-led content offerings on its website with clear, easy-to-read headers.
And for anything that their customers can’t find right off the bat, they have included a search bar for increased navigability. Their customers can find the exact information they are looking for in a few simple clicks.
Customers have a short attention span. They’ll bounce and go elsewhere if they cannot find something with minimal effort.
An easy-to-navigate website equals happy customers.
Area 3: Display important information
Make sure the most important information is displayed prominently.
Include a “Contact Us” page where customers can find an email address and “call us now” button to get in touch with them when they have questions or concerns. Also, include a link on your client’s homepage that takes visitors straight from the “Contact Us” page to any other page on their site.
Feature your client’s logo prominently on the website’s homepage, as well as other places on the site where it makes sense, such as within the menu bar. This will help people recognize who they are when they come across an article about local businesses in their area (especially if you are new to town), which helps build trust over time.
Remember: You want to build trust through consistency, not just one lucky encounter with someone who happens upon some good advice at random while searching online for something else entirely.
Also, depending on the industry, make sure any booking pages or reservation systems are visible and identifiable on the homepage.
For example, Ola Properties, a real estate management company in Hawaii, includes a rental booking portal on its website for vacation properties in West Oahu based on dates, number of bedrooms, and occupancy.
Placing the booking system on the homepage lets customers quickly find the next available rental unit without looking through multiple pages.
Area 4: Reducing design clutter
There’s something trustworthy about a nice website design.
Don’t underestimate the small details of your client’s website. Prioritize important imagery and website features over the urge to fill space. Embrace an appropriate amount of white space.
Make sure their images are relevant and customized to avoid generic stock imagery.
Personalized images add character and a human element to a user experience. So take pictures and promote the local charm of your client’s hotel, restaurant, or boutique through original photographs.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Area 5: Utilizing original videos
Customers want to see videos. People remember 95% of a message if they view it in video format compared to 10% of the same message if they read it in text.
Videos are harder to fake and offer a more accurate view of the product. They could be a video walkthrough of hotel suites or a chef cooking local cuisine.
Another way to improve the user experience is to provide extra information about your client’s products and services.
For example, House of Prime Rib in San Francisco uses original videos to explain the unique service where the chef carves and serves your prime rib (with a side of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach) tableside.
Videos are like a present, a nice bundle of information wrapped in a neatly tied bow.
Area 6: Modernizing your client’s webpage
Many local businesses have been operating on the same dated landing page for too long. Consider hiring a professional branding team, website design company, or virtual assistant to help spruce up your client’s webpage.
The right company or service will be able to deliver an attractive and modern design that’s still true to your client’s roots and shares with locals a sense of familiarity and charm.
Some local businesses may not think providing or improving their online experience is an essential part of their business; however, in today’s digital world, almost any business can benefit from this.
For example, take a look at this list of moving container companies. What do they all have in common? They all offer stellar online user experiences, in addition to having an overall good moving service.
In other words, great digital experiences build trust.
So if you want to be included on best companies lists like these, you’ll need to make sure your online experience matches your real-world experience.
Online tracking, quote calculators, and chatbots are simple tools that local moving companies provide to create a seamless experience for customers to stay at the top of the pack.
Area 7: Leveraging social proof
Social proof is a form of credibility that comes from the perception that something is popular, reputable, or of high quality.
Enable customers to leave comments and reviews.
User-generated content on your client’s website helps customers feel good about their decision to buy and prevents them from going to a competitor’s site.
Social proof can be a powerful tool for local business websites because it can help increase conversion rates. This makes sense if you think about it: If people see that other people are using your client’s product or service and having success with it, then there’s a good chance they’ll also give it a try.
Use social proof by adding testimonials from happy customers in different formats, like videos and images, on different pages of your client’s website. You can add reviews from third-party review sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, or Trustpilot directly onto pages where they have products/services available for purchase.
Take Pride of Maui, the number one ranked Molokini snorkel tour, as an excellent example.
They’ve integrated their five-star Tripadvisor rating on their homepage to showcase that Hawaii tourists love their snorkel tours. They complement the rating by sharing positive statements from recent outings.
When a customer comes across these testimonials on the homepage of a website, they begin to trust the business credibility.
The power of social proof is a force to be reckoned with.
Area 8: Creating a mobile-friendly site
Navigating a website on a desktop is very different compared to a mobile device.
Make a mobile-friendly version of your client’s site so customers can use it on their phones as easily as on a computer.
For instance, Sunrise Shack created a responsive website that works well on both desktops and mobile phones. You can purchase a smoothie, coffee, or even mac nut butter with a touch of a button. That means more time catching waves.
They also have a small pop-up at the bottom of the screen for cookie consent for permission to provide an enhanced personalized shopping experience.
Area 9: Enhance your client’s site speed and performance
Site speed and performance are very important for your client’s customer experience.
The faster a page loads, the better user experience you’ll provide — and a good user experience will attract more visitors who want to return to their favorite sites again and again.
Make sure your client’s website is loading quickly by optimizing it with all the right elements: resize images appropriately — don’t run unnecessary scripts — cache pages when possible, etc.
Sites that load fast tend to convert better than those that don’t, especially sites where people buy products online such as jewelry, car accessories, and local satellite tv packages.
If someone can’t access your client’s site easily, and it takes too long to load, they may quickly bounce due to the fear of a cybersecurity risk from clicking on a spammy website.
The local business market is growing as more people shop and spend their time locally.
This represents a significant opportunity for your clients with businesses in our communities.
We know consumers are looking for ways to engage with their favorite businesses on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Still, they also want the convenience of connecting with a business on their website.
And unfortunately, there are a lot of local businesses out there that have terrible websites. So, it doesn’t take much to stand out from the crowd.
Focus on ease of navigation, adding social proof, optimizing for mobile use, and modernizing your client’s website to improve the online user experience and drive long-term business growth.