With the latest lockdown measures due to Covid-19, you may have seen an increase in visits to your website? At times like this, it’s even more vital that your members can find the information they need. Emotions could be fragile and you don’t want to add to their anxiety. Many organisations have set up ‘Covid-19 Hubs’ which collate useful information and articles, these act as a gateway for members to get what they need quickly as well as signpost critical user journeys. But isn’t this what your homepage should be doing at all times anyway?

The user experience is vital. If members have a negative experience on your website, they are unlikely to return. What visitors want is good information, easy navigation, and a website that makes them feel as though they have benefitted from the time they spent there. That’s where this guide comes in – the first of 2 articles that outline 6 steps for improving the member’s online experience.

1. Make Content Relevant

This is an essential part of the process, and not just from an SEO perspective. Members love the personal approach and relevant content will engage them more. When your content matches the queries that the member has searched for, it means that their intent has been fulfilled and they are happy. A handful of relevant articles will connect far more than a truckload of un-relevant ones.

Relevant content packed with quality information is how you become a trusted site in the eyes of the user and helps develop loyalties.

2. Avoid too Many Distractions

You have to make your way through an ever-increasing number of page pop-ups, cookie disclaimers, adverts and chatbots these days just to get to the information you arrived for. Users don’t want to be faced with loads of links and options when they visit your site. What users want is a simple layout that has all the options clearly labelled for them. Bombarding them with multiple things all at once could mean they are unable to make a decision and close the page through frustration.

That’s not the reaction you want.  Instead, you should think about the way you are organising your calls to action. You have the primary one, which is used to direct users towards products, services. The secondary one grabs the members that became disinterested and reignites the curiosity they had previously. The tertiary one provides information that is relevant to a member’s point in their journey.

3. Clear Navigation

No brainer right? Navigation should be clear and easy. Members don’t want to spend a lifetime trying to find one link to a specific area of your website. They want navigation that shows them where to go quickly. Needless clicking is exactly how you get people to leave and not think about coming back. If you are using a slide-in navigation on mobile, then make sure any important call to actions sits outside of it, maybe in the header or the body of the page. Reduce the number of clicks the user needs to make to get where they want to go.

Staying on top of the latest user experience wins can be pretty hard, and websites are one of those things where it feels like the rules are always changing. However, keeping ahead of the curve is important if you want to retain members, help improve their experience and keep traffic coming to you freely. In Part 2,  we will talk more about the importance of fast page loading, making sure your website is Accessible and making sure you have a plan to test and improve continuously.

Heavy Penguin is a UK Digital agency providing safe and scalable digital solutions for the  Membership and Nonprofit sectors.

Brian McHugh
Brian McHughCEO and Founder, Heavy Penguin