If you want to make more online sales for your business, you need an easy to use, customer-friendly website. Here are 3 quick, easy and cheap ways to boost your business online and make more money from your website by improving the user experience of your website.

If you want to get more bang for your buck with your website, you need to get lots of feedback from your customers on what they want you to publish online and how they want it organizing. The critical thing to remember is a website becomes successful because it meets the needs of its users.If you just focus on your online goals and what you want to “tell people” you’re heading for trouble. So while you’re planning your website strategy, before it gets to the development stage, ask a group of customers or people within your target market for their suggestions and ideas during the major phases of the decision making would be a smart move. When completed, you’ll have a website that is pleasing to your target audience – which at the same time is helping you reach your business goals.

Here are 3 stages of website development where the users’ inputs are critical to its success.

1. Gathering Data

A fundamental component of any website is its content and the menus and navigation. When you gather information about your target audience profile, you can the implement your content development strategy. Simple, effective ways to get information is by asking them to answer a short questionnaire – ideally online – and following up with a detailed interview with a sample group of 15-20 people.

You can make a content development strategy that applies directly to your potential users when you know their demographics and you have a better understanding of their goals, outlooks and what motivates them to visit you in the first place.

If you’re creating something people don’t want to read, your wasting your time and money, or isn’t pitched at their level of interest, or organized in way they want to use it.

As well as asking them what information they want, ask them what format they would like it in. Perhaps they want video, audio, something they can print out? These days, it’s straightforward to reformat your information into lots of different audio/visual media.

2. Creating your site map

When you have identified the profile of your users and what their aspirations are, you know the kind of content you will fill the site with. Get your customers involved at the heart of the decision making of the structure of your site map by jotting down each piece or section of content on a postcard and giving these cards to your sample of customers.

Then let the users sort them into groups that they can understand. Using the results of their preferred grouping, you can proceed to making your site map based on the train of thought of your users, and not yours.

3. Putting together your website design

With the site map structure in place, you can advance to the page designing part. Sketch the primary page layout onto paper, and then ask some site visitors to complete tasks on a paper prototype. Enhance the final outcome before building a clickable wireframe prototype and do further usability testing. Put some basic desing elements on your website blueprint (wireframe) and ask people what they think about your new website plan, so you can gauge how popular the finished site is likely to be.

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If you spend some time getting your website strategy right and spend some time planning how your site needs to work, you’ll find you spend a lot less money later on a website that fails to deliver.

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