You own a website. You are aware that at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, in order to attract customers, you need more than just a properly functioning website and leaflets. That's why you decide to optimize your portal for the user experience. You employ UX agency, invest, get involved, carry out research, create new information architecture, new mock-ups, new graphic design, programmers implement new version of the website. For a moment everything seems to be just as it should be. You've done your duty well. The customer should be satisfied, only that... he's not satisfied. Nothing changes, conversion doesn't increase. Does that mean that the mythical UX doesn't work? Have all the efforts and resources spent on the new version of the website been in vain? What happened?
When good design isn’t enough
UX works if it's done well. However, it's not only the employment of a poor agency (which is quite a common cause of failures during the redesign of websites) that can cause problems with conversion. There are other pitfalls, especially one where even the best pages fall into. This is the most basic thing and is therefore often overlooked: a good content. After all, it's in search of this that the user visits website. His main purpose isn't (sic!) to admire the design, delight in the color of the buttons or the effort put into the new logo. They want information, the article the headline of which tempted them, the description of the product they'll buy, or the service they're interested in. This obvious issue is regularly missed by service owners, who are often in love with their own products.
Content is usually the last issue considered in a service modernization project. Days and weeks are spent on perfecting the path to a content, which is actually created at the end: in a hurry and without the involvement of key stakeholders. So what happens when a user quickly and easily gets to an article that turns out to be a disappointment and doesn't meet his expectations? As in the example given at the beginning: the effort put into the project doesn’t bring any results, the conversion doesn't increase. And what about you? You're finishing the project with a feeling that your hard work is not appreciated and wasted. What can be done to avoid this?
Good content - what exactly is it?
First of all, it's useful. Performs its function, informing the user about what was hinted in the title. How can this be achieved? Just remember some basic principles:
- Write for people. Nothing spoils the brand image as much as clickbait content. Shocking and sensational headlines that direct you to boring articles about something else. Although they attract a lot of traffic to the site, in the long run they bring more losses than profits. They effectively discourages users from returning to the website. They don't fulfill the promise and they fail users’ trust. Also, entries that are tempting to answer a simple question and then artificially prolong the text and pull out information aren't very well received. The same applies to marketing texts that offer nothing but an advertising gibberish. Users are wise. Really! This is a group that is extremely sensitive to falsehood. They know exactly when you have nothing to say, so it's worth limiting the amount of content on a website when you don't have a good idea for it. Writing for SEO is often unavoidable. However, we should remember that it's not Google that uses our websites, but users. Everything is, therefore, a matter of proportion and sensitivity.
- Not only what, but also how. Substantive knowledge doesn't always go hand in hand with the ability to convey it. Even the most interesting content is easy to ruin, using vocabulary or syntax that's too complicated. A difficult language won't make our article official. Even the law can be written in a way that is understandable to everyone, which has been effectively proven for years by Pracownia Prostej Polszczyzny (Polish Plain Language Studio). One should consult principles described on their website often, even if he or she has a light pen. The more self-confidence you have, the easier it's to fall into the trap of the "curse of knowledge". Unfortunately, it's rarely the case that what's obvious to us is also obvious to those outside of our 'bubble'.
- The finished text isn't everything. Although writing texts is a key part of content work, it doesn't stop there. Very often great texts become completely unreadable due to the layout in which they are presented. Lack of division into paragraphs, separated headings, punctuation, these are just some of the main sins concerning the editing of texts. Good presentation of information, facilitating text scanning, can significantly improve the experience of users and make it easier to make decisions, e.g. regarding purchases. Moreover, the way of editing the articles affects the visual aspect of the website and is therefore an element of image building. It's worth taking care of layout consistency and functionality on all sub-pages.
The basic advices described above apply mainly to articles and content understood as a written word. But is this all the content that needs to be taken care of on the website? Graphics, tags, FAQs and more are equally important. Therefore, due to the size of the topic, it's important to start as early as possible. At the stage of creating a service concept at best.