2021 is expected to be a year with new technology forcing us all to focus on the user more than ever. Google has always said UX is the top-ranking factor. I have always said that is pretty vague considering how many individual factors make up UX, but if you have been ignoring the user up until now, you really need to look at UX for 2021.  Google has already told us they are having a “Page Experience Update” in May of 2021.  Many are using this to focus on page speed but that is missing the point to some degree.  Google’s Core Web Vitals measure will now be part of the algorithm, and page speed is definitely a part of it and should always be something you want to improve upon, but for small business owners, this is a chance to step back and think about what kind of experience you are offering your users. From my experience working, talking to, and teaching small business owners, some of the absolute basics are still being missed.  I just wanted to highlight a few below that aren’t necessarily about speed. They are just about making it easier to hire you.

Common Small Business UX Mistakes

  • Click to Call Phone Number: If getting phone calls is a key part of your business, you really need your phone number to be in a click-to-call format on your website. This means that someone can call you simply by tapping on the phone number or call button on your site. The majority of traffic now is mobile.  Don’t make them dial your number. That extra step can be enough to lose them.
  • Easy Form Fills: If you want a form filled out, make it as easy as possible. Also, make it easy on mobile. I have seen many small business sites where it is clear it was set up on desktop and it doesn’t work on mobile or is extremely frustrating to deal with. Walk through your process by filling it out yourself, and measure how many people start a form vs. submitting a form, to get even more information to act on. It is a delicate balance of what to ask for, but make it as frictionless as possible. Make the fields as clear as possible and easy to fill out.  Use a form fill rather than a link that triggers Microsoft Outlook.  So many people don’t use that email client these days and I often see “Email” buttons that trigger an error because they are set up for Outlook. What does your email button do to the user?
  • User Experience (UX)Make it Easy to Find You: What do buyers want to know when considering a purchase? Where is your business and how can it be contacted?  Many people want to see that you do exist somewhere and it is easy to reach out. Offer all of the information on a clear “contact” or “help” type page. Pay attention to your Google My Business questions and contacts. Also, offer why they should trust you. Are you an A+ BBB business? Do you have good reviews? These things are extra info that is helpful or the buying process.
  • Make it Easy to Find Their Solution: Think about what your customers are looking for and need. Approach it from a solution point of view.  It is about them.  Structure your content so people can easily find the answers to their key questions about your individual products tor services. Things like buying process, pricing, and features should be readily available. Don’t just assume they know and don’t just tell them your story. Tell them why you are useful.
  • AI is Great When it is Great: Lots of cheap AI chat features end up being more frustrating for users than just not having them. People love to put these tools on their website and sometimes don’t consider the user experience it offers. Cheap versions that aren’t set up properly often lead users in circles where it is clear they are talking to a robot within a minute or two of engagement. If you are offering a frustrating “chat” that doesn’t help them, you are more likely to actually upset your user and turn them away than you are to convert them. If you are going to do chat or AI, make sure it is actually helpful and a good experience.
  • Of Course Speed: Of course, speed matters too.  By going through the buying process on your site from an outside perspective (even have a friend or loved one test it out), you can get an unbiased view of the experience.  If people are waiting too long for your form page to load, you will lose them.  Factors such as speed are relative to your competition, but they should always be something you consider with your website.