For any website owner with a large website, pinpointing user snagging points can be a nightmare! Even if certain types of pages follow set templates, there can still be errors that are overlooked unless users report the issue they are having (and let’s be honest, most people tend to click away rather than spend time giving feedback to a website owner they’ve never met).

If this sounds like you and you’re having problems drilling down to what exactly is causing things like a high bounce rate or cart abandonment, then here’s our top tips for pinpointing snags on a large website.

Follow the same path as your users

Put yourself in the mindset of a website user, both desktop and mobile. Forget any preconceptions you may have about the website (and we know that can be difficult), start from scratch and work your way to finding a product, add it to your cart, check it out to the end and analyse the process (write down any issues you have as you go). Repeat the process on a mobile device or tablet.

Common findings include:

  • Slow site loading, especially with hi res images, which is frustrating to users and they click away if they can’t see the product
  • Pricing isn’t clear
  • Delivery costs/taxes aren’t added until the end, so the price suddenly changes at checkout
  • Add to Cart option doesn’t work, or is not easily accessible on a mobile device
  • You have to log in to make a purchase and have no guest option.
  • Can only pay by card and no option to pay by another trusted provider, like PayPal
  • Site flags up as “not secure” for Google Chrome users (if not running HTTPS)

Pay for an external user testing service

Don’t just rely on your own opinion or that of friends and family. There are a range of professional user testing services available online to repeat the same process but with a wide range of users who fit different demographics. Whilst you do have to pay for the service, it is well worth it.
Typically, you can set a list of questions and tasks you would like these users to undertake, and some services offer video reviews too so you can see where they are clicking. You can usually reject any review you feel is not helpful.
With this feedback, plus your own journey and thoughts, you can then start to find areas to make changes.

Make one change at a time

Once you have identified what you think are snags that are causing real world users problems, start looking to fix them. however, don’t make all the changes at once. We’d always advise approaching any changes with caution and discussing with your web developers first, for potential impacts on design, layout, framework and also how they may impact if you have what we call organic listings in the bigger search engines (primarily Google).

Start with what you think is the biggest crux point; so in the list above you’d ideally want to fix anything like an “Add to Cart” button not working or not being easy to click on. Once you have this sorted, then something like total costings would need to be looked at, as nobody likes having the price changed at the last minute. If the website is not an ecommerce one, then site speed/loading would be a big problem, as this frustrates users and can impact how you perform in the search engines.

Analyse changes

If you aren’t using an Analytics package then now is the time to start, although we don’t know anyone now not at least using Google’s own Analytics service.

Once you have started to make changes in a live environment you should be able to see improvements on specific pages or areas you had concerns about. Track these pages in whichever analytics package you use to see if their bounce rate or exit rate improves. If they don’t, then you most likely haven’t solved the issue. Time to head back to stage 1 and see what else you can see that could be causing an issue.

Spread the word

Once you’ve made the changes, tell people. Use your social media and email marketing platforms to share new imagery, pricing, delivery fees, structure, new pages…. most people are happier to give their opinion on a platform like Facebook than they are to take the time to write and send an email. It can be a double-edged sword but as long as you are open and approachable on all social platforms that you use, then this should not be a problem.