How confident are you about your website?
Are people booking through it?
Is it easy to navigate the booking page for a first-time user of your website?
Have you ever tried user testing on your website?
Studies show that you only get 3 seconds to impress someone on your site or they will go elsewhere. Let me reiterate: 3 SECONDS! In that amount of time, you need to:
- Be clear and concise.
- State what you’re all about
- Display a visible BOOK NOW & CONTACT US button
I’m assuming the majority of you reading this have had your website designed for you, and I’m sure you trust your web designer. But ask yourself this: does your website get the job done? Are you getting bookings through it? You can’t test it, because you already know where everything is. If your friend or family member tests it, they won’t want to hurt your feelings if there is something wrong. So you’ll likely receive the standard feedback of “yeah, it’s good!”
I had a website I thought was great. I had a few friends test it out and I got back the “yeah, it’s good!” standard response. So I took their word as gospel that my website was the bee’s knees.
However, that friendly feedback was not aligning with my website’s results. When I checked my stats, I noticed people were visiting my website and then leaving straight away. They weren’t even sticking around for 3 seconds! (Check out my post on how to reduce high bounce rate of your website.)
That’s when I knew something was wrong. I immediately reached out for help and was pointed in the direction of User Testing.
User Testing’s idea
User Testing hires random Joe Bloggs to test your website. Simple! I was skeptical at first, but I put my website, www.boostly.co.uk, up on User Testing to give it a go. Now, this is the best bit. The person testing your website records everything on their computer screen and comments on every step of the way. You provide the tester with tasks to complete and questions to answer, for example, “How easy is it to find the Book Now button?” or, “Can you please book a two-night stay in April in one of our double rooms?”
The tester then completes (or tries to complete) the tasks while recording their thought process and all comments, including how easy or hard it is for them to do what is asked. This provides you with some amazing insight because the tester can recreate the experience of a potential guest navigating their way through your website.
Here is a video 0f a user testing:
USE THE INSIGHT and fix what needs to be fixed on your website. Make it easy for your users. THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE YOUR DIRECT BOOKINGS.
The OTAs do this all the time. They test, test, and test some more. Of course, they also have the budget to do it all the time. But that’s why they are successful. Until now, this sort of thing wasn’t available to us small business owners. But now that is it, take advantage of it!
For a one-time fee of £35, it’s one of the best investments I can think of.
NOTE: I know this sounds like an advertisement and that I’ll be receiving commissions for this kind of promo, but this is my honest and untethered opinion on User Testing. I want to share this fantastic tool that I found to be so helpful for my own websites, which in turn makes me and my clients happy!