Membership Tips

12 June 2017 Tricia

User journeys - how to get people to your key pages

What is a user journey?

A user journey is the navigational path that you expect your target audience will follow around your website to find what they are looking for. This journey can be influenced by using subtle design and content features which direct visitors around your website. It’s hugely important to look at user journeys to help decide on website architecture and key messages, and as such they’re usually established very early on in a project.

Why are they so important?

A user journey defines your users' motivation; why are they arriving at your website and what are they looking for? There are two aspects that you need to think about when considering user journeys;

  • What does the visitor want to achieve when they visit your website and how do we make this process as painless as possible?
  • What actions or messages do you want your visitor to see or do when they visit your website?

Sometimes the answers to these questions will be the same, sometimes different, for example;

  • Your user is looking for new job opportunities in their sector
  • You want them to also check out your professional training courses

How do you begin to define user journeys?

In the instance above, ensure that it’s obvious how to find the job section via the main navigation and include calls-to-action from any page within your website; remember that not everyone will arrive at your website via your home page.

Think about what a successful outcome of a visit to your job section looks like; is it for a visitor to apply for a job, share with a colleague or download information, for example? It’s important that any other messages/actions you want to promote do not interfere with the user's key mission.

How can you introduce your motive to this user? In our example the user is looking for a job and is therefore thinking about their career; whereas you want them to check out the training. So rather than simply sign-posing “training courses” you could phrase a call-to-action to appeal to their state of mind e.g. “Elevate your career with the xyz professional certificate”.

At Senior we work with our clients to define who their target audience and their users are and understand their motivations using personas. More detailed personas - with personality, pain points and a photo - help to bring the audience to life. This detail in turn helps the team to visualise who these core users are and makes it easier to shape decisions.

Key pages Vs popular pages

You should know what your key pages are – these are the areas of your website that you want users to visit. However, your key pages may not be the most visited. A smart move is to ensure that you use your popular pages to drive users to your key pages.

To establish what your most popular pages are, tools like Google Analytics are invaluable. For example, through experience working with membership organisations, we know jobs pages are usually one of the 3 most popular pages. Remember that your popular pages may vary from time to time as other influences shape what users are looking for; for example a hot topic or a key industry event. You could set up a popular content report in Analytics that is automatically sent to you on a regular basis to help you monitor these. This way you can be opportunistic and ride the wave of popularity when it occurs.

How do you know if its working?

Set KPIs for visitors to your key pages or actions associated with your key pages. Once you have covered the basics, then you can consider a more sophisticated approach to help work out what changes you can make to your website to influence user journeys. Seemingly subjective choices about web design can be made objective using split testing - there are a number of web based packages available to help you test subtle design changes and see how this affects user behaviours.

What do you think? If you have any more hints or tips that you’d like to share, or any feedback on this article then please feel free to comment below or get in touch; we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Read our previous article: 10 tips to increase readership of your key publications

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