Like most of us who spend our “work lives” in the world of sales and marketing, improving user experience (UX) is something that is always at the forefront of my thoughts. Creating an experience that is not only authentic to your brand, but also engaging to your user, is crucial. Organizations that are successful at providing these types of experiences tend to see an increase in site traffic that is also accompanied by increased conversions, and a greater likelihood for multiple return engagements from users.
There are an endless number of factors that go into creating what we call the “user experience”. Most organizations use user stories, user feedback, and focus groups in order to develop a holistic picture of who their clients are, what is important to them, and why. However, understanding who your user is and what they like is just the start of creating a great UX. Finding your user, connecting with them, and delivering a positive UX are the real challenges.
Poor performing websites are a major contributing factor in a poor UX. Users have little patience for an underperforming site. Issues such as slow page speeds and long times to render lead to increased bounce rates and decreased conversions. In fact, a report from Kissmetrics found that a one-second delay in page response can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions.
Sluggish, underperforming sites create a poor UX before your user has even had the opportunity to explore your content and offerings. You may have the best product on the market, but your users will never stay around long enough to find out. Making the right decisions regarding the architecture and components of your tech stack will ensure that your site performance actually enhances your UX.
Migrating to a decoupled architecture that includes a Static Site Generator (SSG) is the newest, easiest way to put an end to a poorly performing site. Unlike a traditional web application stack that waits to generate the content until a page is requested by the user, a static site generator builds everything in advance. There are a number of fantastic SSGs out there including Jekyll, Hugo, Ghost, and Gatsby.
Gatsby has been the SSG of choice for developers at Novvum, a LA based software firm. Gatsby uses server-side rendering to dynamically generate all pages as static HTML files. Page content is compiled, and stored, ahead of time on a Content Delivery Network making it instantly available to Googlebot and other search engine crawlers and, most importantly, instantly viewable to users.
A countless number of studies have been done to look at how site performance/page speed impacts user experience. These studies consistently show bounce rates that increase exponentially with load times that are over two seconds. And nearly 75% of users say that site speed/performance has impacted their decisions when deciding to purchase from an ecommerce retailer.
Great Tech Helps Great Marketing Teams Create Great Content
There is no doubt that a great performing website is a major piece to a positive UX, but there also has to be substance behind the speed. SSGs, like Gatsby, are designed and built so that development and content creation are easy enough for your marketing team to manage. Not only does this cut down on time and resource utilization, it also means that marketing teams no longer need to rely on developers to fit marketing tasks into their workflow.
Marketing teams can be far more responsive to industry changes, user expectations, and internal goals. Content can be easily created and published with a customized, targeted, and branded look and feel that truly represents your business. And digital experiences that increase visitor engagement are sure to lead to an overall increase in UX.
SEO-Optimized Sites Help Connect Users To Experiences
The last key to cracking the code is this: Your website is fast. Your marketing team has populated it with engaging content for your users. But in order for your user to have a great UX they have to actually be able to discover your site. In order to accomplish this, SSGs like Gatsby are fully optimized for SEO.
A fully SEO-optimized website will rank higher in organic searches and will appear closer to the top of your audience’s search results. This will increase the odds that your marketing team’s content gets in front of the right audience.
Two other factors that drive SEO are how your website presents content to search engine crawlers and how it performs. We already know that migrating to a decoupled architecture with a SSG will result in a highly performant site. Content can also be tagged with metadata which makes these pages far more easily discoverable by search engine crawlers.
Now you have achieved the UX trifecta: a fast, performant site with relevant, branded, and engaging content, that is easily discoverable by your user. Migrating to a decoupled architecture that includes a Static Site Generator (SSG) gives your development and marketing teams more tools to engage your users and provide great experiences. It also gives you the capability to optimize your site for SEO, making it easier to connect your user with the great experiences that your teams work hard to achieve.
Andy Zimmer is the Director of Client Services for Novvum, a full-stack software design and development studio. Andy came to the tech world by way of the sales and marketing world, and found a home at Novvum based on a shared obsession with solving creative problems. In his free time he can usually be found wherever live music is playing, or living and dying with the success of his alma mater’s football team (the University of Michigan Wolverines)- Go Blue!