When was the last time you made a step-by-step analysis of what the experience on your blog is like for your customers? Not just a cursory run-through, but a cache-cleared, cookie-deleted, new-email-address wielding, fresh visit with a pen and paper by your side? It might be advisable to use a friend’s computer on a slower network in an unfamiliar environment, like a coffee shop or library. In fact, if you don’t have a friend’s computer to borrow, you can generally use one at the library. Here are a few of the key components to check.
Overall First Impression
When you first arrive on your blog, how does it look? How quickly does it load? What is the first impression that you get? You can become accustomed to how the blog looks on your own computer and smartphone and never really think about the fact that your average customer might not have the hardware and internet speed that you have.
Next, ask yourself, “What is this blog about?” Obviously, this isn’t going to give you the same level of feedback as a UX study will, but it’s a start. If you really want to take this up a level, borrow a person who has never been on your website and watch them interact with it. Take it further by doing that with several people.
Sometimes you’ve just got to click around. Is that a song lyric? If not, maybe it should be. As with the first step, you’re checking for responsiveness and page load times. If your website performs sluggishly on a slower connection, you’ve got a project to tackle. But that’s okay – at least you know about it now, and you’re going to do something about it.
What do the various pages look like on this different computer screen? This is important, as well. Does your blog design hold up?
Use Every Sign-Up Form and Contact Form
For this exercise, it’s helpful to create a throwaway email account or two. Sign up for every offer your website has, and fill out the contact form. Observe the flow of the experience on your blog itself, and then in your email. This could be confirmation emails, drip campaigns, and so on. This one may take a little time, especially in the case of drip campaigns. Continue to monitor them.
Are you using an SMS marketing platform? This would be a great time to go through that process, although if you’re using a computer in a public library, you may want to mute your phone to avoid getting shushed by the librarians.
Assemble Your Notes
The time to type up your notes into a cohesive list of potential issues with your website and marketing flow is right away. Do it right there at the library, while the experience is fresh in your mind. Don’t hold back; you can brainstorm. Be detailed and be emotional about it. You’ll set these notes aside once you’re done and return to them with a fresh perspective in a few days.
Make a Game Plan
A few days after you’ve assembled your notes and set them aside, revisit them. Your notes will probably be wordy and opinionated. From this brain dump, you’ll want to glean the root issues and compile a plan of attack. Is page load time an issue? How can you work to improve this? Some initial steps might be to check your hosting server’s speed and to examine methods to optimize how quickly your website loads. This might be as simple as a WordPress plugin or as complex as re-optimizing all of the images on your website.
Once you have an actionable list, you’re ready to begin making improvements. Once you’ve worked your way through the list, you should repeat the process. Go back to the library, get onto one of the computers, and see if the changes you’ve made have made a difference.