The Website User Journey Map Pt 1 – Why You Can’t do Without it
July 21st 2022 | By Emma Grant
The user journey is made up of all the steps a user takes to reach their ultimate goal. This could be learning something, downloading something, making an enquiry, or making a purchase.
User journey mapping is all about understanding the experience of your website, from the point of view of the visitor. It’s a map of the path they take through your site, from where they land, through menus and links, to where they find what they’re looking for.
What’s the importance of working out the website user journey?
Creating a user journey map is a crucial exercise when you’re planning a website. It helps you work out how you’ll get your web visitors from your home or landing pages to the information they need, or the action they want to take.
The best-refined websites will all have been through a user journey mapping exercise. Here’s why they’re so important.
Improves user experience
A user journey map helps you enhance the experience of your website visitors. It’s tricky to work out for yourself whether users will actually be able to find what they’re looking for on your website, because you already know where it is.
It’s like giving driving directions to your house. Easy for you, because you know where it is. Not so easy for the out-of-town visiting relative who has no idea about the roundabouts you forgot to mention, or the missing street sign.
With some user research, and by visually mapping results, you get to see which parts of your website design are flawed and confusing or frustrating visitors. This process also shows you the areas that are working, and can be replicated elsewhere.
Keeps your website tidy as it evolves
The importance of working out the website user journey cannot be over-emphasised when it comes to making your site clearer and easier to navigate. As your website grows over time, with new content and features added, you can refer to your user journey map to make sure the flow of the site is still intact and working for visitors.
You can also create user journey maps to test new website designs before you get started on the build, avoiding the need for costly updates down the line when you realise something’s not working.
Helps shape content marketing for SEO
Let’s start this one with an example.
If someone is in the market for a new washing machine, they’ll very rarely go to the home page of an appliance store, click on washing machines, choose one and hit the buy now button straight off. That would just be too easy.
They’re more likely to do an internet search to compare brands and models. Or maybe they’ll search for machines with specific features, such as quick wash, high spin, drying function, timers or free installation. They’ll then find themselves somewhere on a website that sells washing machines, where they’ll be looking for information to help them make their choice. And that information will vary depending on the stage of their search they’re at.
Now, that ‘somewhere’ on a website will rarely be the home page. And this is precisely why you need to consider multiple user journeys, and think about how you can make sure users can find their to where they need to be on your website to learn, choose and take action, wherever they happen to land when they enter from the search results.
With a user journey map, you can see the route your visitors take towards their goals, and place the right SEO optimised content that answers questions and converts at all the points where they land and/or navigate to.
When a user journey map can make a difference
The user journey map can be put to work in different ways depending on what you want to get out of it.
Whilst you’ll see a similar end result for each map, the focus of each will differ.
A user journey map can, for example, be used to see how your website is working now, in its current state. This is a great way to identify opportunities for improvement, and understand how your website is being used.
User journey mapping can also be used to see how a future form of your site will look. This hypothetical journey is helpful when you’re planning a redesign, or significant update.
You can also go down the persona-based route of user journey mapping, using your map to optimise for specific customer types, or improving your existing experience for users with particular needs.
The user journey map… where to next?
Now you know the benefits that website user journey mapping can deliver, you’re probably keen to know how to do a user journey map. And that’s something you’ll find here on the blog next month.
Meantime, if you’re looking for an SEO partner with a proven track record of success that can help your business achieve its goals for growth, we welcome you to get in touch with the Figment team.