When you first start your website, you might think getting users to visit is the difficult part – but the real challenge is getting them to convert from casual visitors to signed-up users, whether you have a community, service or subscription website.
Your onboarding flow is essential to generating active users. If you have a confusing or bad onboarding flow, your users become frustrated before they even get started. Take a hard look at your onboarding process to determine the best areas for improvement. You might spend plenty of time on your landing page and call to action, but it’s all for nothing if they give up once they’re inside the site.
The average person juggles 10 different passwords for online services and devices. Take some of the password burden off your users by incorporating social logins into your onboarding process. Otherwise, you shed users as they forget the username and password for your website. Research shows 92 percent of people will stop using a website instead of recovering a password. Social login uses a unified login API from one or several social network options and can prevent this problem. Assure users you don’t have access to their social network login data to make them more comfortable with the process, and make sure the API you use specifies exactly what profile information it accesses.
Not all social login APIs are created equally. Some content management systems and blogging scripts, such as WordPress, have social login plugins for easy integration. Other social login tools offer statistical analysis and registration information when the user signs up on your site. Be sure to include a standard login for users uncomfortable with tying social network accounts to third-party sites.
Adjust Your Tutorial Process
Do you have a service that requires some training for users to truly grasp the benefits of your website? Some users are happy to sit through a long, extensive tutorial process that walks them through every single feature a website offers. Other users want to go through the site with a combination of tutorials and trial and error. Test multiple tutorial methods and styles to find the one that sticks with users the best. Consider pop-up instructions, video tutorials, introductions through welcome emails, and making your homepage useful for new and old users alike.
If you gate the user from accessing the site completely before finishing the tutorial process, such as Pinterest does, use a progress bar so the user knows how much longer it will take. Users won’t be frustrated sitting through a complex tutorial if they know when they’re almost done. Allow users to skip any steps that aren’t essential to their learning process, such as connecting with friends.
When you make a solid first impression through your onboarding process, you have a user who is well informed about your website, knows how to make the most of it and is likely to provide good feedback through social networks. You want to keep users around who have been through the process, so don’t forget about them after you’ve set up the best onboarding experience possible. Consider reward points, gamification systems or referral bonuses to keep users active and engaged with the site over the long term.
User onboarding is an art as much of a science, especially if your service offers something new, unique and unproven. Don’t be afraid to test your onboarding process extensively to see what works, what requires improvement and what’s just right.
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