I recently went to a WordCamp in Orange County (which was awesome by the way) and had the most frustrating experience with a rental car. Whenever I’m travelling in a new vehicle, the first thing I like to do is connect my iPhone to the audio system and bluetooth system. I’m always surprised at how easy this in some cars and how truly painful it is in others. In this particular car, I had to really hunt for the audio cable and pairing my phone with the bluetooth was unnecessarily difficult. Additionally, simple tasks like running the windshield wipers were way harder than they should have been because the controls were in completely unexpected places.
Had there been another option readily available, I probably would have snatched it up in a heartbeat. It made me think about how if you’re running a membership site (or any other type of website), your visitors and customers will more than likely leave your site if they get confused by what you’re presenting or trying to sell them. It’s critical for you to make things super clear and easy for them, or they will almost always get frustrated, give up, and go to one of your competitors with a simplified layout and process. It also doesn't hurt to use a WordPress membership plugin like MemberPress to help you clean up your members' signup and account management experience.
I’ve seen numerous clients lose tons of members and fail in their online businesses simply because their customers have been beyond confused by their digital homes.
Figure out what it is that you want people to accomplish by visiting your site
Do you want your visitors to sign up for your newsletter? Make a purchase? Comment?
If you don’t know what you want your users to do then it’s impossible for them to know what you want them to do.
Whatever it is, the whole experience is going to flow much more smoothly if you use your layout to guide people through your desired action steps to an ultimate goal. You should always have some kind of goal for each page on your site and a general idea in your mind of the way your visitors will move through those pages and goals.
Don't overwhelm your visitors with options
If your site is covered in 93 big, orange buttons, your visitors are going to have no idea what to do. As human beings, making decisions actually takes physical energy out of us. We only have so much brain power and patience for decision making on a daily basis. Cut the stress out and give your potential customers one less thing to do by simplifying your pages with one or two clear and specific calls to action.
I've found that the more decisions a user is faced with, the less action he/she is likely to take.
Simplify your product offering
It always astounds me just how many people wanting to start a membership site email me to ask me if MemberPress can handle bizarre payment schedules or complex product offerings. “Can MemberPress bill someone $5 initially then $10/month later and then $7 a fortnight after that?” Or, “I have 10 different courses that I want to charge at 4 different levels and put all of these variations on a giant page with 40 unique descriptions and buttons.” Ok, so maybe those are exaggerations. And typically MemberPress will handle whatever setup they're after. But that's not the point.
Before you launch a membership site or any other product, you need to ask yourself how you can simplify it's options and payment terms. If simplifying the billing is not an option (like in the case where you have a lot of products), then you should figure out ways to simplify the user experience so they are presented with the most relevant options.
If you really want to streamline your site and get users to take action then clearing up and simplifying your site may be the most effective thing you could do.