1. Conduct analysis of your top 5 competitors.
You're already looking to your competitors to see how you can enhance your products and services to more effectively attract your targeted audience, and you should be doing the same thing with your website design.
Who are your top 5 competitors? Make a point to visit each of their websites to critique what you like best about the user experience and what you would change. As a best practice, create a spreadsheet so that you can conduct this analysis in the same way that you approach each of these websites.
2. Conduct analysis of your own website.
Before you get started with making tweaks to your own website design, it only makes sense that you would analyze your current analytics.
Some of the best analytics to look for in regards to the user experience on your website include the bounce rate, time on page, and page loading time. Some other areas to look at that may show room for improvement include the conversion rate of your pages and the most frequently visited pages.
3. Conduct task analysis.
When people take the time to visit your website, they typically have a goal in mind, whether it be to gather information or to request a quote. With this in mind, write down every potential goal that someone could have when visiting your website.
Now take a look at your website and see how easy you're making it for visitors to accomplish those goals. Are you requiring that they make 10 clicks before they can ask your business a question? If so, most people won't want to jump through these hoops. If someone wants to find your contact information, are you making it extremely visible?
If you discover that some of these goals would take visitors too long to successfully complete, some enhancements need to be made. By making these tweaks, you'll be much more effective with converting visitors.
4. Test how intuitive your website navigation is.
A website with good navigation should direct the user from point A to point B without confusion. As a best practice, consider doing a few card sorting tests using notecards. To conduct this test, jot down several different types of website content onto the cards and have a few people sort the cards based on which categories they think the content best relates to. You may find that these tests show a very different navigation path than the way that you would structure it on your website.
5. Watch a user navigate through your website.
One of the best ways that see how well your website performs with users is to actually watch someone navigate through your website.
You can conduct this test in person or remotely. All you'll need is a screen capture tool and a microphone. Put together a list of the set of tasks that you'll want the users to complete and see how quickly and easily they are able to move through these tasks. If they look confused at any point, that may be a sign that some changes need to be made.
Be sure to conduct these 5 tests before finalizing any new website design!