Website Onboarding – Key Guidelines and Examples

Do you remember the number of websites you have never visited after only visiting once? 

Personally, I don’t remember them at all because there are too many.

Have you thought about what you should do to prevent users from giving up on your web product before even entirely using it?

Here is a quick answer to this question: 

You should provide the best assistance possible to your users for their needs and expectations.

To be able to do so, you need a well-prepared onboarding process.

In this article, I will share with you some key guidelines and examples to understand which needs and expectations of users you should serve in your website onboarding processes. 

Let’s get started!

What is website onboarding?

what is website onboarding

Website onboarding is the process of helping your users learn what they can do with your product, how they can start using it, and how they can actually find value in it. The onboarding process begins as soon as users land on your website, and it goes on as long as users keep using your product. 

Website onboarding, or any kind of onboarding process, is often thought of as a simple product tour

However, it starts way before the product tour. The product tour is only a part of the onboarding.

The moment people visit your website, your responsibility to attract and help them learn about your product begins.

Website onboarding provides the necessary information and guidance to users who are more likely to engage with your product for the first time.

It should therefore be designed and processed differently than the user onboarding process for a mobile app.

Why is onboarding important for web apps and websites?

The landing page of your website is truly the most crucial part of a user’s journey with your product. 

First impressions are critical in users’ decision to keep using your app or not. 

If you cannot provide enough information and guidance to your users about what your product is, how they can start using it, and how they can find value in it, there is a high chance that users will quit before even entirely using your product.

In this respect, you should know who your users are and how you can provide them with the best user onboarding experience.

In doing so, you will decrease churn, increase retention and engagement. At the end of the day, you will see how a good onboarding experience will be reflected in your revenue. 

How is onboarding for web different than onboarding for mobile?

I have been thinking for a while about how onboarding should be designed and processed for websites and mobile apps. 

Should there be significant differences?

If so, why and to what extent should those differences be made?

To be able to answer these questions, I asked myself the purposes of users in visiting a website/web app and using a mobile app. 

Although there are many people using apps through websites, there is a fundamental difference between the purposes of people visiting websites of an app and people downloading mobile apps.

As I said, it is all related to the purposes of users visiting your website and downloading your mobile app.

  • People who visit your website are more likely to do so to learn about your product. 
  • People who download your app to their mobile devices, on the other hand, are more likely to know something about your product, and this is why they download it.

In comparison to mobile app onboarding, website onboarding should directly present the value users can find when using your product.

You should be able to clearly present a piece of brief information about your product for the users who may know nothing about it. 

  • Taking this into account, your onboarding process on your website should start with an attractive marketing strategy and guidance through the sign-up and downloading process.

Since people downloading your app to their mobile devices are more likely to have an idea about what your product is, instead of focusing on marketing your product, you can focus more on guiding them to teach them how they can use and find value in your product. 

  • Another difference between website onboarding and mobile onboarding is that product adoption can be made much easier thanks to mobile onboarding compared to website onboarding. 

The reason for this is that people are more engaged with their mobile devices, and with the help of push notifications and in-app messages, you can encourage and guide your users to learn about your product better.

For websites, you can send e-mails for the same purpose; however, there is a high chance that it won’t be as effective as sending in-app messages or push notifications.

How to build an onboarding for your website

Although every onboarding process should be unique in its own way, in the sense that it should be designed and processed according to your product and the needs and expectations of your users, there are some must DOs to provide a good onboarding experience.

Let’s talk about the steps to building a successful onboarding for your website.

how to build an onboarding for your website
A welcome message is always one the best ways to start a journey.

#1 Do not bombard users with navigation elements and information on your landing page

This is the golden rule of website onboarding. 

Do not intimidate users, and do not let them get lost on your website. 

You should master the art of providing the most necessary information with a few words, and you should navigate users only to what’s essential for them.

Your landing page’s content should be able to briefly explain what kind of value users can find using your product. 

As I suggested earlier, website onboarding is more about convincing users about the value of your product, so it is a bit of marketing. 

After showing users that they can find value in your product, your goal should be to use call-to-actions perfectly to convince them to use your product. 

#2 Time-to-value 

Let’s be honest; first-time users do not care about every feature of your product. 

What they care about is finding a solution to their problem. 

If you fail to provide a solution/value instantly, users will quickly leave your website, and what you have will only be a high bounce rate.

If yours is a paid product, then offering freemium is an excellent way to delivering value to users and encouraging them to buy your product.

#3 Guide your users

If your users need assistance to use your product, you should definitely use interactive or video guides to help them learn using it.

You should put yourself in their shoes and help solve any problems they may encounter while using your product. 

However, instead of forcing them to use your product, you should give them the option to take a product tour. 

#4 Provide an excellent customer support

You should keep in mind that users will have questions that need to be answered and problems that need to be solved. 

If they cannot find an answer to their questions, you can be sure that this will be a reason for them to quit. 

You should be able to assist users before, during, and after their interaction with your product.

Your help center should be able to answer and solve problems specific to any kind of situation that your user can face when using or before using your product.

If they are not able to solve their problems looking at the knowledge base, then you should be prepared to solve their problems in person.

Your users’ time is one of the most important assets they spend when using your product. This is why you should give the utmost importance to answering their questions and providing solutions to their problems in the most efficient way possible.

#5 Collect Feedback

This is the hardest part of the onboarding process. 

Not every user is so eager to take their time giving feedback to businesses. 

So, it is your duty not to discourage them from giving feedback. 

What you should do is to ask for as little information as possible. 

Do not overwhelm users with too many questions. Instead, you should use efficient feedback methods such as NPS surveys

If you need extra feedback, you let users know that you would appreciate further feedback to provide them with a better experience.

That is to say; you should make users feel that the feedback that you collect will be evaluated carefully and will be used for their own benefit.

Website Onboarding Best Practices

I will share some best website onboarding practices with you to help you better understand what I’ve been trying to explain throughout the whole article.

1- A Perfect Landing Page by Bitly

Bitly’s landing page and product are a thing of wonder. 

bitly landing page example
Simple but effective.

You can see the direct and clear language that they use to explain to users what they can do with their product. 

What’s great about their landing page is that it includes every necessary element but it is still beautifully plain and simple.

They present value right at the beginning of users’ first interaction with their website, and they let users find what they are looking for. 

Without going through any unnecessary processes, users can shorten their links. 

An excellent example of time-to-value. 

Since their product is very easy to use, they don’t have to guide their users through it. However, if users want to learn more about what kind of benefits they can get from using their product, they can simply scroll down and learn that:

bitly value propositon
It’s much better to present this information after giving users the service that they need.

2- A Product Tour Created with UserGuiding for Vieworks

Guiding your users through your product is a crucial step of website onboarding.

Using interactive guides is among the top practices to give a product tour and increase product adoption, therefore retention.

The instructions that you use in your product tour should be as clear as possible.

Here is a good example by Vieworks:

product tour vieworks
One of the best ways to assist your users during onboarding.

You can see that the instructions are clear and straightforward. 

This interactive guide walks users through the product step by step and helps them better comprehend the product by making them take action in the process.

Simple, Affordable, and Powerful User Onboarding Software.

New call-to-action

3- An effective help center on your website

Here is a good example

help center example
Being able to start a conversation for further questions helps much better.

You can see, on the left, that users can almost find any information they need when using the product. 

However, if they need further information, they can get assistance by starting a conversation. 

Automating these processes will make it much more efficient for you to use your resources but if users still cannot solve their problems or find necessary information, then you should be able to assist them in person.

4- An excellent feedback example from Skype

When you make it easier for users to give you feedback, you can be sure that you will get the feedback you need.

This example from Skype will give you an idea about how you can make it easier for users:

Skype feedback example
Instant feedback is the best way

This method of collecting instant feedback after a call is being used by many others such as Google. 

You can see that users can almost find any problem that they may face when using the product. 

If they want to give feedback on anything different they can simply write it down.

As for overall feedback, NPS surveys will give you a much better idea of users’ experience with your product because if they like using your product, it is highly likely that they will suggest your product to their friends or colleagues.

Conclusion

I hope you know have a better understanding of what website onboarding is and giving a reason to users to coming back to your website. 

If you go through these steps successfully, then you will be able to encourage users to come back to your website. 

But don’t forget, you should prepare an onboarding process aligned with your product and your users. You should dig deeper into what’s user onboarding, and here is an article that will broaden your perspective on what user onboarding is.

website onboarding key guidelines and examples

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Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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