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Ashley Grant4/13/23 2:26 AM8 min read

What is Website Onboarding, and How Does it Work?

No matter what industry you’re in, website onboarding is the key to making more income in your business. Get it right, and you can expect more users to sign on, eventually become paying customers, and boost revenue. Get it wrong, and well, your users could end up going to a competitor instead. The trick with website onboarding is that it involves more than just a design aesthetic and layout - it helps to facilitate user experience, maximize website conversions, and generate leads. In this article we’ll discuss what website onboarding is, the benefits of doing so, and how it works in practice.

What is Website Onboarding?

In a nutshell, website onboarding is a process that helps new users quickly understand the core functionality of a website and how it can be used to benefit their lives. As web pages become increasingly complex, web designers have to consider ways to make their websites more user-friendly for visitors. Onboarding takes into account the experience of first-time visitors by providing them with guided tours, helpful tips, and interactive tutorials to help them learn more about the website’s features and offerings.

Why It’s So Important to Get Website Onboarding Right

As we alluded to earlier, the first impression of a website can make or break a business. The website onboarding process is critical for businesses as it sets the tone for user experience and directly and indirectly impacts customer retention rates. Onboarding websites the right way can be the difference between gaining loyal customers or losing them to your competitors.

For example, research has shown that users are more likely to abandon a website if they encounter difficulties navigating it during their initial visit. A well-designed onboarding process can help reduce this friction by providing users with clear instructions, allowing them to easily find what they're looking for, and helping them understand how to use different features of the site. This not only makes their experience more enjoyable but also increases their likelihood of returning in the future.

A brief overview of how website onboarding works

The first step in website onboarding typically involves creating an account or registering with the site. This is usually done by providing personal information such as name, email address, and password.

Once you have registered with the site, you will be prompted to create a profile page where you can set preferences for things like notifications and alerts.

After completing your profile page setup, you may be given a guided tour of the site's features through pop-ups or tutorials.

At some point, an offer will be made to either purchase or get a free trial. The goal for you as the business owner? Get your visitor to pull out their credit card as fast as possible and become a paid user.

Best Practices for Website Onboarding


We’ve covered what website onboarding is, and why it’s so important. Now let’s get to what you really need to know - the best practices to keep people on your website and successfully onboarded.

The best practices include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Keeping it simple
  • Using clear language
  • Providing guidance
  • Using interactive tutorials
  • Offering contextual help
  • Using feedback loops
  • Keeping it engaging
  • Monitoring user behavior
  • Tracking your KPIs

Keep it simple

The first and foremost best practice for website onboarding is to keep it simple. This means avoiding complex language, jargon, and unnecessary steps that can confuse or overwhelm new users. Instead, focus on creating a clear and concise process that guides users through the key features and benefits of your website.

One effective way to simplify your website onboarding is to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Start with the basics, such as creating an account or signing up for a newsletter, before moving onto more advanced features like customizing settings or making purchases. This helps prevent information overload and ensures that users feel comfortable using your site from day one.

Another important aspect of keeping things simple when it comes to website onboarding is to use visuals wherever possible. This includes using images, videos, or animations to highlight key features or explain complex concepts in an engaging and easy-to-understand way.

Use clear language

Using clear language is essential when it comes to website onboarding. Your users should not be left guessing what you mean or trying to decipher complex text. The best practice number two in website onboarding is that your language should be simple, concise and easy to understand.

By using clear language, you eliminate any confusion and frustration that your users may experience. You want them to feel comfortable navigating through your website and understanding the information provided. Using complicated words or industry jargon can leave users feeling overwhelmed and discouraged from continuing their journey.

It's important to remember that not everyone has the same level of knowledge or experience as you do in a particular field. Therefore, using clear language ensures that all users can navigate through your website with ease. In conclusion, always make sure your message is understood by using simple yet effective language during the website onboarding process.

Provide guidance

Make sure your instructions are crystal clear with the help of visuals and screenshots where needed.

When it comes to onboarding new users, confusion is one of the biggest roadblocks.

As multimillionaire entrepreneur Marie Forleo says, “When you confuse people, you lose people.”

By providing easy-to-understand guidance, you can eliminate any obstacles that might prevent your audience from fully engaging with your site. This means taking the time to create step-by-step instructions and visual aids that will guide them through every aspect of their experience.

Whether you're introducing new features or simply walking users through their first visit, providing clear guidance is essential for success. With attention spans shorter than ever before, it's crucial that you capture the attention of your audience right from the start.

Use interactive tutorials

Interactive tutorials can be used to guide users through various features and functions of a website. These tutorials are designed to be engaging, informative, and easy-to-follow, which makes them an ideal tool for helping users learn how to use a website's features quickly and effortlessly. Interactive tutorials can also offer hands-on experience that helps users retain information better.

Another benefit of using interactive tutorials is their ability to reduce support costs. With fewer support requests from confused or frustrated customers, companies can reduce customer service expenses while creating a more positive user experience overall.

Offer contextual help

The best example of this is if you have a form that needs to be filled out, give examples of how to fill it out. Provide sample answers. For example, for a phone number you might include a hint for formatting (555) 555-1212.

Use feedback loops

Providing feedback lets the user know they are doing the intended actions. For example, “form submitted successfully.”

Keep it engaging

There are a few ways to make your website onboarding engaging. One is to include a status bar so they know how far along they are in the process. This is a gamification technique that can often encourage people to complete their onboarding. Others include using humor, visuals, and encouraging words.

Monitor user behavior

If people are dropping off in the website onboarding process, it’s important to find out where they dropped off. Using software you can track this information, and then head to that point in your process and investigate why people are dropping off.


How to Measure the Success of Your Website Onboarding

While the most common answer to how to measure your success might be revenue, it goes beyond that.

To measure the success of your website onboarding, you need to track specific metrics such as:

  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who leave after visiting only one page on your website. If this number is high, it means that you're not doing enough to engage visitors when they first arrive at your site.
  • Time spent on a page: measures the amount of time visitors spend on a particular page before navigating away from the website. Understanding this metric can help website owners identify which pages are attracting their target audience and which pages need improvement.
  • Conversion rate: The number of visitors compared to the number of sign-ups
    • Another conversion rate could be the number of sign-ups compared to the number of people that transition to paying users.
  • User retention rate: the percentage of users who continue to use a product or service over a specific period. In simpler terms, it measures how many customers stick around after they’ve signed up for your website or app.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Website onboarding is a critical process that helps users quickly understand the core functionality of a website and how it can be used to benefit their lives. It’s important for businesses to get it right because it sets the tone for user experience and directly and indirectly impacts customer retention rates.

A well-designed onboarding process can help reduce friction by providing users with clear instructions, allowing them to easily find what they're looking for, and helping them understand how to use different features of the site. If your business is struggling with website onboarding, Inturact can help. With our proven onboarding solutions for B2B Saas Products, we can help your business experience a dramatic increase in user activation and retention. Click here to talk with us, and learn how we can improve your onboarding process today!



Ashley Grant

Ashley Grant is a content creator currently based in Richmond, Ky. Ashley grew up in Tampa, and attended the University of South Florida. Go Bulls! When she isn’t writing and or hosting her Bloggy Friends Show podcast, she loves trying new foods and beverages, exploring the city she lives in, and traveling as much as possible. In addition to ghostwriting for several small businesses and freelance writing under her own name for a variety of websites, she blogs about her lifestyle, working from home, and much more at FamousAshleyGrant.