As the owner of your website, your perspective of how effective it is will almost always be different to that of a user / visitor. However, it’s your users / visitors perspective which matters as your website was developed for them, not yourself.
Here are six things you need to be doing in order to make your website more user friendly:
1. Make Your Website Responsive
Responsive is the term given to websites which resize on all devices.
With many sites now attracting 50% or more of their traffic through mobile devices, you cannot stall on this as we are in the first wave of device-driven access … and the percentage will continue to grow.
Responsiveness is a two way thing…
Yes, you need to cater for mobile device access but at the same time not forget that that many people still use and will continue to use notepads and desktops on the Internet, particularly at work. In fact, as of July 2015, most smartphone users still transact online through computers.
The transition from non-responsive to responsive does involve some work but it’s not hard. If you haven’t gone down this path, then it is a good reason to redesign your website and give it a fresh look.
2. Ensure Pages Load Fast
This is an area which many website owners overlook, often because a designer has convinced them that big graphic header and slideshows are needed to get a visitors attention.
Graphics are very important, but they are only useful if they load quickly and unfortunately, they don’t on many websites. If your visitor has to wait forever for them to load, they may must just move on.
As a rule of thumb, a website needs to load in 4 seconds or less as that is deemed the maximum time most visitors will wait before they move on elsewhere. The ideal is less than 2 seconds.
Load speed is determined by many factors, including your design and location. For example, a site hosted in the USA will load faster there than it will in Europe. Select your hosting platform so it caters for where the bulk of your visitors come from.
From a design perspective, always remember that visitors come to your site for a reason and that is NOT because your site looks good, features slide shows, etc. Quality content is what matters so don’t let fancy design issues impact on – or divert – your visitors attention. You only have them for a short while so make it count.
You can test the load speed of every new page you add to your website with free tools such as GTmetrix and Pingdom.
3. Add New Content On A Regular Basis
A static website is fine if your intention is purely to use it as an electronic brochure. However, if you want to engage visitors properly and get them coming back, then you need to add new content on a regular basis.
There are many ways to build content which I have outlined in a previous Blog article – 29 Tips for Building Quality Content.
Yes, creating quality content is the most expensive and time consuming element of a website and so constantly adding new content does require a commitment. However, new content helps build your credibility and so MUST be a priority.
ADD 18 Pages of Extra Content to your site in less than 10 minutes
More Than Templates is a special product we developed for website / Blog owners to give them instant content. This content is delivered in Word format plus via a ready-to-go website which you can add to a sub-domain or sub-directory in less than 10 minutes to give you extra monetization options. Many extra’s accompany this content.
4. Make Your Site Easy To Navigate
There is nothing more frustrating than going to a website which you know features content you want / seek and you cannot locate it.
Your menu’s are the key. Don’t tuck things away. Make everything easy to get to.
On-page navigation (links) are equally important. For emphasis, you can always use an image for these links.
5. Ensure All Your Links Work
A common feature of many inactive websites is that many of their external links no longer work. This can also be a problem with active sites, particularly if your site includes affiliate links. This is not a hard thing to fix.
If you use WordPress, there’s a plugin – Broken Link Checker – which dynamically reports all broken links.
With non-Wordpress sites, you are going to have to go through each of your pages and check links individually. Sure, that may take time but it’s a task which must be done.
6. Build Your Credibility By Delivering Substance
Credibility is to a great extent determined by your content. It needs to be as compelling as possible – i.e. something your visitors are or may be interested in – and NOT be misleading in any way.
A great headline may attract interest, but if there is no substance beyond that, you will lose your visitor/s quickly
If you focus on featuring quality content relating to your business / product and provide as much support material as possible, serious visitors will look further and may end up buying from you.The above are only six of the things which you need to cater for when developing and growing your website. There are more but at least if you get these six right, you will have covered the major ones.