7 Ways to Improve Your Website
Many businesses want to include everything plus the kitchen sink on their website. Flashy graphics and animation are tempting, but don’t use them unless they have purpose and meaning. In order for users to have a good experience and retain what your website is about, you need to keep things simple and streamlined. It should not only look good, but also have valuable content, clear navigation, calls-to-action, and a hierarchy of information that’s displayed in digestible sections of content.
These recommendations as well as the 9 that follow can attract and sustain visitors, improving your chances of long-term success on AND off the web. Several of the most important things to include in your website design:
1. Good Content
While imagery, photos, graphics and color, all lend a crucial hand in directing viewers through your website, having quality content on your site is key. People are looking for original, quality content, not a copy or imitation of something else. For example, let’s say you are a farm or wholesale vegetable distributor. Think about what product makes your farm stand out from the rest. Your farm business might have the shiniest and most delicious apples in the country. So even if a more successful competitor is selling oranges at twice the price and pace, don’t change your forte from apples to oranges.
Don’t start promoting oranges just because it’s working for your competitor. Be true to who you are, and let your best shine through. Invest in good and appealing imagery in those apples. Highlight the best and most attractive parts of those apples. Develop content that establishes you as the authority on apples. If you’re the apple master, write about apples, why they are good for you, how delicious they are, how they help the environment, and so on. Invest in researching facts, statistics and interesting things about how apples have played a part in the history and evolution of the human species.
2. Organized Content
Once you’ve got great content, now you have to organize it in a way that makes sense. And sometimes knowing what content to leave out, is just as important as knowing what to keep in. Give your content an outline, and organize it according to relevancy, category, flow and search-ability. Make your website navigation clear and consistent. Include a site map and a search field. Users don’t want to have to click through multiple levels of navigation to finally arrive at the page they need to be on.
3. Keep it Up to Date
As a rule of thumb, your website should be updated at least every month (if not more). Even for static brochure sites, it’s important for users to know that the information is up to date, and that their inquiry on the “contact us” page will be acknowledged in a timely manner.
4. Mobile Compatibility
Making sure your website visitors have a good mobile experience grows more important every day.
In 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was served to mobile phones, up from 50.3% in 2017
Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing on a mobile device, and 40% of those people will visit a competitor’s site instead.
In addition, Augustash.com tells us:
Of all the factors looked at by Google when deciding how to rank your website on search engines, mobile usability is ranked as the third most important of all the factors. Google made an even bigger shift to mobile in November 2016 when it declared that it would crawl the mobile version of websites before the desktop version. Furthermore, Google is going to take its ranking signals from the mobile version of your website, not the desktop version. This could affect your rankings in Google.
To test your site’s mobile-friendliness, test it on Google’s mobile tool:
Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool
5. Predictable Functionality and Flow
Predictable elements of a web site’s functionality and flow doesn’t result in a boring website experience. On the contrary, predictable elements and functionality take the guess-work out for users, because they are used to finding certain functionality in common places across the web.
For example, most users find a “search” field at the top right side area of a site. Phone numbers and contact information are either shown, or accessible in this spot too. Navigation is almost always at the top, and users just know that the “hamburger icon” is a way to expand a list of navigation items.
6. Readability and Legibility
What’s the difference between readability and legibility?
Readability is how easy it is to read sections, phrases, blocks of copy, a web page or an article.
Legibility is the ability to distinguish one letter from another in a particular typeface.
Both readability and legibility are extremely important in a website and guiding users through the overall web site experience. People don’t read website pages, they scan them and skip over a lot of the details. But when they do find what they are looking for in the hierarchy of information, the details should not be a strain to read through.
7. Limit Steps and Requirements
If you have a sign-up process, or a rather specific order process on your website, showing your users what they are getting into “before” they sign up is crucial. People don’t usually want to submit information until they understand what they are getting. You also give them a much wider window of opportunity to abandon the process if there are a lot of steps involved. So keep the path as short as possible.