19/04/2024

Wearable

The Best Wearable Gadgets

How YOU Can Improve Your Web Site

How YOU Can Improve Your Web Site

Introduction

So much of the Internet is filled with websites that have been thrown together and posted because someone thought they needed a site. It’s as if they went to a seminar and were making sure they checked it off their list.

I agree, you do need a website. But, what you really need a “good” website; one that conveys your the benefits of your business to you customers and prospects. Notice, that I did not say you need a fancy site or some graphically enhanced masterpiece. A good website is one that accomplishes good usability and the business goal set for it.

Business goals for my web site?

Yes, your website is a business tool, not an art project. Make sure you think about what you want your site to accomplish first and foremost.

An effective website is harder work than you might think and usually there are no quick fixes but this list should provide you with a few ways to make some improvements right away, without necessarily starting over from scratch.

As a business tool, you should always invest as much into your website as you do any other aspect of your business. Your website should be one of your primary marketing tools. If your website is not “up to snuff”, you will be losing the opportunity to convey to your prospects what you have to offer and they will move on.

Stop losing those sales!

Usability

Usability matters. There is one simple rule on the Internet: If people can’t use your site, they won’t.

Navigation

Ensure that your navigation is easy to use and consistent. You may be able to use it, but could a newcomer find the information they desire? Remember, most visitors to your website are there for the first time.

Contextual Links

Remember those “Click here” links everyone used to use? They are a throwback to the days when people had no idea how to use a web page. Today everyone knows you can click on hyper links, so having some actual relevant text as the link is far better.

Besides the user experience the search engines use this as an indicator of relevant search terms for its index.

Change “Click here” links to something like “Learn more about motorcycle safety” or “Download the 10 things Guide”.

There are some exceptions to this rule, such as after some content box with an abstract in it, a small “Read More” link might be appropriate.

Title & Alt Attributes

These are elements that are a part of the web page code you don’t directly see. They show up when you hover over them or if there is an issue loading an image. If you’ve heard the term “Tool Tip”, you probably know what these are. See below image to see how they display in a web browser. Use them to clearly indicate what the link is all about. E.g.: “Learn more about organic plastics” If you haven”t used any at all, then a quick fix will be to start adding them to navigation and other elements on every page.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the practice of preparing your website to be ready for both search engine indexing and users. If you don’t keep your users in mind, they won’t be able to use your site which can eventually lower it’s ranking. Remember, if you don’t make sure your site can be indexed properly, no one will find it.

Title Tag (Page title tag)

The title tag is not seen by your users on the page itself, if displays in the web browsers title bar.

Add consistent, relevant but different titles (title tag) to every page in your site. Check that they are short and describe the content of the page and make sure you have your keywords listed.

Linking

Internal links (from one page to another on your site from within your site’s content) are as important as external links. Besides the usability gain, you get to use your keywords within the link text and anchor tag which helps with the site indexing.

External links (links to other websites) is also a good idea. Be sure that you link to relevant sites and information otherwise you might be look at like a link farmer (trying to scam the search engines). If you have a site about Dogs, your external links might be to a site about pet food ingredients, or custom dog tags, etc.

Strengthen Keywords/Phrases

Highlight some keywords and phrases by adding a “” tag (which makes the text bold) around them. This shouldn’t be overused but can provide some positive results.

Header Tags

Use the H1 and H2 header tags to get your keywords noticed. The H1 tag is the most important – try using some keywords in there. Use only one H1 per page. The web code looks something like this:


  [h1]Organic Dog Collars[/h1]

Don’t Go Nuts 

It is very important that you don’t go overboard and try to jam-pack every tip listed here into every piece of text on your site. The search engine companies look down on this and assume you are trying to trick them. They may blacklist you and remove your site from the index altogether.

Design/Development

Images

The use of images is very important, but be sure to make sure they are correctly optimized for the web. If you don’t it will take a long time for your page to display (render) and if this take more than a couple seconds, many users just hit the back button. There are lots of software you can use to compress your photos appropriately. Something around 85% (compressed 15%) is a good place to start.

Contrast/Text-size

Ensure that contrast levels and text sizes are thought out. While there aren’t really any “rules”, you will find the proper balance to be one of those pleasing things that you don’t really notice. Try looking for this on some websites and see if you can find some good and bad examples.

Consistency

There’s nothing worse than a website that doesn’t function consistently. A user can find it hard enough to learn how a website is put together without having to remember that you don’t use the Home link or Contact Us the same in all places. Be sure that you make your site easy for people. That means you should try and be, at least to some extent, just like every other website out there. Beyond that, make sure your pages all act the same way.

A really good example of something to avoid is having a main menu (the main site navigation) that changes per page (some pages have more items than others). Make sure you main menu stays the same, but feel free to add a sub menu or contextual links.

Testing

Make sure you go through your site to confirm everything works, especially after any major changes. Another fun thing to do is have someone else find something on your site while you watch (no helping now). If they can’t find it, it’s not built properly.

Don’t take you site personally, it’s a business tool, treat it just like you would treat a merchandising display or add you’re putting in the paper. Short of perfect is unacceptable.

Content

You site’s content is it’s reason for existing. It’s why people come to your site. Make sure it is clear why it’s there and get it to them in as little time as possible.

Text and White Space

Make sure you give enough room around your content so that it is well separated and easy to follow visually. Here is a practical example. Can you see how the after version is easier to read and has the keywords highlighted and linked?

Before:

Widgets. We have been in business for a long time and we have found that when you try to do the right thing, people learn to trust you. With that in mind, our widgets are made from high quality materials and only to the best in class manufacturing processes. If you need a good widget, please consider our widgets. We would love to talk to you about your widget needs.

We’re honest, hard working and just the place to get all your widget supplies.  We’re also a GREAT value. Don’t miss out on the best widget deals in town. If you are someone who needs widget and widget accessories, look no further. We have contracts too for widget tuning and cleaning services to make sure your blingo tolerances don’t exceed .3

We love widgets!

After:

Widgets. Our widgets are all designed to make your life easier. We deliver widgets that are:

  • Made from supertanium,
  • Never have defects, guaranteed!
  • Our widgets are easy to use.

Widget Service. We are also have a full service widget shop

  • 24/7 Widget service
  • Tune-ups keep your widget running great
  • Yearly widget servicing contracts save you money.

 

Write for your audience

Always remember, your site is not for you, it’s for your users. You may be excited about what you do and what you offer or your history, etc, but be sure that your content is properly prepared for the web audience. Only put content that is going to enhance the experience for your visitors. You want them to buy from you, so throw out everything else.

Here are a few things you need to make sure you do:

  1. Bulleted lists. Separate anything resembling a list into a list.  
  2. Less is more. People don’t really like reading on a computer screen so be very very concise. Don’t take your content personally.
  3. Highlight it. It’s important to bold words and phrases as needed to draw the appropriate attention to them. This is especially true for any contextual headers.
  4. Contextual links. As mentioned earlier, be sure to link to relevant information from within your content. Use key words and phrases as links to find more information that way as your user is reading, he or she can jump to that area of interest right away. 

Guide Your Users

If someone is on your site reading about something in particular then it is fair to assume that they were interested in that information. Try pointing them somewhere related, whether it be another article/area on your site, a related product or service or even off-site resources. By doing this you are showing that you care about their interests and not just about making a sale.

Why and What For

When writing content sure that you only put up information that you know why the information is there and what it’s for (from the user’s perspective). Don’t just throw text up about the history of the banking system because you find it fascinating.

Be very clear and concise. If you have an article about financial security, be sure you are making the purpose of that information obvious and tell your users what to do about it.

If they are looking at the information, they must be interested in their future, so be sure to let them know if they should “fill out this form” or “call us today for a free consultation” or whatever.

Wrapping Up

So, we’ve given you a lot to think about. That can be good and bad. Don’t get overwhelmed by everything you’ve just read. Take it one idea at a time and work your way through your site. Consistency is key; it is better to have everything look and functional the same way even if it’s not ideal than to have one or two pages be perfect and yet the rest of the site is still a mess.