By now most people have been using the internet long enough that they are at least familiar with tropes like menu bars, navigation buttons, hyperlinks, and other directional tools. Even if you’re not particularly savvy when it comes to web design, you can at least understand the consumer perspective when visiting websites because you are a consumer yourself.
In truth, you probably know more about common usability issues than you suspect. Still, this doesn’t mean you know how to solve them when it comes to your own business website. Here are just a few things you should know about improving your site’s usability.
1. Choose a Reliable Web Host
This is more crucial than you can imagine. Making your website accessible is extremely important. According to Kissmetrics, you only have about 8 seconds (or less) to convince visitors to stay on your landing page once they find you.
What if they can’t access your site because your web host has unscheduled downtime? What if your site is suffering from excessive load times because of an issue on your web host’s end? Once casual users leave your site, the chances they will return are almost nonexistent.
In other words, you have a very slim window in which to impress visitors to your site, and if it doesn’t load up pretty quickly (or at all), then you’ve lost your shot at gaining new customers. Comparison shopping is essential to finding a suitable web host, and you should look for one that offers guarantees, as well as scalable solutions.
2. Know Your Audience
Usability is about making your website attractive, functional, and user friendly so that anyone visiting can find their way around. Of course, you also have to cater to your audience.
For example, an older, less computer savvy audience may need more prominent cues (buttons, headings, etc.) to find their way around, whereas younger visitors might expect to encounter a different setup. Your design should target your main demographic.
3. Focus on Layout and Design
Usability is about more than just ease of navigation. It also includes the ways in which your site is visually accessible to users.
Bulky blocks of text or a cluttered appearance are likely to be unappealing, confusing, or even repellent to most users. When you opt for a streamlined appearance, plenty of graphics, and a simple, clearly-defined style guide for your website, it’s bound to be a lot more attractive.
4. Conduct A/B Testing
How can you tell which version of a particular web page your audience will have the best response to? Easy – go right to the source.
A/B testing allows you to gain valuable insights into user response to your pages through tracking and analytics that tell you how long visitors stayed on a page, whether they proceeded to other pages on your site, if they ultimately made a purchase, if they shared links, and even whether or not they returned later on, just for example.
This valuable data can help you to tweak your website, improve usability, and increase opportunities for conversions.
Most users can look at a website and tell right away if the design is modern or outdated. You obviously want yours to fall into the former category.
When users see an outdated site, they may think of your business as out-of-touch and seek services from a competitor that is more cognizant of modern sensibilities. You don’t necessarily have to redesign your website annually, but you should revisit it every few years.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Google Research shows that more than 70% of consumers want mobile-friendly sites. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be losing out on a significant number of prospective customers.
7. Hire Help
Not everyone can be a master web designer or an SEO expert. Most business owners have other concerns. However, business websites are quickly becoming the first interaction consumers have with a brand, so you need yours to make a good first impression.
Spending a ton of money on web design, usability, and SEO services may not seem ideal, but the truth is that you’re going to fall behind if you don’t have a professional, accessible website to represent your brand in the virtual world. So create a budget, comparison shop, and find the experts you need to ensure that your website is not only easy to find, but easy to use.