When it comes to websites, appearance is only one part of the puzzle – if your site isn’t user-friendly and doesn’t offer a strong call to action, there is no point having a site at all.
These days, the internet appears to be overtaking the Yellow Pages as the method people prefer for contacting businesses, which just goes to show how vital a business website is. How much longer will it be before phone books are even being printed?
So what determines the user-friendliness or otherwise of a business website? And how do you know if yours meets the criteria? The following qualities are a start.
Layout and structure
Is your site too busy, or too empty? Is the information presented in an easy-to-read format? Does it flow naturally? Is the relevant, current and important information positioned where it’s the first thing a visitor notices? You have about 8-10 seconds to impress a new visitor – you need them to be able to immediately understand what your business is all about.
Slow load times are among the number one turn-offs for website visitors. If you site takes too long to load, potential customers will beat a path to your competitors. Things that affect load time include: large images, animation, videos and dodgy (read – cheap) hosting providers.
Most website content management systems allow for a variety of menus, which means that you can place menus at the bottom, top and even the sides of each page so people don’t have to search for what they are looking for. It’s also important to make the menu easy to understand. So use simple terms such as Contact, About, Services, Blog, rather than trying to be too clever by half.
If a visitor comes to your site and the first thing they see is a blog post from several years ago, they are not likely to stick around. In other words, content is king and needs to be fresh, informative, entertaining and accurate.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your site is user friendly or not is by checking the bounce rate via your analytics tool. If it is higher than around 50 per cent, there is likely a reason people are leaving (unless, for instance, your focus is a blog and people visit to check for new posts).
If you are seeing a higher bounce rate than you would like, and you would like to find out how to make your site more user friendly, then call Direct Sites Online today on 9557 7623 or email email@example.com