5 tips for a great web site
On the web, your competitors are not just the other companies in your industry. With millions of websites out there, how will you get the users attention? First they have to find your website, then they need to stay engaged to the content and finally you must make them revisit and maybe share.
The following tips will help you improve your website:
1. Easy navigation by visitors
It’s all about the user’s experience. Do you want visitors to wonder around through your web site, clicking here and there and not finding what they’re looking for? I don’t think so. Every time I have this experience when I visit a website I just leave and never come back.
How to improve your website’s navigation system:
- Create a well structured menu bar.
The menu bar should be on the header of the website in horizontal form. Also the menu items shouldn’t be more than eight. Too many menus makes it hard for visitors to find important information.
The order of the menu items is also important. Items that are first and last get the most attention. I usually start with ‘about’ and end with ‘contact’.
- Use the logo as a link.
By clicking on your company’s logo, the visitor should be able to return to the home page. That’s a rule.
- Use minimum drop down menus.
When they are not treated correctly, drop down menus are confusing and annoying. A drop down menu should include a small list of items so that the visitor will not skip important pages. Also the design of the drop down menu is important. For example there should be contrast between text and background and enough spacing between text links.
- Use search box.
The purpose of the search box is to help the user have quick access to products or services with a single click.
It should be placed on the top of a web page to be easily located.
- Attention to footer.
You should include all the important links in the footer such as the logo, the menu without sub menus, social media icons and contact info.
2. Create easy to read content
I agree with Jakob Nielsen saying that users scan text and pick out keywords, sentences and paragraphs of interest while skipping over those parts of the text they care less about. The reason people scan instead of read is that reading from computer screens is tiring for the eyes and about 25 percent slower than reading from paper.
How to improve your website’s readability:
- Use san-serif fonts.
San-serifs have less line width variation than serif fonts and they are more easy to read on computer screens.
- Keep short paragraphs.
Try to read long paragraphs. It’s really painful.
- Use sub headings.
They work well with SEO and help you give attention to important parts of an article.
- Create bullet lists.
Bullet lists look different than the rest of the text, which makes them easy to scan.
- Highlight important content.
Highlights are used to guide the readers attention to important words or sentences. The best method to highlight a word is to make it bold. Don’t use underline because people will think it’s a link.
- Use internal and external links.
Links connect the pages and allow users to go to new and exciting pages on the web.
3. Make sure people can find you
What’s the point of even having a web site if people can’t find you through search engines? Let’s say you have an online cloth shop and you want people to find you through google. They will search for keywords like “women clothes ” or “men fashion” and your web site need to show in the first places in google.
How to optimize your website:
- Choose keywords carefully.
Ask your self, what words would people use in google to search for my website? Include these words in your content. But do it naturally. Don’t just throw keywords into sentences.
- Make sure the page loads quickly.
Research shows that 40% of visitors abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This is bad for SEO ranking because your website looses traffic. Google speed tool is a free tool that analyzes your page and makes suggestions for speed improvement.
- Use external and internal links.
External links are very important because Google relies on them to determine how good a post is. Be careful, link to pages relative to your content.
Internal links help google understand the relationship between pages and their value.
- Be active on social media.
It’s not a coincidence that websites with high rank in google have strong social media activity. Social media help you get your website’s content indexed faster. For example if you write a Facebook post and gets shared by many people, it will end up getting in the search engines faster.
- Blog is a must.
A blog is the best way to drive people to your website and give them a reason to keep coming. Make sure you write interesting and relevant content.
- Optimize your images.
Keep your images file size small so your page loads fast. Also give relevant names to images. For example “logo collection 2018” is better than “logos”.
- Update your web site regularly.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
4. Appearance matters
According to research, It takes only one tenth of a second for us to make up our minds about people. The same goes for websites.
How to make your website more attractive:
Choosing the right color palette for your website is essential to communicate your message. I usually select my palette based on the brand. For example if the website’s logo is red and black, I won’t use green in the website.
- White space.
A lot of design elements make the visitors experience unpleasant. Simplicity always wins over complexity.
- Use your own photos.
Many people use stock images in their web sites. No matter how professional a stock photo is, it’s still someone else’s concept. Also a stock photo can be seen in many websites whereas a custom photo shows the visitor something original.
Everything should match from one page to the other. Heading sizes, fonts, button styles, spacing and graphics should follow one common pattern.
- Attractive Call to Action.
Call to Action is a button that enables the user to take a specific action in a website. The actual words used for the buttons need to be clear so the user knows what to do next. Good examples of CTA are ‘SIGN UP NOW’ or ”TALK TO US”.
5. Stay mobile-friendly
These days mobile devices is the most popular way for people to access the internet. So you need to make sure visitors will have a positive experience when visiting your website through their smartphones.
Find out if your web page is mobile-friendly. If it’s not then follow these steps:
- Use responsive design.
Responsive website means the web page is able to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.
- Use high-resolution images.
High-resolution screens have a higher pixel density therefore they require images with more pixels. Blurry images make your website look unprofessional and cheap.
- Use YouTube videos.
YouTube uses a responsive embed code which makes the videos in your website mobile friendly.
- Include viewport meta tag.
The viewport is the user’s visible area of a web page. The viewport meta tag gives the browser instructions on how to control the page’s dimensions and scaling.
- Keep testing.
When your website site is completed, you should test it on iPhone, android and tablets.