Let’s talk about appealing web presence. There are a lot of factors to consider when determining if a site is “user friendly”, and I’m going to give you some tips to make sure yours makes a good impression.
Here are some of the top must-haves for a good web page:
1. Layout and design
This is extremely important as it is the first thing a visitor will see. If your layout is scattered, or pages are hard to find, they will be running to the red x. In this case, less is more. I am a firm believer in simple clean layouts - I mean it works for Google, right?
Make sure your pages are seen and easy to access. Make sure your design is aesthetically pleasing, and that is easier than it sounds.
This brings me to the next point.
2. Good, easy to read content
Not only is accessibility important, but the content that the visitor is reading is a direct reflection on your brand. Users are generally on a website for a very specific reason, and if they have landed on yours, then you need to make sure they know that they are in the right place. It is important to immediately list who you are and what you do.
It’s okay to have detailed pages to navigate to, but always make sure your homepage illustrates the services that you provide. Don’t lose a good lead due to bad content, that’s just embarrassing.
Speaking of good leads, a lot of people search for services on the go which means…
3. Be mobile compatible
More than ever, consumers are using mobile devices to browse the web. You can even order groceries for pickup using your phone. It is absolutely essential that your website is mobile friendly - if you want added success.
If you aren’t sure how your site appears to mobile users, it’s an easy investigation. If searching for your site via mobile device isn’t enough, Google actually offers tools to do it for you. A good developer and design team can assist in making sure that your website is mobile compatible, but there are also some third party providers that you can rely on after your initial site build, if mobile wasn’t included. Basically… just make sure it happens.
4. Have ways to be contacted
If someone is on your site, and can’t find an answer to their questions, do you want them to leave? The answer is no, obviously. It is important to have multiple ways to reach some sort of customer service. I personally like a number, chat, and email option, but I guess that is being demanding.
5. Browser compatibility
A lot of times, as we are editing or designing sites, our team will compare screen grabs and the site looks totally different on each one. This is a top priority and it gets fixed ASAP. I really don’t understand why this happens, but it must be combated nonetheless.
Mostly, it has to do with sizes, layout, background images, etc. It is just important to make sure that your site looks the same no matter who is looking at it and no matter which browser they choose to do so with. These issues are easy to fix, but sometimes tedious. ALWAYS check each popular browser before deploying.
I’m impatient, and I don’t care to admit it. I would say most people have a short attention span. If I land on a website and I get the spinning wheel, I will give it a chance. If every page has slow loading speed, I am probably going to move on. It’s easy to tell if it’s a webpage causing the issues, so it’s always better to troubleshoot this ahead of time. Once again, there are a lot of free tools you can use to test your speeds. A good free one to try is: wpengine.com - and they will even provide issues & fixes for your slow page.
Good speed and function is a result of a good hosting service, too. This is something that may not even cross your mind as you are building your brand and your website, but it is so important. The hosting provider you choose can make or break your impression. Pick wisely, and do your research. There is no reason to risk security or your site breaking every time there is an update. You’ll thank me later for this one.
I mean this goes without explanation, right? Especially for e-commerce sites - online shopping - anything that requires customer information. Nothing will ruin a reputation faster than a compromised system. PLEASE make sure all backend security options are locked tight.
9. Be Transparent - and bug free
There are going to be errors. No one is perfect - no website is perfect. I always appreciate when a site provides on-screen error descriptions so that I know where I (or the page) has gone wrong. It opens up the trust door with your visitor, and makes them more likely to stick around or retry the action. This also requires the developer to stay in tune with these errors and provide fixes. We want a robust site, right?
An important thing to remember is always check the status of your webpage, and fix issues fast. Many development companies that offer these services, are avialable to help round the clock. For example, CakeDC offers project management services (see here), which allows client to rely on us for development services long term on the existing projects.
10. Be ever changing
It is important for a business, entrepreneur or developer to adapt. This is especially true for long lasting websites. Say a page has been around for 15 years - things have changed - new features are available… keep up with the times. It is a competitive market that one must always stay in front of. Don’t be afraid of change.
Now go… go out there and make your website great again.