Do you want to improve your website?
The answer has to be yes doesn’t it – we are all interested in doing that – I know I am… for my own website and my clients’ websites, I want to improve all the time. So here are a few tips for you – I hope you find them useful.
1. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY
Upgrading to a mobile friendly website is vital if yo want to improve your website – last year there were more users accessing the internet using mobile devices than using desktop or laptop computers combined, so if you view having a mobile friendly web design important then you are catering for all your website visitors, not just half of them.
On top of that it’s quite possible that you will be penalised by Google (and other search engines) for not having a mobile friendly website – in April this year Google updated their search algorithm to BENEFIT websites that are seen as mobile friendly over those that were not.
In case you need more reasons to be convinced of the importance of having a mobile friendly web design for your website, users looking at your website using a mobile device are 40% more likely to LEAVE your website when they first enter it if it is not mobile friendly. Also users looking at your website using a mobile device that find your website difficult to use (and some mobile friendly websites aren’t that ‘user friendly’ even though they are ‘mobile friendly’) are also more likely NOT to recommend to others to use your website.
2. MAKE SURE THERE ARE OBVIOUS CALL TO ACTION (BUTTONS)
All to often a website that is designed with classy graphics, uses great images, has a really interesting navigation bar, even has excellent compelling copy still misses one vital factor – obvious Calls To Action.
Users of your website like to be told (or at least suggested) what to click on to find the information they are looking for, or to perform the action that will bring in a lead or make a sale. It is a really important part of the concept that all web designers should continually refer back to – “Am I making the User think?” and if you are making users think, then “How can I make it easier for the user to do what the website is there for” needs to be considered.
A ‘Call To Action’ is a button or link (or it can even be a title) that literally tells your website visitor what to do. For example the text ‘Click Here To Contact Me’ on a button is much more obvious than just ‘Contact Me’. The first example tells the the user exactly what they need to do to make contact, without question or doubt. Certainly we may assume that a button with just ‘Contact Me’ on it is good enough as it implies by clicking the button that making contact is what you will be lead to do, but why leave even just a slight element of uncertainty in the action?
In a similar vein do make sure all your Call to Action buttons are really visible – that will help potential customers to SEE THEM (without seeing them they aren’t very helpful)! Make sure your buttons are big enough and use a highlight colour to make them stand out.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR NAVIGATION IS EASY TO USE AND CONSISTENT ACROSS ALL PAGE
This is another point that I’d often think is a dead give-away, but all to often I come across a website that one minute shows X, Y & Z navigation items in the main navigation bar, yet when you click on page X only Y & Z are subsequently shown. This makes me, as the user, wonder where the link to page X has gone, and also it changes the visual balance of the page, once again casting an element of doubt in my mind – how will I find my way back?
Another example of when navigation bars change is when excessive colour coding is used. In some cases a navigation bar that uses multiple colours to display different sections of a website can be really helpful, especially when there are sections that have many sub sections and pages within them, but often I see the multiple colour navigation bar design feature used on websites that only have a few pages on the website total.
To improve your website make sure that all your navigation bars are in the same locations across all of your pages, that they are easy to read, consistent in design, font size and type and that they are easy to use.
Making sure that your navigation bars uses clear link terms that are obvious to your website visitors is also vital and if you have multiple pages within sections consider using a drop down navigation menu, so users don’t have to click more than once to find or return to a page.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR IMAGES ARE RESIZED AND OPTIMISED SO THEY LOAD QUICKLY
Making sure your website has resized and optimised images is important for both image load speed (which is especially important for users accessing your web page on a non-wireless broadband data connection) and your Search Engine Optimisation efforts (as page download speed has a direct influence on your web pages search ranking).
An image that is downloaded straight off your camera or mobile phone is usually thousands of pixels in height and width and often of a high resolution. Resizing the image down to a sensible size (often an image needn’t be more than 600 pixels wide) and then optimising it for viewing on a website (saving it for the web) for your website can massively reduce the size – and so that reduces the amount of time your page takes to download – dramatically.
While we’re on the subject of images, don’t forget to keep to a consistent naming convention when you are saving and uploading your image – for instance ‘resized-and-optimised-image.jpg’ is much better for SEO than ‘DC00234089.jpg’. Oh – and do make sure you add alt tags too!
5. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS UPDATED OFTEN TO REMAIN FRESH
Keeping your website updated and so the content is fresh makes it much more interesting for users who return to view your products and services. Once your website visitors return and see new, interesting information they are more likely to return to your website again and engage with you or share it with their social network.
Adding regular content which can help gain social shares and bring new people into the website will also help to improve your search rankings – and the more exposure you get, the more potential business you get. What’s not to love about that?! When you are adding new content be sure to do your keyword research first too – making sure that your new webpage, article, or blog post is relevant to what your target audience is searching for will pay dividends in the long run (and sometimes the short dash!).
There’s 5 top tips for your website then – if you follow these then you will improve your website. I do have many more that I’ve considered adding to this list, but that might make for another blog post sometime – if you’d like to find out what they are then I’d love to hear from you – CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ME!
I wonder if your website ticks my 5 boxes? I’d love you to comment and tell me.