In the modern digital world not having a website will ultimately lead you towards a dead end. Having a website that is not user-friendly will lead you down the same path so take a look at some of the ways that dedicating some time can result in you having a more user-friendly website.
Not having a user-friendly website negatively impacts results
Having a user-friendly website may sound simple but not having crucial elements will result in weak online statistics. Making your website more user-friendly is an activity that aims to negate the effects of delivering a poor user experience. When your visitors find your website they do not want to wait for it to load, search for information, receive unnecessary or unrelated push messages or find it difficult to navigate. If your visitors experience any of the above then you will no doubt be losing potential customers. If users do not get what they want and expect from your website they will merely return to their search and look for a competitor’s site that can give them what they want – rendering your website useless as a lead generating tool.
Steps to take to have a user-friendly website
Having a user-friendly website has many benefits and many elements that need to be optimised to experience those benefits. Some of the benefits attached to a user-friendly website are higher visitor retention numbers, lower bounce rates, increased conversation rates, and more shares/referrals. Making your website more user-friendly should begin at the design phase of your website so that user-experience can be built in from the offset and improved on and maintained as your website grows. However, if this was not done on your website, don’t feel despondent as it can be rectified.
Effective website navigation
The navigation of your website provides your visitors with routes to content they are after and move from page to page. Navigation is a major part of having a user-friendly website. There are a number of elements involved in having an effective navigation structure:
- Primary navigation – your primary navigation is your main navigation point and needs to be clear, logically structured and accessible. Not allowing people to access all the critical information from this point will result in people looking elsewhere to find the information they require.
- Secondary navigation – a secondary navigation is a great tool to provide users with additional information such as your contact details, sitemap, social media information and non-critical pages. This is an optional navigation solution to websites with large amounts of information.
- Breadcrumbs – breadcrumbs on pages give visitors a sense of direction and another layer of navigation in that they can return to the previous page by following breadcrumb links.
- Search functions – it is always a good idea to include a search box or search functionality on all your pages so that visitors can easily search for any information they may be looking for.
- Hyperlinks – hyperlinking certain keywords within the content of your pages is highly recommended. Not only does this allow visitors to navigate to pages with additional related information, it also has Search Engine Optimisation benefits by enhancing your linking profile and adding structure to your SEO content.
- Sitemap – an HTML sitemap of your website is a great way for visitors to easily access your entire website structure with linked content.
- Understandable wording – make sure that all forms of navigation are understandable and resonate with your target audience. Try not to use abbreviations or acronyms that visitors may not understand.
Make sure content optimisation is at the forefront of enhancing your website user-experience
The content that makes up your website is what gets your website found, lures visitors to your website, and keeps them browsing and potentially converting them into purchasing your product or solution. To ensure you have a user-friendly website you need to make sure your content is having the required impact, is relevant to your target audience, up-to-date and allows for interaction. In addition to search engine optimised content there are some elements that need to be taken into account to have a user-friendly website:
- Content structure – allow visitors to easily scan your content by having smaller paragraphs, bullet points and strong, relevant and clear headers. Make sure that your content follows a logical header structure (H1-H6).
- White space – de clutter your content and give your readers some ‘space’ by incorporating white space. This makes them feel less overwhelmed by lots of content, which encourages them to continue reading.
- Legible fonts – use fonts that are easy to read and relate to. You do not want your readers squinting to try and read your content.
- Broken content links – make sure you regularly check that internal and external links are full functional and do not lead to broken pages. This can be frustrating and will impact negatively on your readers’ website user-experience.
Have a mobile version or responsive website design
More and more people are starting to search for information on mobile devices. Having a website that does not meet mobile requirements will significantly hinder your efforts in having a user-friendly website and will more often than not result in visitors leaving your website. You can overcome this by either having a dedicated mobile website or incorporating responsive design into your website structure. Responsive design is a clever way to have a single website that automatically adjusts according to the screen dimensions of the device a visitor is accessing your website from. This is highly recommended and is something that will enhance your overall website user-experience, resulting in you producing a user-friendly website.
A user-friendly website needs to have speed
Whether a visitor is accessing your website from a mobile device or PC, to have a user-friendly website you need to be able to deliver all the information they are after in lightning fast speed. People no longer wait for web pages to load as it has become the norm to get data almost instantly. There are a number of areas to be taken into account to increase your page speed.
- Optimised images – to improve page speed as a means to create a user-friendly website you need to make sure that all your images are optimised for speed by not being too big or in the wrong format.
- Reduce server response times – make sure that your server is running at optimal levels to not bring down the load speed of your pages. Constantly monitor this to ensure consistency.
- Browser caching – each time you click on a website or web page the elements that make up that page need to be loaded or downloaded. With caching all the elements are stored on your hard drive in a cache (temporary storage) so that when you visit this page or website again your browser doesn’t need to download all the elements again.
- Avoid re-directs – re-directs increase server requests which slow down the load speed of your pages. Make sure that re-directs are kept to a minimum.
Savvy Sprout are experts at producing website designs that adhere to search engine guidelines and principles. Having your website designed by Savvy Sprout will give you a user-friendly website to be proud of. Along with professional and efficient website design, Savvy Sprout also caters for your graphic design, branding, seo and social media marketing needs.