10 Ways to Fix it up in a Hurry
Embarrassed to share your website? Don’t fret! Embarrassment is a step in the right direction if you want to make sure your site is truly useful for your brand. Blissful unawareness might be easier on your nerves, but if you don’t realize your site has issues, you won’t even know how much business you are missing out on. Concern about your website means you care about your brand and that you can take positive steps to make your site responsive, user-friendly, and appealing to visitors.
How can you tell if your site needs help?
If your site hasn’t been updated in years, was created on outdated software, or the employee that created it moved on and no one took over, you likely need a little help. If your visitor data shows that users are not sticking around, something about your site could be driving them away. Some things, like circa 2005 graphics, flash players, and navigation that goes nowhere, are easy to spot, but other issues may be more subtle. Reviewing each of the points below and taking the steps to correct any errors or issues you find, can improve your site and enhance your user experience.
10 Ways to Improve your Website and Visitor Experience
Can a visitor figure out where to find the information they need? If your navigation bar is an overwhelming, confusing mess, it will prevent your visitors from finding what they need. Reduce confusion by keeping the number of main options on your navigation bar to a minimum. Drop down menus can help you improve navigation without adding clutter. If you have more than five options on your navigation bar, it might be time to tidy things up a bit.
The order that items appear on your navigation bar is worth reviewing as well. Ranking pages in order of importance from left to right can help optimize the user experience. If you are not sure what should come first on your bar, think about the steps you want a visitor to take, and which pages you want them to visit first and rearrange them as needed.
Optimize for Social Media
You probably have a social media marketing strategy in place, but if you are not making it easy for visitors to find, like, and follow you on social media, you’re missing out. Make sure your follow buttons lead to the right place and are easy to spot on every page of your website. Buttons that are really just images or that go to the user’s own social media pages will dilute the impact your site has on your social media following.
Your site might look great when viewed on a desktop or laptop computer, but how does it perform on a mobile device or tablet? If your site is not responsive and optimized for mobile, it will be frustrating for your visitors to use and difficult for them to find anything. According to PEW research, 68 percent of adults have and actively use a smartphone or device. Your site needs to be accessible to these visitors to be effective.
Dump the Clutter
How clean is your website? If there are huge walls of text, pop-ups, flashy GIFs, or blinking lights, you’re overdoing it. A clean, uncluttered design allows your visitors to actually learn more about what you have to offer. If your site was designed more than five years ago, there are probably some elements that you could get rid of for a cleaner, fresher design.
Eliminate or Reduce Flash
Adobe Flash Player may be easy to use on your side of your site, but it does not perform well on mobile browsers and even on some desktop browsers. Dumping or greatly reducing the amount of Flash used on your site can help ensure that your visitors actually see your video content and that they don’t get frustrating error messages. You don’t have to give up video, you can still link or embed content from sites like YouTube, but the frustration caused by flash makes it unsuitable for most business website applications.
Add Calls to Action to your Content
How do you want your visitor to navigate your site and what actions do you want them to take? If you don’t know, they don’t either. You’re probably already using calls to action in your content, but your website pages need them as well. The right calls to action can enhance your website in a variety of ways, from making the experience more interactive to helping them browse your site in a logical way.
Dead ends, or pages that don’t have a call to action or a link to click, are wasted opportunities. The bottom of your “About” page, your “Portfolio”, and similar pages all need a call to action asking the reader to take another step. Don’t leave an interested prospect hanging. Make sure that after they have taken the time to read about your business that you give them someplace to go next.
Above the Fold Placement
The most important part of your website is the spot “above the fold” or that is viewable before scrolling down. Information placed here gets the most attention from users, so what you place here is critical. Take a look at your landing and home page and see just how much your prospects can see when they visit you for the first time. If this space isn’t optimized, make changing things up here a priority.
Create a Roundup
Visitors arriving at your site are coming for specific information. By creating a single button that links to all of the blog articles and pieces about that topic allows them to find what they need quickly. Place a clickable image in your sidebar that leads to your most popular and useful posts on a subject and your visitor will be able to find everything they need in one place.
Use Landing Pages
Whether you have a new offer or multiple sales funnels, unique landing pages can help you direct traffic and ensure arriving prospects see the right information when they visit your site. A landing page for each potential group ensures that you make the most of your inbound efforts and that your prospects are directed to the correct funnel.
Boost your Page Speed
How quickly does your site load? Even a small delay can drive away visitors. Even worse than a delay is a true dead end. Too many 404 error pages annoys visitors and can cause them to leave your site entirely. Your site’s Google Webmaster tools can help you check for crawl errors and delays. You can also set up a 404 page with a sense of humor and a link back to your site, just in case.
Checking for and eliminating common errors and incorporating some of these enhancements into your site allows you to truly show off your brand to its best advantage and to make the most of your website investment.