5 Ways to Create a More User-Friendly Website

February 6, 2018 Caitlin McElwain

There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website that’s a chore to use – either because it’s slow, hard to navigate or difficult to understand. The truth is that a poor user experience will inevitably lead to people abandoning your site, which can lead to unwanted results, particularly if your business is entirely web-based.

According to the Gomez report, 75 per cent of online consumers would rather leave for a competitor’s site than suffer delays. The study also found that 88 per cent of online consumers would never return to a site after a bad experience. This means that you can permanently lose customers due to small technical hiccups.

The good news is that building a user-friendly website doesn’t have to be a difficult task. So, if you think that your site could benefit from a few touchups, consider the following steps.

1. Make your site easier to navigate

When mapping out your website, your first goal should be to make it as easy to use and understand as possible. Here are a few tips to help with that:

Give each page a fitting name: When naming your pages, it’s better to be straightforward than needlessly clever. If it’s a signup page for a particular service, call it as such.

Make your navigation options visible: Regardless of the page your visitor lands on, they should be able to find what they are looking for almost immediately. A navigation bar close to the top should do the trick in most cases. If you have a lot of different pages, consider adding a smaller navigation bar (usually located in the top right). Breadcrumb trails may also prove useful, especially when it comes to helping users understand where they are on the site.

Add a search bar: If your visitors are looking for something on your site, then make it easy for them to find it. This is especially important if your site has a lot of pages and content.

Use call-to-actions: If you want your visitors to get to a specific page, consider adding a call-to-action with text like “Buy Now” or “Learn More.”

2. Optimize your content

When a visitor lands on your homepage, they should have a good idea of what your business does right away. A few benefit filled sentences that summarize your business should work well – and you can provide further details on a separate page. Having additional content with industry-specific terms would establish you as an expert, but don’t bombard your users with jargon they may not understand. Use keyword research to figure out which terms your users are looking for and try to understand their motivation for doing so.

3. Boost the speed

Research shows that a site’s bounce rate increases by 100 per cent when a page takes four seconds or more to load and 150 per cent if a page takes longer than eight seconds to load. However, there are a few ways to speed things up:

Keep your images and other files small: Relying on large images, videos and flash animation files may result in a better-looking site, but it wouldn’t be fast. Consider compressing those files or removing some of them entirely. In the case of images, you can resize them in Photoshop before uploading them to your site.

Redirects are great, but not always: Sometimes pages become outdated and replaced by newer versions, but the links pointing to those pages from external sources may remain the same. Internal redirects help send users to the right pages, but too many of them can result in unnecessary slowdowns. If you have this problem, consider reducing the number of redirects on your site.

4. Limit the restrictions on your visitors

Users shouldn’t struggle when signing up for your services or buying your products. Here are some ways to make your site less painful to use:

Be reachable: Not everyone is great at sifting through long FAQs. List your phone number, email or both and let your customers ask for help directly.

Be clear about site limitations: If you want your users to fill out a form, make sure they understand how to enter specific information in advance. For instance, if you want them to enter their phone numbers without dashes, let them know! The same principle should apply to unavailable user names, shipping restrictions and so on.

5. Go mobile

The mobile market is growing. There are currently over 29 million mobile users in Canada alone. A whopping 80 per cent of visits to websites are made with a mobile device, which means that a good portion of your potential users are bound to discover your site on a smartphone. To ensure that they don’t come across a half-baked version of your site, make your site works well across all devices.

Don’t forget to do some testing!

Once you implement some of the changes, be sure to test them out with actual users. The last thing you want is to cause more harm than good. Let the test users poke holes in your implementations and patch them where necessary.

There are a lot of technical aspects of creating a website, whether you’re looking to build a site from the ground up or improve an existing one, the experts at Yellow Pages can help you navigate.

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