StayOnSearch

Your Website SEO Checkup: Part 3 of 8 – Website Usability

Mark Thompson June 26, 2008

When we talk about website usability we talk about the overall experience you give the user. That includes the overall design, navigation, content layout, calls to actions, accessibility and functionality of your site. I want to give you some tips on each of these points that will help your users stay on your site longer, stay engaged, absorb more content, and improve your conversions.

Design

Overall, you want to have a clean, clear, and consistent design. You don’t want to have a website that looks cluttered and unorganized. For someone visiting your site for the first time, they want to understand what you do within the first 5 seconds. Make sure the design will highlight what you do in an obvious way.

Create a consistent format for how each page will be laid out. If your contact us button is in the top right, keep it there throughout the site. It can be frustrating for a user who has to keep trying to search for what they are looking for because it keeps jumping from place to place.

Use a color scheme that flows nicely. Do not mix colors that will clash and look harsh to the eye.

Navigation

Create a navigation that will group your products or services in an organized way. If you are selling Bicycles, do not just have a main tab for Bikes. You may want to have a category for mountain bikes, racing bikes, kids bikes, etc… You may also want to have separate categories for each brand name that you carry. This way a user can easy find what they are looking for without having to search through a huge list of bikes. A rule of thumb is to make every page on your site be no more than two clicks away.

Breadcrumb trails are great ways of providing a way to get back to previously viewed pages on your site.

Functionality

You want to make sure that everything on your site is in good working condition. Take the time to check your site for broken links, 404 errors, browser incompatibility, links that lead to the wrong page, broken images, etc… Try and reduce the size of your images and videos so that it cuts down on load time.

Content Layout

People consume content on the web in small pieces. Do not take a bunch of content and just throw it up on a page. It can be very overwhelming for a user if they have to keep scrolling and scrolling on a page. Organize that content into small categories/pages so that it is easier to find what you are looking for. Keep all of your pages consistent with the same look, feel, and format. It will make it much easier to consume content on your site if the user knows what to look for.

  • Use bullet points
  • Use bolded titles
  • Break up the page with images, videos, buttons, icons
  • Use italics to make something stand out
  • Stick to one topic per page
  • Use easy to read font

Calls To Action

Make it painfully obvious what you want the user to do. If you are selling bicycles have a call to action that is predominant on the page that tells them to “Call Today” or “Order Online and Receive Free Shipping”. If you have nicely designed call to action buttons that stand out, your users will be more inclined to click on those and lead to a sale.

<<Part 2: Keyword Research                                       Part 4: Content Optimization >>

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