Do you make it easy for your new website visitors to learn about you and your offerings? An important element of learning how to optimize your website is to be sure that your site is easy to use. In this post you’ll learn some tips and strategies about ‘ease of use’ that you can use on your own site to make it as user friendly as possible.
If your website isn’t easy to use, those new visitors that you have worked so hard to attract will click away as fast as they came. To get those visitors to stay and learn more about you, you have to make it super simple for them to find the information they are looking for.
In the sales world they have a saying, “A confused customer doesn’t buy.” Translated into the world of online marketing that same saying means “A confused website visitor doesn’t stay, they click away.” Your job is to eliminate any possible confusion your visitor might have when they show up on your site so that they do stay on your site and they do learn more about you and what you do.
Takeaway: A confused website visitor doesn’t stay, they click away.
In a previous post in this How to Optimize Your Website series, you learned that the first step in optimizing any site is to give your website a purpose. Once you are clear on your site’s purpose and what results you want your website to produce, then it is time for you to look at the individual elements of your site.
Make it Easy to Get Around
So how can you make it easy for your visitors to use your site? A great place to start is with your site’s navigation. By having clear, well laid out navigation links your visitor can easily find the information they are looking for.
Here are some tips about navigation links and how make them easy for your visitors to use.
- Use clear, easy to understand menu choices. Try to avoid vague wording or unusual phrasing in your menu items and links.
- Make sure your important links are easy to find.
- Speaking of important pages… Don’t make visitors struggle to find your contact page.
- Don’t have too many links on your page or menu. How many links is too many?I can’t tell you for certain, that depends on your site and the type of information you are trying to present, but I can tell you that I’ve been on sites that have an overwhelming number of links and multiple menus and dozens of different places on the page all screaming ‘click here’!
Don’t let your website be confusing.
Use categories or consider drop down menus to group similar information together. People expect similar things to be grouped together. When you go to a restaurant you don’t look for the fried whole belly clams, (one of my favorites!), in the steak section of the menu, you look for it in the seafood section.
Make it Easy on the Eyes
The layout and design of your site are big factors in the overall ease of use of your site too. You want your site to look good, as well as being functional and easy to use. While much of your website design and layout comes down to your personal choices, I do have some general guidelines for you to keep in mind.
- Avoid large blocks of text on a page. Nothing shouts ‘boring’ like an endless page full of text.
- Use headings and sub-headings to define different sections of a page.
- Use pictures and graphics to add some eye-catching elements.
- Bullets and numbered lists are great ways to break up lots of text.
Use block quotes or call outs to highlight information.
This is how a block quote looks in the theme I’m using.
Through the Eyes of a Stranger
When optimizing your site for ease of use, you have to think like your visitor would think. That visitor either clicked a link to get to your site or they typed your website address directly into their browser. In either case, they came to your site because they had in interest in something specific.
What happens when that visitor arrives on your site? They make a really quick decision. In less than 15 seconds the majority of your visitors decide whether to stay on your page and explore more deeply, or whether to hit their back button and click away from your site.
Try to look at your website as if you were a new visitor landing on your website for the very first time. Does your site look welcoming and inviting? Is it laid out in a logical manner? Is it easy get around to the different sections of your site? The easier you make it for people to find the information they are looking for, the more likely they will be to want to stick around and learn more about you.