This is the question that every website-owner should be asking themselves.
Whether you have a corporate website, e-commerce website or even a personal blog, these different types of websites all have one common goal: engagement.
Websites are created with the purpose to encourage visitors to interact – be this to browse your product catalogue, to make a purchase, read an article or to complete a quote form.
These website actions all share a common goal: to encourage user engagement on the website.
While there are many factors that define a good website, the main factor that can influence your visitor engagement and total conversions is whether or not the website is functional.
Which begs the question – is your website user-friendly?
- Well-Structured Content
There is more to website content than well-written product descriptions, great call-to-actions and keyword richness. Website usability can be greatly improved by paying close attention to how the content is structured and presented on the website.
Modern websites are packed with information, and while it is good to provide the user with as much information as possible, overloading the website with information can have a negative impact on the website usability.
When planning your website content be sure to write and structure it with the user’s intent at heart. This means that page titles, categories, sub-categories and menus should all make sense and help the user to navigate the website without any guesswork.
At the same time, be sure not to overcrowd the top menu or include too many specific categories. There is an intricate balance between convenient and cumbersome – play around to find what works best for your users.
- Mobile Compatibility
More and more users are starting to use their mobile phones and tablets to browse the Internet. As a result, it is a necessity for your website to be mobile-friendly, i.e.: responsive.
When your website is responsive, the website will automatically respond to the size of the device’s screen to redisplay the pages, content and images in a format that is appropriate for the size of the display.
Ensuring that you website is mobile-friendly will not only allow for more mobile leads but also improve your Google ranking. Websites that are responsive are ranked higher on the search results page increasing the likelihood that a searcher will click on your website.
- Website Load Times
The amount of time it takes for your website or webpages to load can make or break your website. The longer it takes for your website to load, the less likely it is that the user will wait to interact with your website.
In fact, slow load times are one of the main reasons why visitors will leave a website which negatively impacts your bounce rate.
By ensuring that your website is able to load in 4 – 6 seconds, not only will you decrease your bounce rate but also encourage visitors to stay on your website for longer which, in turn, increases potential leads.
Three of the easiest ways to improve website load times is to check your server’s speed, optimise images and evaluate the third party plug-ins that are used on the website. These factors all impact the load time of your website.
- Recognisable Links & Calls-to-Action
One of the easiest ways to encourage users to navigate to other areas of your website are through links and CTAs but, in order for this to be effective, these design elements need to be prominent and draw the user to click on them.
When using links it is important to ensure that the visitor can tell where the link will take them with the use of descriptive anchor text. At the same time, the link text should be in a different colour, bolded or underlined so that it looks clickable to the user.
Recognisable links will help the visitor to navigate the website to areas that are most applicable to their current search. For example, if the user wants to buy a keyboard a good recognisable link would be to a mouse.
BUT if you are going to use links, it is crucial to ensure that the URLs are correct. If a visitor clicks on your link and it leads to an error page you risk losing the visitor altogether.
Similarly, your CTAs should be equally as recognisable either in the form of a button, a sidebar or even a banner. The more prominent your CTAs are, the more likely the visitor will be to engage with it.
- Functional Forms
One of the easiest ways to interact with your online-customer base is through the use of online forms including newsletter subscriptions, membership payments or even simple contact forms.
Nevertheless, your form should be conveniently located, functional and easy-to-use in order to encourage users to complete and submit. To ensure your forms are as usable as possible, ensure that all questions are quick to answer and are in a logical sequence.
The easier your forms are to use, the greater the chance of converting leads.
In conclusion, the better your website usability is the more time visitors will spend engaging with your products and content which, ultimately, results in more leads.
According to recent research conducted by HubSpot.com, 76% of website users ranked website usability as the most important web design factor. With this in mind, it is important to evaluate your website analytics to determine the exact functionality areas to improve on.
Need help improving the usability of your website? Contact the web development team at Online Innovations for assistance.