Is your website a party or a snoozefest?

Guest Post by Natalie Rose, NOVA Web Group

A website is a great place to tell the story of your business, share information, and engage with your audience. Look at your website from the visitor’s perspective – does it provide an interesting and engaging experience or is it boring?

There are a lot of places to get information online. People gravitate to the places that provide what they are looking for as well as a pleasant experience. That can be your website or someplace else. Don’t give your competitors an edge by ignoring your user experience.

Website Design Considerations

What’s the first impression when someone arrives at your site? It is visually interesting? Does it draw them in to see more? A great visual design attracts attention without providing visual overload. It draws visitors into the site to experience more.

User Focused Content

Does your content provide the information that users want? Too often, we get caught up in telling people what we want to say and ignore what they want.

Make sure your content speaks to the needs and interests of your target audience, using words they use. No one is interested in figuring out your corporate speak!

Don’t ignore questions and information that you know are on people’s minds. If you don’t address common concerns, people will find the information elsewhere (and you will have no control over that message!)

Allow Visitors to Connect

Does your website let people connect with you? This can be a contact form, an email address and/or a phone number. It can also be links to your social media sites if you offer expanded content there and actively engage with people who post and comment.

Great sites also let people sign up to receive more information on an ongoing basis. Also popular for customer-service oriented sites is a chat feature that invites visitors to connect in real time.

The best way to connect depends on your business and your audience. The good news is that there are many great options.

Amp Up Engagement

Take a fresh look at your website with the goal of engaging your target audience. Evaluate your website from the visitor’s perspective. Make sure it measures up to the experience you offer online as well as to what competitors offer.

Is Your Digital Home Base Worthy?

Your website is your digital home base. It is THE most important component of your digital marketing strategy. You need to make it great. Common website mistakes can take away from the effectiveness of your site.

Get the most out of your online presence by avoiding these common website problems.

Cluttered Home Page

Some home pages are stuffed with too much content. Visitors don’t know where to look. They don’t want to figure out the jumble.

Keep your homepage clean. Make every word count, and make sure they tell people who you are and why they want to learn more. Avoid adding unnecessary content or images.

Navigation is important too. Most people see this for the first time on the home page. Make sure the labels are easy to understand. Keep to no more than 7 major navigation options.

Complex Content

Make sure your website is easy to read and understand. Stick to a style sheet to limit the number of fonts and styles and create consistency from page to page.  Pages that look different can confuse visitors.

To help visitors scan and find what they want:

  • Use subheads with keywords
  • Keep words simple
  • Keep sentences short
  • Break up text into many short paragraphs

Unusable on the Small Screen

Most website designs are responsive, technically. Pay attention to the actual user experience on mobile devices.

The other day I was trying to research places to shop for a specific item. I did a google search and got several options. To narrow, I tried to visit the websites. I say “try” because none of the 5 sites was easy to navigate on my phone. I gave up!

Truly responsive websites adapt to the device type that the visitor uses. Keep your writing straightforward and make sure buttons and menus are large enough to click on smaller screens.

Your Website Has Problems

If your website is like most, it has one or more of these common issues. There’s nothing more frustrating than a poorly designed website – they are hard for users, and worse, they work against your efforts to market online.

Avoid these common website problems:

  • Cluttered home page
  • Poor navigation
  • Hard to read
  • Out-of-date design

Your website should help you grow a following and retain customers. Here’s what you need to know.

Make Your Home Page Awesome

Many home pages are stuffed with too much content that leave visitors at a loss to discover what you are all about and what you can do for them.  Keep your home page focused. Tell people why they want to navigate deeper into your website.

Provide a Clear Path with Navigation

Your website navigation should be easy. This is not a place to get clever or creative. Present navigation that works like people expect. Use words that are clear. Labels like “Products,” “Services,” “Blog,” “About Us,” and “Contact” often appear in the menus of websites for a reason: they’re straightforward and easy to understand.

Ensure that your site hierarchy makes sense. Keep as few pages as are needed. Scrolling is no longer an issue for users. Group pages under logical menu items.

Help Visitors to Scan Content

Make sure your website is easy to read and understand. Limit the number of fonts, colors and styles. All of these make your page and content harder to scan.

Think short: short subheads followed by short words in short sentences grouped in short paragraphs.

Keep the Design Fresh

What’s the first impression created by your design? Does it look oh-so 90s? Design conventions change and your site needs to evolve too.

One big change is the move to responsive techniques that makes sites easy to view on the small screens of mobile devices. Your website should look great on desktops and mobile devices.

Responsive designs adapt to the device type that someone views them on. Make sure that your site buttons and menus are large enough to click on smaller screens.