When it comes to designing a website, it’s extremely important that you try and focus on building something practical. There’s usually a disconnect between what business owners think their website should look like and what their users actually want. As a result, they’ll usually rely on website designers or even editing programs and cloud-based software to help them design a great website.
Unfortunately, even with these powerful tools, it’s often difficult to determine what changes you should make in order to make your website more appealing to users. So in this post, we’re going to cover some of the most important features that will make your website more user-friendly.
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A fast website is a loved website
Web users expect your website to load as quickly as possible, even if they’re on slower connections on their mobile phones. Most users expect your website to load in around two seconds. This seems really fast, but it’s actually not as fast as what some larger tech companies aim for. For example, Google aims for all of its company-related pages to take just half a second to load. This is extremely quick and is what most websites should actually be aiming for.
But how do you achieve this?
There are lots of ways to do this. For starters, you could remove any large content that is unnecessary to put on your main pages. Large videos and images are a great example of this. Videos should ideally be linked to and not loaded and played on your website, and you should compress images as much as possible to ensure they are small in size and will fit on your website.
If you’re a more advanced user, then there are lots of small ways to optimise your loading speeds. For example, you can try to minimise HTTP requests or even pick a more reputable website host. There are loads of small factors that will affect your overall loading speed, so it’s important to take everything into consideration because small improvements will add up and make a bigger difference.
Once you’ve managed to reduce the loading times of your website, you’ll notice that customers are more likely to visit your site and come back to use it again. Nobody wants to wait over 2 seconds for anything to load–they expect a fast and snappy experience, and it’s your job to provide this to them.
Make it easy to get in touch with your business
One of the very first things you should consider is adding more ways to communicate with your business.
The simplest way to do this is to add your contact information at the bottom of each page. In some cases, you can place it at the top of the page instead or even add it to both the header and footer so that it’s easy to find. Your contact information should be formatted and it obviously needs to be accurate as well. Additionally, you can add a contact information page that contains a bit more detail. For instance, it could show your address (if you have a physical location) or it could contain a form where your users can enter a question and automatically send it to your support team.
It’s important that you make your contact options easy to access. For example, here is a chat box for website owners to place on their main pages. It allows your visitors to quickly ask a question to a member of your team, and they can follow up afterwards by offering their email address. You can then add this to be used as part of your customer relationships management system, and you can fine-tune your support so that it fits their needs.
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Improving the navigation of your website
It’s also a good idea to think about the overall navigation of your website and how you can improve it. Navigation is essentially anything that can be used to browse more pages of your website. Some website designers choose to put navigation buttons at the top of the screen that helps to categorise all of your product pages or website elements. However, you may also want to consider adding sidebars or even a sitemap to make things a bit simpler.
You can try a lot of different things to improve the navigation of your website. However, you can end up in situations where you’re making a lot of changes that don’t really add up to practical advantages. For example, having multiple ways to reach a page sounds good in practice, but creating a maze of links will just confuse your visitors. Remember; they’ve probably never used your website before, so it’s important to make it as obvious as possible to reach certain pages or areas of your website.
Other considerations include keeping your overall website design as efficient as possible, and also ensuring that you categorise your pages properly so that your users can find what they’re looking for. If you can’t avoid having lots of different pages (such as a new page for every new product) then you’ll want to consider how you categorise those pages and also think about adding a search function to your website.
Most website builders will already have some kind of built-in search bar tool, but if you’re not sure where to start, then we suggest taking a look at Google’s offerings such as their programmable search engine. It’s relatively easy to add to your website and will make it much easier for your customers to find something.
Descriptive content that makes it easy to pick a product
If you’re offering multiple kinds of products and services then you’ll need to offer some kind of content that makes it easy to choose between them. For instance, if you have multiple tiers of products then a comparison table is a great thing to add. This will make it a lot easier for your customers to compare different types of products/ This is also a great addition for companies that offer multiple tiers of a service and want to clearly distinguish each of them.
But comparing different products is hard unless you have clear descriptions and feature lists. A lot of companies forget how important it is to describe each product and service as clearly as possible. They might also omit technical details and specifications that might be important for users to know. This makes it easier for your customers to get a better understanding of your products and services.
Lastly, you’ll want to take plenty of high-quality photographs to help represent your products. Your visitors will have a much easier time choosing a product if they can actually see it. Take pictures from multiple different angles and make sure you show how the product can be used as well.
In short, make sure there is plenty of content to help your visitors make a purchase decision. The more informed they are, the more comfortable they’ll be browsing your website and buying from you.
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Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors
A really simple way to make your website instantly more usable is to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. When you start focusing on the customer experience, you’ll realize just how easy it can be to improve your website and add features that are usable and make sense.
There are a couple of ways to see your website from a user’s point of view. For starters, introduce your website to friends, family members, and work colleagues to see how they react. Watch how they navigate your website, take notes on the feedback they give, and respond to any questions that they might have. Another way is to simply ask your audience about your website’s design and how you can change it to fit their needs.
Adding website elements this way may seem a little strange because you’re relying on someone else, but in reality, you’re speaking to your core user base who are ultimately the ones that use your website on a regular basis. Listening to these people and understanding how they use your website is going to have a huge impact on how your website design turns out.
Alternatively, you can also use analytics to help you make informed decisions on how to change your website for the better. These stats can show everything from the most-viewed pages to how much time the average user spends on a particular part of your website. Though these statistics won’t tell the full story, it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to improve your website’s overall usability.
As you can see, there are many important elements that your website needs to have in order to make it user-friendly. It’s difficult to judge what your website needs because it’s different for each industry or type of business. However, we hope that this post has given you some inspiration on where to start.
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