Build a Web site and people will come. Ha! If it were only that easy! The Web is one sales environment where customer has total empowerment. They have all resources (i.e., your competitors) just a mouse-click away.
Not only are you in competition with millions of other Web sites owners who sell same product/service as you, but you are also competing for users' time and attention. While search engine optimization and submission can bring you traffic you need, only you can ensure that visitors will stay on your site by giving them a reason to want to stay. That is where Web site usability comes in.
What is Web site usability? The International Standards Organization (ISO) defines Web site usability as "effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which a specified set of users can achieve a specified set of tasks in a particular environment." In simpler terms, usability is how efficiently and effectively users can accomplish what they are trying to do when they visit your Web site.
Now that you have an understanding of usability, we'll explain basics of what a Web site should include to make most of user experience:
Content is king
Let's face it, people visit Web sites for content -- they want information. Sure, it helps if your site is visibly appealing as well. But, without right content, results of user experience can be fatal to your business. They simply won't come back.
Here are a few tips to remember in regards to content:
1. Be concise. Research shows that reading from a computer screen is about 25% slower than reading from paper or other print medium. To that end, you will want to edit your writing to say exact same thing in half words it would take if you were writing on paper. Also, think back to last time you came to one of those really long-winded Web sites where content may have been great, but you still had to scroll and scroll and scroll to get to end. It can be a nuisance. So, keep your pages short.
2. Make your content scannable. When people use Internet, they are looking at mass amounts of information. Help them get to core of what they want by using bulleted items, short paragraphs, and subheadings to make it easier for them to find what they are looking for.
3. Write without error. There is no excuse -- absolutely none -- for poor grammar, typographical errors, and misspellings. If you own a computer, you have access to spell-checking and grammar-checking technologies. Use them. These small details will reflect upon your site. If you don't convey professionalism on your own business, how will you be conveyed to potential clients? Can they trust you with theirs? Before uploading any new content, proofread it. Then, turn it over to someone else for their input.
4. Write as if you were a Public Relations pro. Granted, many of us aren't PR exec's, but you should know how to market your business. Use lingo that is most appropriate for your business. While you want to provide information, your main goal is still one thing: to sell. So, write to sell.
5. Maximize your keywords. As part of search engine optimization process, you went to great lengths to select keywords and phrases that are most appropriate for your business. Be sure to use them whenever possible (without being overtly redundant) in your content.
6. Refresh, refresh, refresh. Web sites should be updated on a regular basis -- don't let them go stale. Add new products/services, update users with new information and tools, do what you can to change your content and keep users coming back for more.
7. Know your audience. Since most audiences vary in terms of experience level with both your product/service and their experience level with internet, you will want to simplify things more than ever. You don't want to talk to yourself - make sure potential clients understand your product/service. The best way to do this is to create content that is informative, yet easy to understand for even newest of newbies. Web site design