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Top 5 Reasons Why Your Website Isn't Effective
Sunday, 24 October 2010 19:24
If you build it, they will come.” (Field of Dreams) That concept may work in movies, but not on the Internet. Your website won’t hold your intended audience unless it is constructed on a solid foundation: effectiveness. There are five main support structures: design, usability, search optimization, content and maintenance. Let’s look at how your foundation can collapse because of weak areas:

 

Poor Design

“I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.” (Justice Potter Stewart)

Web users may not consciously notice great design, but they’ll definitely flinch when an ugly page pops up. Poor design not only makes a lousy first impression, it can actually undermine your site’s credibility. Users will think, if you can’t get the aesthetics right, then you probably can’t get anything right. To make your website attractive you must have:

  • Good use of colors
  • Readable text
  • Meaningful graphics
  • High quality photography

Unwieldy Information Architecture

“All you want to do is use me.” (Bill Withers)

Effective information architecture boil down to a single idea: keep it simple for users, no matter how complex your site is. Users want to intuitively know how to get around your website. You need to give them a logical sequence of links along with search tools that make it easy to find what they want.  Don’t make them work too hard (excessive scrolling) and don’t make them wait. They’ll hurry off to another site if your pages take to long to load. To summarize, here the key elements of usability:

  • Simplicity
  • Fast-loading pages
  • Minimal scroll
  • Consistent layout
  • Logical navigation

Weak SEO

“Hide not your talents.” (Benjamin Franklin)

A good site is hard to find if it’s not speaking the language of search engines. Words and phrases used in content and code can be optimized to put you higher on the list of search results when a user goes looking for something you offer. “Search Engine Optimization” is a billion dollar business. But there are some cost-free steps you can take to boost your profile.

  • Include written content in the HTML format. It’s better not to use JavaScript or Flash for navigational items.
  • Use important keywords repeatedly and appropriately.
  • Avoid using tables and use Cascading Style Sheets for positioning and layout. Make sure that your HTML code is clutter-free.
  • Make your links descriptive and don’t forget to include the keywords in it.

Missing Content

“Where’s the Beef?” (Wendy’s commercial)

Users are hungry for information. If your website doesn’t have any meaty substance, they won’t stick around. Don’t trick them with empty calories, either. The information you provide should be relevant and useful. Here are the ingredients for great content:

  • Keep it up to date.
  • Remember to speak to your audience.
  • Make sure it’s well-written and carefully edited. Consider using a professional unless your confident about your own talents.
  • Keep it organized. Divide your text into short paragraphs, use bullet points, bolding, etc. to make ideas stand out.
  • Be sure it’s clear, compelling and concise.

Ignored Maintenance & Upkeep

“When you are through changing, you are through.” (Bruce Barton)

Your website should always be a work in progress. Old content, broken links or down time are sure to turn your audience away. You should constantly be changing images, text, ads and promotions. Be pro-active. Find potential problems before your users notice them, and hire good technical support to keep your site glitch-free.

Don’t let these weak links undermine your website’s effectiveness. Build it well and users will not only come, they’ll stay.

 

Is your site performing the way it should?  Request a FREE website analysis and audit consultation.

 


Websoft Written on Sunday, 24 October 2010 19:24 by Websoft

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