If you ask a website owner how they can improve their website, most would come back with issues around rewording a paragraph, changing colors and restyling the overall look. However, some website improvements are even more fundamental than that. If you are thinking about a potential website overhaul in the near future, here are a few things you should not overlook.
The content on your site is everything. You can design as many pretty graphics and interactive images as you like, but without decent content for your users to read, you won’t even get past the first hurdle. Here are some key tips to writing good content:
Keep it concise: Get to the point, cut the waffle and use everyday language.
Avoid long paragraphs: Web readers like to skim, so use shorter paragraphs and well laid out chunks of information.
Use sub headings and lists: Breaking it up in this way will make it easier for your reader to find the information they need.
Format text to grab attention: Make use of the <H1> and <H2> tags on your pages to highlight important headings and use bold to pick out key phrases if you think you need to.
Leave white space: Studies have shown margins as well as the spaces between letters and between lines of text have a major impact on reading speeds, so learn to love white space.
A good website will have its SEO checked and rechecked on a regular basis. If you are already optimising your site for search engines, then you should already have a good idea of what terms you are optimised for and how your site is performing for those terms. SEO is not a static process, therefore you should be adding new keywords, reviewing the content you have on there and creating fresh, new pages on a regular basis.
Did you know that web users expect your website to load within 2 seconds? Akamai performed some research in 2009 on the importance of website performance, and found that as well as almost half of users expecting a fast loading website, 40 per cent of them would actually abandon the site if it was not loaded within 3 seconds. There are many reasons your site could be a slow loader, including:
-Messy coding and CSS files
-Poor performing shared servers
-Large images or videos in content
-No website caching in use
-Too many 301 redirects in play
To find out whether your site is considered ‘slow’ and what you can do about it, undertake some website performance testing to evaluate where you are right now. Once you understand the issues your site is having, making some simple changes can make a big difference to the user experience.
Making blind improvements to your site could result in spending a lot of time and money on something that was never really an issue in the first place. To get an idea of what your users want to see improved, gather opinion from third parties regarding how your site is perceived. You could do this through a feedback survey on the site, or by asking a focus group to help out.