Although there are many different opinions on the best way to lay out a site, there are several key design elements that can have a profound effect on your site’s performance and usability.
Long a nuisance for many internet users, pop-up ads are still used by many sites. As well as external ads, many sites are now trying to promote themselves by asking users to share with friends, complete a survey or sign up to a newsletter before even visiting the site. For first time visitors this is particularly off putting as they’re being asked to endorse something they haven’t been allowed to experience.
While this tactic may give a small boost to social media figures, it’s more likely to heavily increase the bounce rate for your site. Use pop ups with care and only if it fits with the overall strategy for your website and marketing objectives.
Not only can overuse of Flash slow down loading times and run the risk of a site becoming unresponsive, it’s also a poor way to show the search engines what’s on your site. Using Flash in small doses can be a useful way to add extra function to a site, but it should not be the primary resource used. Take into account that different users have different settings on their browsers, which may not always be flash-friendly. Speak to your website designer on the best options to ensure that your site is compatible with all types of browsers.
Checking that your site shows up and works properly in the major browsers is a must, even if you have a preferred version. If your site isn’t up to scratch on each, users are simply going to hit ‘back’ and take their business elsewhere. A good web design means letting users get what they want from your site as easily as possible. If you’re limiting that ability then your site isn’t reaching its full potential.
Whatever the reason for a visitor coming to your site, they want to achieve their goal as easily as possible; if your homepage is nothing more than a video (that likely gets skipped) or a page with just an ‘enter here’ link, it’s a waste and an annoyance. It gives search engines little reason to rank your homepage and also puts up a barrier for users looking for content. Your homepage or main landing page should clearly communicate to the user what it is you do, and why they should contact you. In other words, you need to give them a compelling reason to call your business or submit an online inquiry.
Unnecessary Sign Ups
While many sites have good reason for user accounts, others do not. Making people log in can complicate their web journey and turn them away from your site. If you do require sign ups, be careful not to ask for too many details in the registration process and don’t automatically sign them up for newsletters. Be cautious of the privacy laws in Australia, and ensure that your website abides by these regulations clearly.
Michelle Wilding is a writer for ReachLocal Australia, and specialises in topics on social media and online marketing tips.