Effective marketing isn’t only about attracting more traffic to your website. You also need to think about its design and usability (how useful it is to your targeted audience). Think Apple, for example. Their computers wouldn’t be as popular as they are today if they weren’t stunning and usable.
By making your site more usable, you let your users enjoy a better experience, which will make them come back to you, over and over again.
Making your website usable is easy. All you have to do is follow these simple easy-to-follow techniques to boost the usability of your website:
1. Choose ‘proper’ colour & textures for your font and background
Colours are dynamic as they can influence user’s psychology and experience. Certain colours arouse unique feelings in your visitors – happy, energetic, warm, and friendly. In fact, colour is the first thing that grabs your targeted audience’s attention and visually guides them towards an intended goal. This is why you must use colours that support your website goals.
According to Kissmetric’s study, almost 85% of online shoppers make buying decisions based on colours. The same study also reveals that colours when properly used can increase brand recognition by 80%.
Other studies have also shown that colours can actually improve your memory, boost user participation, and help convey a message better.
So, before you use any colour on your web site pull a chair, sit down, and think what kind of colours your website visitors would prefer.
For example, if you’re running an eco-lodge in a remote forest, using colours that are associated with ecology – i.e. brown and green colours – for your website can bring better results. Or, if you’re running an online clothing store, you could use pink, white, and black colours to offer a better experience to your visitors, which is one of the many factors that leads to better conversions.
If you want to learn how colour theory work, please click here.
Almost forgot: you can do the same when choosing textures and patterns for your website background.
Make sure you understand colour psychology so that you send proper message to your intended audience (Image source: Strive 3)
And, make sure there’s a nice contrast between the font colour and the background colour. If you don’t, people may not be able to tell the difference between the font and the background, and thus, leave your website. You seriously don’t want to leave the money on the table, do you?
2. Remove ‘fluffs’ and ‘fillers’ from your web copy to increase web usability by 58%
Today, you can many websites are crammed full of irrelevant, inaccurate, and wall of text, which compels the visitors to leave website instantly. Did you know that almost 62% of online shoppers don’t purchase online if they find the landing page is crammed full of irrelevant information?
Another study also revealed that website owners see a dramatic 58% increase in web usability when they cut the number of words that appears on the landing page in half.
So, do yourself a favour: cut down all the noise and fluffs on your landing page copy and only provide relevant and useful information that are targeted to your potential customers. After all, only 28% of content is consumed on average. So, why bother wasting your precious time and effort writing useless stuff, right?
3. Use visuals to boost readability of your website, and thus, boost sales
Most websites have a “wall of content” on their pages, which discounts readability. Users easily get overwhelmed and confused with a bulk of information they can’t comprehend.
On the other hand, using visuals can dramatically intensify readability, as they can replace long blocks of text content. That’s why visual content such as images, graphs, and charts are known to boost readability of your website.
In fact, in a recent eye-tracking study, it was found that your website users pay extra attention to images that contain the information they’re looking for.
People pay more attention to images that contain relevant information. (Image source: Nngroup)
On the other hand, website visitors totally avoid certain types of images, such as stock photos added on a website for the decorative purpose. Also, another eye-tracking study revealed a shocking discovery: memory retention spikes up by almost 34% when needless images were removed from the pages.
- Don’tuse stock photos
- When using images,make sure it supports your text content.
4. Put your information at where most people are looking.
On average, almost 80% of web users spend most of their time looking at the top half of the fold. What does this mean? It means that you need to the important information on the top half of your page. But, do NOT try to cram everything there.
80% of web users spend most of their time looking at the top half of the fold. (Image source: Neilson Norman Group)
Here’s another shocking discovery: one study revealed that web users spend almost 69% of their time looking at the left side of the page. This is because most people read from left to right. That’s why a “traditional web layout” – with the sidebar on the left – is more likely to generate profits for you.
Amazon does this beautifully:
Almost 69% of their time looking at the left side of the page. (Image source: CXL)
So, if your site has a vertical menu, make sure to put it on the left.
5. Make your website load faster to provide better user experience and boost sales
The loading time of your page affects your bottom line. It’s one of the major factors many people abandon your site.
According to this infographic, a slower page response time results in an increase in page abandonment. That is because nearly 50% of people expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Most people tend to leave the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
A slower page response time results in an increase in page abandonment. (Image source: Agiliron)
According to the same infographics, if you’re running an e-commerce website, a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. This study proves that 79% of web users who faced web site performance related issues will never return to buy again, and 44% of them would tell their friends about the poor use experience shopping online.
What does this mean to you? Well, it means that you’ll lose a lot of conversions and that loss will also be transferred to the ones they know. In the end, you’ll send potential sales down the toilet just because of a couple of second difference.
Want to learn how to make your website load faster? Check out this awesome article published on KISSMetrics.
You can use Google Analytic plugin to know how your page loads on different browsers and parts of the world. (Image source: Kissmetrics)
6. Make your website easy to use
Your website has to be easy to use for your visitors. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Make it very easy for your users to accomplish important tasks such as taking the desired action with only a few clicks.
- Limit horizontal and vertical scrolling on your page.
- Do not make your users fill up unnecessary (and lengthy) information on your forms.
- Make sure your call-to-action buttons and links are easy to spot.
- Display your offerings (discounts, free coupons, etc) prominently on your website so that your visitors can easily notice them.
7. Include “search feature” to help readers quickly find what they’re looking for.
The more content your website has, the more urgent it becomes to include a search feature to allow your readers to quickly find the information they’re looking for.
According to a study by E-consultancy, almost 30% of website visitors will use the site search feature. So, if your site doesn’t have a search box, you may be losing a lot of sales from visitors who simply left your site because they couldn’t find the information they were looking for.
Did you know that almost 30% of website visitors will use the site search feature? (Image source: DesignraZor)
There are many reasons to add a search box function on your website:
- It helps boost conversion rates– By adding a search box on your site, you allow your readers to quickly find what they’re looking for. Visitors who use search functions have higher inclination to make a purchase than those who only browse through a website.
- Improve user engagement – Having a search functionality opens up a new avenue for website visitors to discover your content archive. Your visitors will be more engaged with your content, which then can lead to more leads and sales.
- Offer better user experience– Using search box function gives your visitors a better way to navigate your website, which makes them satisfied and gives them another reason to come back again for more.
If you want to learn how to create a great search box for your website, you can check out this engaging article posted on Hallam Internet.
Spoiler alert: On average, the size of the search box is 18 characters wide. However, 27% of queries were too long to fit into it. By adding an extra 9 characters (to fit queries of up to 27 characters), you can accommodate up to 90% of queries.
8. Give your text blocks sufficient spacing
The spaces between the words, paragraphs, characters are very important. How well you set space around these web page elements can dramatically affect the reading speeds of website visitors.
How well you set space around these web page elements can dramatically affect the reading speeds of website visitors.(Image source: Sitepoint)
A recent study revealed that reading speed and comprehension can be influenced by manipulating the margins of a text.
So, here’s what you can do now:
- Check your web pages for typography spacing problems and see if you can improve them by changing your CSS files.
- Get to know some CSS properties, such as margin, padding, word-spacing, line-height, letter-spacing that will give you the most bucks out of your efforts.
9. (Bonus tip) Optimise your page layout
Optimise your page layout for a length of 1000-1,600 pixels and width of about 770pixels. Why? Because it’s the current screen size most people use to browse the web. This data for screen sizes reveals that about 60% of all monitors are set at 1024×768 pixels.
The evolution of the screen size from 1999 to 2011. (Image source: NN Group)
However, there are also 17% of users who use 800 by 600 screen size. Should you ignore these people? Of course, not. So, when I say that you optimise your page for the length of 1000-1,600 pixels, what I mean is that you should make your page load look good on most common screen size. But, it still should look good and work best on other screen sizes.
To do this, I recommend that you use a “liquid” layout.
Make sure to use the same layout for all your pages. That means the navigational menu must appear on every web page on your website – in the same place. This is essential because your navigational menus are the most important element on your web page, and thus, it must be visible “above the fold” so that your users can see it instantly without having to scroll down the page.
If you’re running a website, don’t spend most of your time on driving new traffic. Rather, spend 50% of other time to make it usable to get a better result.
Over to you: what other tips do you have to make your website more usable for your readers? Please share it in the comment section below.