Is Your Website User Friendly?

Is Your Website User Friendly?

 

I’m often asked to review websites and give my opinion as to why they don’t seem to be performing well.

More often than not, if a site has a pretty good Search Engine presence and it’s not doing well, then it’s likely to not have a friendly content strategy or well-defined pathways for the user to follow to find the answers to their questions and to get in touch with the site owner. This is known as being user friendly.

User friendly means when your potential or existing customer comes to your site they shouldn’t meet obstacles that make it difficult for them to find out about your products or services or to get in touch.

Here are three common obstacles.

1. Site – loads slow. Having wonderful graphics and lots of photos may look great on your own machine, and may seem to load fast, but for the user who is coming to your site for the first time, this can be one of the most frustrating experiencing experiences. Since they’ve never been to your site, their browser hasn’t “cached” the images and graphics yet. So it will take 3 – 4 times longer to load than it should.

One general rule of the Internet is a page should load quickly. Having to wait for a page to load is an opportunity for your audience to leave. We want to avoid that.

2. Knowing what your site is about in 4 seconds. That’s right. Your first screen should have a clearly defined statement about what your company does and who you are.

3. Contact Information – Making your user search for the most basic contact information is a primary problem on many sites. Phone numbers and an email address, at a minimum, should be on all pages. And you should always include a contact form to provide a means to help guide them in the type of information you nee from them in order to respond.

Being user friendly helps your site perform and thereby provides increased opportunities for your users to become clients.

Matthew

The Benefit of Organic Search Engine Optimization

The Benefit of Organic Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks,” the more searchers will visit that site. ~ wikipedia.org

In the late ‘90s, businesses began to discover the benefits of search engine optimization and since then it’s caught wildfire. Google fields several hundred million queries on a daily basis, and being touched by Google’s magic wand can convert businesses overnight from ‘Lost in No Man’s Land’ to Internet Sensation. So of course, in an effort to crawl over each other to the coveted first three pages of Google results, a variety of sketchy practices were also born.

Unfortunately for the tricksters, Google employs some of the top minds of the world (as well as a massive budget) to improve their algorithms and in fact alters them several times a week. They currently utlize over 200 factors into ranking a page, and what exactly these factors are is a closely guarded secret… and with good reason. Google not only wants to defy false hits which chase off its users, but also doesn’t want competing search engines to cash in on their successful formula.

Some get greedy and employ sketchy methodologies in search of higher placement. But preventing these methodologies is also part of Google’s blueprint and when these methodologies are uncovered, sites can be booted from Google (resigned to “Google Hell”, as it is known) for long periods of time, with no explanation as to why.

To prevent this, many businesses are revising their strategies and turning to organic search engine optimization, tightening up and re-wording their sites to be certain that they’re Google-friendly, not Google-angering. This practice also returns a web guest that is a better match for the site rather than guests tricked into visiting and frustrated with a Google misfire.

And, particularly as the economy is soft yet the cost of sponsored links is still on the rise, businesses are realizing they’ve hitched their wagon to an ever-increasing budget during lean times. Some wearied web guests have realized that clicking on paid links results in a less accurate result for their search and are similarly reverting back to organic search results, scrolling past the paid ads when searching.

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Turn to an expert in organic search results. Your site will be optimized using the current best practices; you’ll be successful and stay successful in Google and other search engines despite changing algorithms and get honest results at a price you can afford.

© 2009 Matthew Costello