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Simple Usability Tips To Improve Your Website

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It is often said in sales that it is easier to sell more things to existing customers than to find more new customers. This can also be applied to online sales – rather than concentrating solely on getting new visitors to your site (which is still a good thing), consider getting more business out of the people who are already landing on your site.


By improving the usability of your site you can help your customers do the things you want them to do – guide them towards your purchase funnel, your contact form, your quote engine or your download. Remove the obstacles that make it confusing or difficult for them – basically, don’t make them think too hard.


Despite all the hard work that goes in to webdesign, visitors are not usually on your site to enjoy the design, rather they are on your site to do something or get some information. Often they are impatient, they scan, they ‘satisfice’ – they click quickly trying to find what they want.


Website Usability - make it easier

Try not to over complicate things - how about just giving them a knife?

What can you do to help customers on their way, allay their concerns and convince them to convert?


Easy Navigation

– Make the navigation obvious and simple

– Where possible, try and copy  OS navigations –  these are well known and familiar

– Link back to the home page from your site-wide logo

– Make it easy for people to find critical pages like Contact Us and About Us

– Use Breadcrumbs in your navigation

– Utilise site search to help people find what they want – you can also use the statistics from your site search to implement changes that will improve your user experience.


Easy Scanning 

– Make sure critical content is above the fold on each page

– I don’t like to say never, but I might say – never use horizontal scroll

– Use consistent styles and colours – nothing jarring

– Use headings, sub headings and paragraphs – makes  it easier for people to scan

– Don’t distract people with unnecessary highlighting, bold or coloured text


Reconsider Your Design


It is sad but true, sometimes design gets in the way of usability. That can be understandable, because the most beautiful, interesting or shocking design, isn’t necessarily going to be the easiest to use. However, there are some things which you really should consider about your design;


– How much value does that Splash Page add? They are sometimes slow to load and distracting from the intent of the user.


– If you use icons in place of words – don’t use ones which may be ambiguous – check with many people that they all understand it to have the same meaning


– Informative product pages – if people are on a product page, they are likely considering a purchase, and you probably want to give them all the information they need on this page to know that this is the product they are after. Include specs, colour options, whatever you need – this is the place to put a comprehensive product description.


– Ad blindness is increasing – consider whether you have any sidebar elements which look like ‘ads’ and which could be better integrated into the page to prevent ad blindness.



Ask Your Developer


There are a few technical things you should check with your design before you make it live as well


– It should work without Javascript

– It should have a useful, branded 404 page, to help get people back on track (not to hit back to Google)



Retargeting Strategies To Get People To Your Site

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Retargeting (also known as remarketing by Google, or resmessaging), involves targeting your online ads towards people who have already had some interaction with your brand or at least, with your industry.

Site retargeting – This is where a person has visited your site, but did not convert. They will have had a cookie assigned to their browser, so that later on, when they are on other sites which support retargeting, you will have the option of bidding for them to see your ad.

Search retargeting – These searchers may never have been to your site, but instead have been searching for terms you consider relevant, and when they are on other sites which enable search retargeting, you have the option of displaying your ads to them.

Creative retargeting – These people have seen your ad, but not converted, so you try to engage them by showing them your ad more.

Google Adwords Remarketing is one of the easiest ways to undertake retargeting. It allows you to put remarketing tags on your website, and then display your ad to any visitors who didn’t convert, when they are browsing other sites in the Google Display Network. For a larger reach, you will want to work with Demand-Side platforms which let you reach many more publishers.

There are mixed feelings about cookies and, obviously, the web users and web marketers are on different sides of the fence. On the Web User side, there are worries concerning privacy when cookies are placed on your site, ‘tracking’ you as you move around the net. On the marketing side, let’s take a quote from Google;

“Without a cookie, the ads you see on the web are likely to be less relevant and diverse. It also may result in less profitable ads for your favourite websites,”

At the moment, many people allow cookies on their browser, and don’t necessarily change their cookie settings, because some cookies make our online experience better, and the behavioural marketing is not so ostentatious as to make it worth their while to turn it off. It is estimated that only 5-10% of people will tinker with their browser settings in this way.

However, Google among others are complying with regulator requests to provide an opt out for behavioural targeting cookies, allowing users to disable behavioural targeting in their browsers. With this ability, why aren’t the platform providers more worried about loss of this functionality to their advertisers? I guess they believe that not a huge proportion will be opting out, and anecdotal evidence supports that.

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