Tag : website

39 Website Improvements to Encourage a Better User Experience

One way to improve your website is to tackle small, but meaningful tasks one at a time, over time, on a regular basis. If your website is built on a user-friendly content management system (CMS), you should get in the habit of identifying things that can be improved quickly and making the changes.

There are two kinds of website improvement projects.

The first, and most obvious one is creating a new website. Done effectively, the process requires careful planning, the collaborative efforts of a team of talented specialists, and of course, time – usually months.

Here is a list of ideas for refining your website, so visitors are quietly and smoothly swept deeper into it.

Have a user-first mindset

Let’s get serious now about UX website improvement tactics you can jump on fast without overly taxing your time and resources.

When a restaurant, store, airport, stadium, or any place, satisfies its customers, it profits from the experience, draws them back again and cashes in on word-of-mouth marketing.

Your website might be beautiful. The content might be the best in the business. If your website introduces unnecessary challenges to its visitors, it’s bound to impede your success.

Website Design Stats
A great website needs to do the same. It needs to deliver a great user experience (UX). You can define UX a number of ways, but in an effort to keep it simple, I’ll tell you – it means the customer got what they came for with no hassles.

The interesting thing about designing for user experience is that you succeed when the design is invisible to the customer. The user doesn’t experience fussing with your website to find the content they’re after.

Branding

– Your logo shouldn’t be gigantic or puny, and it shouldn’t be crowded by other elements or lost in the mix. Place it top left and give it breathing room.

2. Color me simple – You don’t want to dump the entire box of crayons on your site. Shore up your color palette all across your site with 2-3 main colors that work well together.

Voila! There’s a favicon, the company’s logo mark is used to also mark the website itself. It’s a smart branding play and simple to execute.

Add one to help brand your website. Favicons are also used when your site is bookmarked.

Messaging

4. Clean up a headline – If there’s a muddy message where a clear and concise headline should be, clean it up and clarify.

5. Sliders be gone – If you have a multi-frame slider kicking off your home page, it’s time to nix that old trick. Determine your most compelling message and focus readers solely on it.

– Don’t know what your main message should be? Perform an A/B test and allow the results to guide this important decision.

7. Get to the point – Chances are you can easily find a page that’s overly wordy. Your busy readers appreciate brevity and clarity, so edit pages that are slow to get to the point.

Split Test A

In one corner we have A (above) and in the other we have B (below). One will produce better results, which effectively removes opinion or intuition from the equation and allows user interaction to guide the website improvement process.

Split Test B

8. Replace your stock – Do you have stock photography screaming, “we’re fake” on a key page? Put a more authentic image there.

9. Prove some points – If you’re stashing all your best testimonials and other forms of social proof on one predictable page or burying them deep, resurface them on popular pages where they’ll reach more eyeballs.

Testimonial pages don’t draw well, but testimonials on pages that do generate traffic perform a valuable role for increasing credibility.

Readability

10. Break it up – Even a wonderfully written page or post may feel monotonous if it’s not broken up into sections. Add subheadlines to improve readability.

11. Whiten and lighten up – Lighten the perceived “weight” of the copy by increasing white space between lines and sections. Avoid dreadfully long line lengths.

12. Bring in some bullets – Find a paragraph that’s overly dense and laborious to read and turn it into a skimmable list of bullet points.

Use a small number of elegant fonts consistently. Consider making the text a bit bigger.

Layout

14. Use a grid – Examine pages that contain multiple messages and make sure each earns a rightful place in your design hierarchy. Create an attractive grid with borders, backgrounds and column variations.

15. Relocate your social media icons – Put those social media chiclets somewhere that says we value you following us, but we value you visiting our website more.

Navigation

16. Too many items on the menu – Menus with an overabundance of choices may prompt users to make no choice at all. Demote items in the navigation to interior pages when possible.

Jump to it – Did you feel the need to write a massively long page? You can help readers navigate with a menu of links atop the page that “jump” straight to the relevant section.

18. Decrease defections – One way or another, usually as a result of a missing page or visitor mistake, a generic 404-error page is served. Make yours helpful with links to favorite pages to keep visitors from bailing on you.

19. Enable onsite search – If yours is a deep website or blog, add onsite search functionality to help readers find what they seek. (Doing so will also help you gather insights for content planning).

20. Serve up specific routes – If your site means to serve multiple personas, partners, clients, applicants, media writers, etc., create signs to point the way.

Conversion

Call out your call to action – Can you find a call to action (CTA) that doesn’t call attention to itself? Are some pages actionless?

22. Fussy forms – Generally, forms that don’t convert at the rate you ‘d like are simply too demanding. Remove fields that request information you really don’t need.

23. Slow growing email lists – If you’re trying to build an email list, carefully consider the tools and tactics used wherever you’re asking visitors to opt-in. Experiment with new value propositions until your subscription rates rise.

24. Email addresses are dangerous – You invite spammers to your inbox by publishing email addresses as CTAs. Put contact forms on pages from which you ‘d like visitors to connect.

25. Want foot traffic? – If you want site visitors to make actual physical visits to your store or office, offer a map and directions on your website.

Engagement

Watch this – If you’ve so far refrained from creating video for your site, make one. Your ‘About’ page is perfect place to insert your first video.

27. Promote sharing – Feature social media shares bars on your blog and make sure they can be found instantly. Turn the counters on.

Make links look like links – Have you tried to make hyperlinks an art form? Make them longer than one word to help make them obvious.

29. Add scroll cues – As more and more webpages are designed with border-to-border artwork single-column style, content below the fold is more likely to be missed. Add arrows or other visual cues to encourage scrolling.

30. Be there for your buyers – Far too many sites hoping to sell products and services make it cumbersome for prospects to get answers. When possible, man your website with a chat feature (and attendant).

pr 100 image

Site Speed

31. Got bloat? – Identify images that are bandwidth hogs and optimize them for an acceptable screen resolution and faster page loading.

32. An auto accelerator – Plugins such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache will cache parts of your site, so return visitors enjoy an even faster user experience.

Search Engine Optimization

33. Titles that matter – The title tags of your pages should describe the page and indicate relevance to search engines. Swap in meaningful keywords where pages are tagged generically with terms such as home, about, or services.

34. Descriptions that pull – If you find a page with no meta description, write a keyword-rich meta description you hope will attract clicks when it’s served as a snippet in search results.

35. Image alts – Search bots don’t see images, but will see the alt text (or tags) you mark them with so be sure use keywords and make this change to your nameless images.

36. Keep linking – You probably publish blog posts then move on to the next one. With each new topic and angle, your blog explores comes new opportunities to create internal links, so dig through older posts and optimize them further with new links to recent content.

37. Boost a second page post – Use your analytics to identify a post that ranks on page two of search. Give that post new life and greater search potential with something new: a video, expert quote, graphic, SlideShare or a new section.

Analytics

38. Get smarter – Google Analytics is an essential tool for monitoring your traffic, page views and goals. Make sure you have your tracking code in place.

39. Tool up – Search Console is another free tool Google offers to help you monitor, diagnose and optimize your site. Have it setup properly.

Go forth and improve your website

My job is done here. Now it’s your turn. Do something to improve your UX today.

It’s on you to create a user experience that engages visitors and converts them into leads, buyers and brand advocates. The process need not call for a website overhaul, but rather, a commitment to perpetual improvement.

Website user experience impacts your customers’ experience with your brand in a big way. A great user experience ensures visitors can find what they seek easily and fast.

More Site Visits Using Facebook

How To Get More Site Visitors Using Facebook Comments

Hey Guys, so a great blogger and entrepreneur, Kim Garst from Boom! Social wrote a really interesting blog recently about generating FREE website traffic just by commenting a certain way using Facebook!

We hope you find this useful & we’d love to hear your comments below!

How To Get More Site Visitors Using Facebook Comments

Did you know that you can get visitors to your website just by commenting on Facebook? No, really! Facebook is that powerful. Not only can you get direct traffic from Facebook fan pages, groups, walls and photo tags but you can also use the Facebook commenting system used on thousands of blogs to generate clicks to your website.

As you may or may not know, Facebook has an open comment system where blogs that are not located on Facebook or pages that are not located on Facebook can use Facebook as a concrete platform to moderate and allow comments. Think of this as Facebook’s competition to Disqus and does a pretty good job at filtering out spam.

Why Bother with Facebook Commenting?

Let’s get one thing straight:

For you to get traffic from Facebook comments, you need to use your Facebook fan page when making those comments.

It’s not going to work if you’re going to use your personal account because when people click your personal account they just go to a privacy protected page or your personal page.

So ensure you comment using your Facebook fan page account. When you create a Facebook fan page, it’s usually tied to a personal account. You can choose to use Facebook as either your personal account, or your Facebook fan page. The advantage here of course is that you can use one account to centrally control multiple fan pages. Now here’s where it gets interesting. When you navigate to a blog or a website that uses Facebook as its commenting platform, you can comment as your fan page. This is a springboard to free traffic.

How? When you post a comment and people find your comment interesting they can click your profile. When they click your profile instead of your personal page it goes to your fan page. When people get to your fan page and they’re logged in to Facebook, they can click the like button and you have an instant fan. Why does this matter? When your Facebook fan page has a lot of fans, every time you publish a new piece of content on your fan page, it will appear on the timeline of your fans.

Annoyingly, thanks to the Facebook algorithm, only a fraction of your total fans see your updates (this wasn’t always the case). This is just how Facebook works. Fortunately beneath each of your updates you can see how many people you reached with your update and can therefore get a rough idea of what percentage of your page is active and responsive. However, with regards to this commenting system what’s important is for you to get targeted visitors that are interested in your niche becoming members of your fan page. Once they’re a member of your fan page and they click your updates, there’s all sorts of techniques you can use to get them to go to your blog post and sign up for your mailing list or get some sort of more direct form of  communication instead of through solely your Facebook fan page.

Finding Niche-Specific Blogs That Use Facebook Comments

This can be a little time consuming so would certainly be worth using a VA for if that’s something you could consider especially if time is of the essence (as is the case for most of us). But regardless of how you go about it, you need to find NICHE specific blog that use the Facebook commenting system.

The reason it takes so long is because there’s very few ways to actually find these blogs that use the Facebook commenting system. It’s a simple case of going through blogs in your niche and scrolling down to see if they use the Facebook commenting system.

One way you can reduce the work load slightly is to couple your niche keyword in google with + “Facebook social plugin”which searches for pages that use a Facebook plugin. This will include the sidebar like box which many blogs use so it’s a fool-proof way of going about it, but it certainly trims some of the fat from your search.

That’s why in this case, it’s a great idea to push the boat out and hire someone from Odesk for example or to use an existing VA.

Post Lots Of Comments

You need to post a lot of comments because not everybody will click your profile. This is strictly a number’s game. While some black hat marketers are using automated means to make this commenting method work, the problem with automation is that it can get you banned and is a short term approach to traffic generation via this particular technique.

Set yourself a daily target and get on with it. Once you have your list of blogs that use Facebook you can just work your way through it and then repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat…The more you comment, the more traffic you will naturally generate.

And of course remember that your comments become a part of your branding and show off how professional (or unprofessional) you truly are.

So How Do You Benefit?

There are many ways you can benefit from using Facebook comments with your Facebook fan page:

First, you get a lot of direct traffic from people in your niche who feel you’re worthy of their ‘mouse click.’ If your comments are very intriguing and add a lot of value, people would be interested in what else you have to say. When they click on your name, they go to your Facebook fan page and they see the content that you’ve posted before.

Another way you can benefit is that you become credible to the operators of the niche-specific blogs that you’re commenting on. These bloggers will appreciate the fact that you are blogging specifically about their niche and that you have a high level of expertise regarding the niche. Another way you can benefit from Facebook comments is that you may establish enough credibility with these bloggers that you might be able to get them to publish a guest post. Alternatively, they might be able to link to you as a resource. There just so many ways you can spin this.

Best Practices

First and foremost, you should not spam! The stakes are quite high. When you spam and your account is linked to your Facebook fan page, not only may your Facebook fan page get closed down, but your personal account might get shut down as well. It’s extremely important that you resist the temptation of spamming.

Next, your comments must be very niche-specific. You have to be niche-specific in the blogs that you’re commenting on and your comments must also be niche-specific. Basically, become a complete geek in your niche. Don’t post random comments about the weather, or don’t talk about personal stuff. And of course, no generic one-liners.

Finally, on your Facebook fan page, make sure you share only content that is worth sharing. This means that the content is so compelling that it really pushes the reader to click the Facebook share button.

The initial work might seem a real pain in the behind but once you’ve got that list of blogs written up and ready to go, it’s a case of putting 20 or 30 minutes aside each day to make a few comments and the traffic rewards (and brand awareness benefits) can be incredible (and FREE). So go on…What are you waiting for?

3 Reasons Wix.com Fails For Business Websites

Hey there Friends!! We saw this article and thought that it would help our readers understand why Wix.com has its place, but for businesses who want traffic, you might want to think otherwise before you invest your time and hopes into a “free” website!! ENJOY!

 

3 REASONS WIX.COM FAILS FOR BUSINESS WEBSITES

By Jessie-Lee Nichols Posted Jul 23, 2014

I have a confession to make. I HATE Wix.com!

As a professional web designer for an inbound marketing agency, I have a personal problem with a product when it sets the expectation that anyone can design and develop a website…for free no less.

Wix.com boasts that all you need to do is choose a template, input some text and then – bam! – you have a website that will get you found online.

Wrong. In so many ways. 

Designing for the web is tough. Not only must you solve various visual problems and adhere to specific client branding, but you have to rise to the challenge of making hundreds of pages, blogs and downloadable pieces of content cohesive and relevant to the user across a plethora of different devices (desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.).

Despite my less than mild attitude toward this DIY service, there are some concrete reasons that businesses should not rely on website builders like Wix.comm for their website.

1. SEO

A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the most important pieces of any website. It’s one of the first things our clients focus on, before aesthetics and before traffic analytics. The question always comes back to, “How do I rank higher?” SEO is easy to tackle when building a website in a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla,Drupal, or HubSpot. You develop your strategy and you implement it across every page, blog post and portfolio piece. It works and it’s a proven system.

With a Wix.com site, implementing an SEO strategy is nearly impossible. You do not have the ability to download an SEO boosting plugin. Instead, you simply have the on-page SEO that Wix.com offers. Yes, you can get the basics done here, but it doesn’t offer you any Search Enginge previews or any help along the way like one of our favorite SEO plugins, WordPress SEO by Yoast, does. For a tool that caters to beginners, Wix.com is really missing the mark.

Most troubling is the link structure that Wix.com employs. In every single Wix.com site URL, you will notice a # or “hashbang” which is being served through javascript, and in turn is not readable by search engines.

Major fail.

Even worse, if a user has javascript disabled on their browser then the site will not render at all. Wix.com used to be built with Flash technology (which is not compatible with most mobile devices), and while that issue has been corrected, they have opened an entirely new can of worms.

How exactly is a business supposed to get “found online” when the basic structure of the site does not allow for search engine access? If you dive deeper into Wix.com’s page structure, you find that all pages are canonical, or simply tabs of the homepage, and therefore they could never rank on their own.

With Wix.com you can build an attractive (albeit generic) website and it may be easy for you to update, but if your site isn’t search engine compatible, or potentially even viewable, how is it going to work for you?

2. SITE OWNERSHIP

Site ownership is essential for every single website. Every business should own their own web property and they should have a relationship with their web host company. A company website is just as valuable and important for you to understand and maintain as any other business asset.

Wix.com states:

“Wix does not claim any intellectual property rights over the User Submissions. However, under the Wix.comTerms of Use, you grant Wix worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Submissions.” 

That is scary. By signing up for Wix.com web services, you are allowing Wix.com to modify your site and your site’s content simply by agreeing to the Terms of Use.

Always have control over your website and your content. Period. End of story! 

3. MOBILE SITES

Mobile sites are the VHSs to today’s DVDs. They will eventually play the same movie, but one has a substantially more sophisticated user experience than the other. Mobile websites were cool and effective before your parents started using Facebook, but now they just don’t make any sense. In their place, responsive websites are not just the new trend, they have officially become the new standard. Having a completely seperate site for mobile users with a completely seperate editor leads to complications like two separate analytics accounts. Ugh.

Modern browsers like Google Chrome can pick up where a browsing experience leaves off on a different device. Having a totally different mobile site from your desktop site provides a user with a lot of inconsistencies and most of the time, irrelevant or unupdated information.

The biggest disadvantage I see with Wix.com in the mobile category is that you have to specify that you would like to build a mobile site and then enter into the separate editor. None of the site templates are responsive. As of 11 hours prior to writing this post, the Wix.com forums are full of posts begging developers for this feature. As the original forum post was written in January of 2013 (and I’m writing this 7 months later), it leads me to believe that there is little hope that this request will be fulfilled.

WHAT IF I AM ALREADY ON WIX.COM?

Already have a website on Wix.com? Don’t worry! You aren’t a total sitting duck. Unfortunately, you don’t have the ability to pick up your site as is and move it to a new hosting company (you don’t own your site, remember?). But, you can have your website professionally designed and implemented on a proven platform like WordPress or HubSpot (our two favorite CMS platforms). In doing so, you can even harness the SEO you have managed to build up on Wix.com by putting in place some 301 redirects.

CAN YOU HELP?

Of course! Simply get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide you with an honest evaluation of your site from a design, functionality and SEO standpoint. All three of these essentials need to be aligned for a successful website and we are more than confident that a switch to a proven CMS platform will drop your anxiety levels down a few notches and get you better business results.

Are you currently using Wix.com? How is it working for you? Let us know in the comments.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website OR by phone at (412) 374-1558!! We would love to help you build your new website or optimize your current structure!

Happy Marketing!

Alex, MPeMG