Over the years, we’ve revamped the PuTTin’ OuT website quite a bit, and longtime followers might even recall times when it was a little less than easy to use. (And it’s still a bit of a work-in-progress!)
Your website is your business’s and brand’s most essential asset. If it isn’t making it easy for users to peruse it and learn more about you, it could be doing more harm than good.
The Danger of Low User-Friendliness
Let’s say you see an interesting link and follow it to a website you’ve never been to before. After a few seconds it’s still loading, and you still don’t see anything. You’re probably already gone, but let’s say you stay until it loads. Scrolling is clunky, there are ads in the middle of the content, a pop-up appears suddenly, a video driver crashes… yeah. You’re never coming back.
The New York Times reported in 2012 that users will “visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by 250 milliseconds” – that’s right. MILLIseconds. Just think about FULL seconds.
Users Come Before Marketing
More than your flashy auto-play videos and your “Sign up here!!!!” adds throughout the content, what’s really going to get people flocking to your site is a great experience. Without the trust and usability that comes from a quality website with quality content, your marketing efforts mean nothing. Is anyone really going to sign up or buy from a site they can barely use or find too cluttered to even read? Probably not.
Check It Out
So put yourself in the visitor seat. Google your website, then enter it like a real user. Surf around a bit and see where it’s lacking and where it’s troublesome – if you find it annoying or cumbersome, your visitors will, too.
Then, have a look at the hard data. Get your marketing team together (which might just be you!) and have a good long look at your Analytics reports followed by a deep assessment of where people are losing interest. Get specifics and work to improve user experience in those places before you do any marketing for them.
Once you’ve got user-friendliness ready, make sure you’re using the website marketing best practices for SEO to help ensure people can actually find it.
Have more tips for checking and improving user-friendliness? Lay ’em on me in the comments!!