Think your website is perfect? Think again. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to user experience, load time and organization.
As your site’s focus and structure changes, so should your navigation. Links should be recognizable regardless of device or browser. You want mobile users to navigate your site just as easily as desktop users, don’t you? Every page on your site should be linked from another. A sitemap is the ultimate tool if your site is complex, so don’t forget to make one. Bonus points for knowing that it will help your SEO efforts as well!
Use Images Correctly
If you’re not incorporating images into your blog, you’re missing out on traffic from Pinterest, which lets visitors add images to virtual pinboards. Of course, simply having an image isn’t enough; you need to give it some thought. The content of your image should match the theme of the post. Furthermore, your images should be high quality. Blurry, pixelated and distorted images make your website appear unprofessional and can even distract from the on-page text, while clear, crisp and vibrant images can complement your words in just the right way.
While you should use images, don’t inundate visitors with them so that pages take minutes to load. Visitors, especially those using mobile devices, will exit your tab before your analytics tool has a chance to register the page view. Reduce images to a reasonable size. Hide larger images or galleries behind a “More” tag.
Reduce Load Time
Although you might have a broadband connection, plenty of people don’t. Combine and reduce the number of scripts on your site, remove redundant code and remove any plug-ins you don’t absolutely need. If speed remains an issue, add a caching plugin or tweak the server. Blog script WordPress, for example, has a handful of capable plugins to reduce load time through caching. When all else fails, switch to cloud hosting for faster speeds than shared hosting.
No matter how quickly your site loads, how flash your graphics appear or how useful your content is, visitors won’t care if they can’t read it. You might be a fan of neon colors, but not everyone agrees. Before you release your website to the general public, have a few associates take a look to determine if it’s easy to read. Ideally, your background contrasts enough with the text colors that it will be kind to readers’ eyes. Your font choice should work on all computers, and headings, while visually interesting, shouldn’t be so busy as to be illegible. Play it safe and add a font resize function if you think your readers might struggle.
Whether your website has a “friendly” customer service representative that talks to visitors, you ask readers to subscribe or you try to convince them to stay on your site just a little bit longer, you’re doing yourself a disservice. No one likes popups, buddy. If these additions are absolutely necessary to your site, add them in a less obtrusive way. For example, a newsletter or RSS signup form in your sidebar is always welcome.
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Many simple tweaks can improve your website. Get the fundamentals like load times and font legibility down first, and then you can worry about adding extra features later. Just make sure they don’t slow down your site!