Articles in The 'Usability' Tag

April 3 2014

Advanced SEO: Strategies for Bridging the Gap Between Where You Are & Where You Want to Be

by Lauren Owens

With each year, internet marketing gets a little more complex – especially SEO. The strategies that worked a few years ago just won’t hack it in this highly competitive – and highly distracting – environment. But there are ways to help your brand come out on top – even if you’re in a competitive field. In this post, we’ll look at some of our favorite advanced strategies for getting found in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) today.Read More

March 15 2011

High Traffic Numbers, Low Conversions?

by Gerard Tollefsen

With the recent update to Google’s algorithm, designed to improve their search results and punish content farms, SEO has been a hot topic.  I get many industry newsletters each week and the majority are discussing topics related to Social Media, but SEO has seen a nice bump in awareness given Google’s recent update in late February.  However, companies who focus too much on how their website performs in the Google index can miss the most important aspect of their internet presence.  How well does the website perform when someone actually visits the site?  Regardless of the source of traffic (organic, paid, referral, or direct) your site’s ability to convert visitors into customers relies more on usability than your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Think about your site’s performance in terms of visitor engagement.  Do many visitors leave after viewing only one page (in other words, do you have a high bounce rate)?  Is there a statistically significant percentage of visitors who view many pages per visit but never complete the desired call to action on your site?  Testing different colors, images and page layouts can help determine the best website design to convert your visitors to customers.  While it way seem elementary to test a blue background versus a white one, you may be surprised to see how even subtle changes can increase your site’s performance.

An excellent way to leverage your visitor’s interaction and help increase the performance of your site is through usability experiments.  Google Website Optimizer (GWO) is an easy to set up (and free) tool that allows you to test different page layouts, images, and color schemes to determine which best leads to a desired result.  Moving an image from the right hand side of the page to the left may be just the change needed to increase conversions.  Using bullet points instead of paragraph text may help lower a page’s bounce rate.  There could be hundreds of different combinations in which to layout your pages and test which performs best.  Think about your site’s usability and the user experience while you are reviewing your next traffic report.  The changes you make to increase your site’s performance should be born from usability experiments rather than how well your site ranks in the SERPs or the volume of traffic your site receives.

March 12 2009

Usability Basics for Every Website

by Emily Creech

Within the Internet Marketing industry, it seems that many people have one area where they excel or focus their efforts. Whether yours is primarily SEO, SEM, Design or Analytics, there is one common theme among all of these – conversions.   To go a bit further, there is another common theme – user experience.   After all, is a visitor to a website going to convert if they have a bad experience?   Not likely.   A better user experience can help keep visitors on your site longer, which can lead to more conversions.   Here are a few usability basics to take into consideration:

  1. Clean design.   Take a look at your website, or better yet, have someone else take a look at your website. Is it cluttered?   Does the design augment the call(s) to action? Are there background images that are distracting?
  2. Consistent navigation.   Your website should have an intuitive navigation that is consistent throughout the website.   Most visitors expect to find the navigation menu at the top or left side of the page.   A consistent footer navigation on every page as well as breadcrumb trails that help the visitors to identify where they are on the website, are also important components of a website’s usability.
  3. Focused, quality content. Two metrics that are often evaluated, as they should be, are a) the amount of time visitors spend on a website and b) the bounce rate.   Are the visitors finding what they’re looking for on your site?   To improve these two metrics, make sure that your site’s content is worthy of the visitors’ attention.   If you have a blog, this can be a great way to create new and interesting content for your visitors.
  4. Engaging content. Is there a way for visitors to engage with your website and brand? Do you have comments enabled on your blog? Are photos, videos and/or digital magazines appropriate for your website?   Is there a way for users to share this type of information within social networks?   With the growth of social networks, this is something that you may want to consider.
  5. Eliminate dead ends. Even if the user has found what they are looking for, never leave them at a dead end. Always offer something else that may be of interest. If you have an ecommerce website, this can be an opportunity for them to make another purchase or research other products.   If your site features PDF documents, consider having them open in a new tab or window so you don’t take the visitor completely off of the website. Most PDF documents do not have navigation manus, so users may abandon the site after reading the information if they are not sure how to get back to the main website.
  6. Give them a reason to return.   Repeat visitors are a good indication that they found that they were looking for the first time, or the information on the website was valuable to them.   With a bad user experience, you are certainly not going to be able to capitalize on repeat visitors and additional conversions or revenue that they could bring.  

The user experience of any website is critical to the conversion process.   Each website should meet the needs of the user, and there are many things that users simply expect to find.   If your website lacks a few of these essentials, it is likely that you’ll see the impact in your conversion rates.   So, take this opportunity to think about your website.   Are there areas that could be improved upon?

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