Top Website Improvements You Can Make ASAP
As the world adjusts to remote work and engagement, the importance of an effective online presence is becoming absolutely essential.
We asked our colleagues at APAX Software, Awesome Inc’s sister company, to weigh in on the top web and mobile updates you can make quickly!
In 2020, it is no longer enough to simply be online. With improved accessibility to the internet, more and more sites are competing for user attention. Those of us in the industry like to discuss how to gain an advantage on that competition and use analytical terms like SEO, conversion rate, and bounce rate. But for the majority of people, these terms mean nothing, and their website is only valuable to serve their actual primary interest, whether it’s their business, blog, or otherwise. Therefore, time spent mastering these tools is less time working on that primary focus. So what should the average person look for to maximize their website effectiveness? Here are a few places to start:
Your Content is Organized
The power and flexibility of a website make it tempting to stuff it with content. Technical considerations aside, you could theoretically have an infinite number of pages living on your site. You aren’t limited by physical space like in print media, so the possibilities are limitless. But analytics tell us that the average visit to a website lasts only a couple of minutes. In that context, every second becomes valuable.
So how can you maximize that time? You want to get as many ideas across to the user as possible while encouraging them to further engage. For most of the content on your site, whether it’s an informational webpage or blog post, consider a traditional newspaper article structure. Assume the reader is only going to read the content title and first “block” of content, whether that’s a paragraph or something else. That initial block should sequentially summarize everything that follows it on the page. Try to use that block to encourage them to explore the rest of the content, but even if they don’t, they walk away with a basic understanding of the point you were trying to communicate.
This model can be abstracted to your entire site. Think of your homepage as that first paragraph and use it to introduce key concepts, and use easily accessible “child” pages to expand on those concepts.
Your Site is Simple but Exciting
When designing your site, your goal should always be removing any obstacles between your reader and the content you want them to experience. This is a balancing act between keeping the site simple enough that it is easily accessible and engaging enough that they want to explore it further. When in doubt, lean into the former and keep it simple.
You can find this balance at play when you visit a site where elements fade into view as you scroll, like the examples here. These effects are fun but require a deft hand. Using them tastefully, usually on nonessential pieces of content, makes the experience of viewing a webpage or piece of content engaging and exciting. But using them everywhere, and hiding essential content behind them can instead make the experience disorienting. If by including animations, colorful backgrounds, videos, or anything else, makes it more difficult for the user to access and understand the core idea your website is trying to communicate, then it should be avoided.
Your Site is Mobile Friendly
The most popular web browsers are now the ones we carry in our pockets. Over half of all web traffic goes through mobile phones. The quick rise of mobile web browsing has left many websites behind, but it is crucial that users can access content as quickly and easily on their phones as they can on their computers. Being mobile-friendly can mean different things to different people, but as a general rule of thumb:
- Prevent horizontal scrolling. The average user expects to be able to find all content scrolling up and down, not left and right.
- Make sure any menus are readily accessible and easy to open.
- Minimize the risk of accidental actions by making any buttons/links large and clear to the user.
These are just a few very surface-level guides to maximizing the effectiveness of your website. Even if your site fills all of these requirements, it does not mean it can be left alone and ignored. Experts agree that your website should be evaluated and updated on a regular basis. In the same way you should visit the doctor to maintain physical health, investing in regular website maintenance can keep your digital presence healthy and competitive.
If you have questions about improving your site, feel free to contact the APAX team!