Whether you are developing a new website, or you’re looking to improve your existing website, there are three basic aspects of your website you should examine: Usability, Content, and Design.

Usability

Always consider the experience of your site visitors when designing your website. Your site should be well organized and easy to use, allowing site visitors to quickly find the content for which they are looking.

  • Make sure your top-level navigation is easy to locate and consistent throughout the site. It should be in the same place on every page.
  • Avoid “battling” navigation bars. On your home page, do not include a navigation running across the top of the page and an additional navigation running down the side.
  • Establish a site architecture that makes sense to your audience, without duplication of content.
  • To help site visitors choose where to click, keep main navigation choices to a minimum of five or six, with only one or two special calls to action on the home page.
  • Track what visitors to your site are doing. To analyze site traffic and to see what browsers visitors are using, set up Google Analytics on your site.

Content

Content marketing strategy can make the difference between having a user (or search engine) dig into your site or leave after a quick glance. Take the time to hone your messaging so home-page visitors can quickly determine who you are, what you do, and how you are different from your competitors.

  • Keep content on each page to a minimum. Only include information that is engaging, interesting, and important to your customers.
  • Make it easy to contact your organization, providing multiple options: email, inquiry form, phone number, address, and a map to your location.
  • Web copy should be clear, concise, and to the point. Bloated marketing “fluff” is only going to keep site visitors from understanding what you do.
  • Keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind by having an organized site where descriptive page titles correspond to headlines on the pages. Determine keywords your customers might use in an online search and use them on your site pages. Use Google Analytics to see which words they’re searching for online.
  • Most importantly for SEO—produce remarkable content to which people want to link.

Design

Know your target audience and design a site that appeals to them. Your site should be visually memorable and stand out from your competition, but still be appropriate for your audience.

  • Establish two or three primary colors to use on the site.
  • Include images and graphics that support your messaging and help site visitors understand the content, but do not include images simply as filler. And keep the images small and optimized for the web.
  • Use two web fonts at the most.
  • Avoid internal scroll bars within a page, frames, and tables.
  • Include only one animation per page, including banner ads. And only include animation if it helps clarify your message.

The most important way to improve your site is to make sure that visitors can find you online, they can get the information they need once they get to your site, and that the design and structure appeal to them so they stay on your site.