What Makes an Effective Website? 10 Easy Things To Implement

what make an effective websiteIf you asked ten people what makes an effective website, you’d get ten different answers.

But here’s the thing.

If you’re going to have an effective website, one that attracts and keeps visitors interested, you need to know the goals for your site and if you’re meeting those goals.

Secondly, if your site’s performance is poor, maybe it’s time to take a look at how your visitors see your website and if they’re finding what they need.

Secondly, if you’re trying to create an effective website, these are the top 10 things that will make the most difference.

They’re not hard to implement, but they will help you find and meet your goals and meet the expectations of your viewers, very important!


1. An effective website makes it crystal clear what your site is about.

If I’m looking at a website, I want to know immediately what the site is about and how it will benefit me.  If I can’t find that right away, I’ll leave, simple as that.

One thing I’ve noticed, especially with new websites,  is that site owners will add text in the very beginning of the page that’s either irrelevant or too wordy, forcing their readers to scroll down the page before they can get to the real meat of what the site is about.

That’s frustrating for a reader.

Get to the point quickly.  Be clear and specific in your header and in your headlines on what your site is about.   Don’t ramble on in the first paragraphs with generalities or irrelevant text.

Remember, if a visitor can’t determine what you are about quickly, or find some relevant value, they’ll leave.

2. Know where are your visitors eyes are drawn when looking at your site

Do you know if  your web page traffic finding what they’re looking for?  Do you know where visitor eyes are looking?

What your visitors see in those first few seconds may not be the same things you see.  In fact, your eyes will typically move to the things that you are most interested in, that’s not necessarily where your viewers are looking.

Try asking a few individuals to look at your site and get some feedback on where their eyes are drawn.  Don’t simply ask someone on the web to do a site review.  Get an individual in front of your computer and ask them in person what they see first. If they’re not seeing what you would like them to see, it might be time to make a few adjustments.

Here’s a cool way to see exactly what your web page visitors are looking at:

http://www.homenotion.com/blog/is-your-web-page-traffic-finding-what-theyre-looking-for/

3. Put Your Most Important Information Above the fold

Don’t make your visitors work for the good stuff.  Keep your best content, ideas and important links above the fold of your page.

If the content above the fold is dull and uninteresting most people won’t scroll down hoping it gets better.  They’ll just hit the back button.

4. Highlight Your Site’s Unique Selling Point

Your unique selling point or USP is a statement that sets you apart from your competitors.  It’s a simple statement that  gives your audience the confidence that you have what they need.  You could call it part of your branding. Your USP should point out clearly the benefits of your product or service.

For example, a few things that make you unique might be  helping someone save money or make more money.  Perhaps you can help them save time or do something quicker.   Maybe you can help someone with an ailment or overcome an inconvenience.  Are you noted for fast delivery, awesome customer service or top quality products?

What is it exactly that sets you apart from your competitors?

Know exactly what your target market is looking for and come up with a unique way to enter that market by demonstrating how you can help them, why you are different and why they should listen to you.

Then make that clear at the very beginning of your site.  Either in the header, headline or sub-headline of your site.

5. An Effective Website has a clear call to action.

Each page of your website or blog should have a purpose.  You might be offering some really great information but where are you going with that information?  Are you trying to sell or promote something,  get email sign-ups, encourage feedback, what is it?

Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask for it.  If you want a reader to make comment, ask for it.  If you want your reader to sign up for your free guide, ask them.  If you want your reader to take a look at another page, point them there with your link.

If your reader is engaged in your content and they’re finding value in what you’re telling them, they’ll be open to your call to action, so put it out there.

They make not take your suggestion, but the answers always no if you don’t ask, right? 

6. Your Content has to be easy to read, engaging and useful

That brings us to writing great content.  It all starts there.

You may not be especially good at writing, but the good news is that writing for your website or blog isn’t the same as writing a school paper or a college thesis.  What you write on your site should, of course contain good grammar and spelling, but it should connect personally with your reader in a simple and direct way.

Good content starts with offering useful information, preferably not information found everywhere on the web.  That’s why writing in your own voice,  demonstrating personal thoughts and taking a personal stand on specific topics is what works well on the web, it makes your content unique and interesting, and that’s what readers love.

Effective Writing Tips:  

  • Use no more than 2-3 sentences in a paragraph and space your paragraphs so they have plenty of white space between them.
  • Always keep text on a white background.  It might seem dull but it works best.
  • As for text size,  think of your audience.  If you’re market is retired folks, use a larger text size.   For most audiences however, the average size of 10 or 12 is acceptable.  Text that is too tiny  isn’t preferred even for the good eyes.

7. Compose an impressive and engaging ‘about me’ page

When people come to my site for the first time, about 70% of them look at my ‘about me’ page.

That’s not really surprising because visitors like to know who’s behind a site, they want a little background on who I am, what I do and why I created the site, especially if they like what they’re seeing.

Why is that important?

People are social by nature, so the more they can know about the person behind the curtain, so to speak, the more they will trust the site. This is especially important if you are in a niche where you are  mentoring, educating or coaching.

By creating an impressive about me page you can effectively demonstrate your personality, your commitment and your character.  If your visitors like you, they’ll trust you, and that goes a long way for creating a business and a website that is profitable.

8.  Effective websites capture their visitor’s email

If you don’t currently capture your visitors email addresses I have to ask you, “Why Not“?

If you can create your own opt-in email list, you’ll have an easy, yet effective way to keep your visitors coming back to your website.

Not every one of your site visitors will want to subscribe to your list, but that’s OK; those that do are the people that truly crave what you have to offer and those are the most targeted visitors you can have, so capitalize on that.

I rely heavily on my email list to connect personally with my readers and help gain their trust and confidence.  Of course I don’t spam them or annoy them by sending them garbage, which is what many email marketers use email for.  But if you use email for what it’s designed to do, it’s an effective and powerful tool

9.  Use Multimedia

This one’s tough for most of us, including myself :-)   The written word is powerful but don’t give up on things like video, audio and podcasts.

People are twice a likely to get all the way through a video or audio versus getting all the way through your blog post.

The other positive for using video and audio is that if someone can see you speak or hear your voice, they’ll feel a more intimate connection with you, and people prefer that.

10.  Link to social media Sites

Include social media links on your website or blog.  These give your readers the opportunity to comment or vote for content they enjoy on your site.  People love to share what they’ve learned or heard about so give them that chance.

If you have a WordPress blog there are plenty of plug-ins that make it easy to include links to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and others.  I like the Smart Sharing and DiggDigg WordPress Plugins, in fact I use Digg Digg on this site.

If you have a traditional website instead of a blog, all of the social networking sites offer free icons that you can place on your site that are easy to install.

Summing It All Up…

The real effectiveness of your website is how well you meet the objectives you have set for it and whether or not your visitors find what they need on your site quickly.

What things have improved the effectiveness of your website since first creating it:

 

 

Comments

  1. Oliver Tausend
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Liz,

    there speaks the experienced internet marketer – thanks for sharing your insights. It’s highly important that we view our website – our baby – with the eyes of our visitors. We will hardly view it objectively.

    I also agree that it is very important that the most important information is above the fold. I follow this simple rule however I want people to scroll down – if they don’t do that that’s OK, but their probably not the right visitors for me.

    Take care

    Oliver

  2. Hi Liz,

    Great post, most people, I am guilty of this myself, tend to only look at their website through their own eyes. Constructive criticism from your visitors should always be welcome. You need to listen to what they say about your site. Another set of eyes will always help you to optimize your site for your readers.

    I would find a friend who represents your target market and ask their opinion of your site.

    Thanks for sharing Liz!

    • Hi Ian, that’s the other side to all of this, listening to the feedback, accepting constructive criticism and taking action is all part of the equation. If you’re not going to listen then there’s not much point is there? Thanks for your feedback :-)

  3. HI Liz, you’ve given us lots to put on our checklist. I’ve been threatening to update my site … and I will be…soon…I hope….(can you feel the hesitation?) the problem is I have to put some time into plan it out… just one more thing to do!!

    I really enjoyed the post and will keep it handy … I might also ask for your review once I do!!

    Thanks

    Jayne

  4. Hey Liz,

    This is excellent! It’s surprising how easy it is to overlook some of the basic points you’ve mentioned, such as making it clear what your blog is about (that particular one took me a while!)

    I love that you’ve included some quite subtle elements in here like considering where the eye is drawn when you first look at the page. This is a really comprehensive list which will certainly benefit anyone looking to tweak their blog for better results!

    Well done, and thanks for sharing!

    Jym

    • Hey Jym, I like that part too, you’d be surprised where peoples eyes get drawn. There are the usual spots like the top and left but depending on what’s on your site, it could be somewhere completely different. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Marcus Baker
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Liz,

    You have done such a great job at providing comprehensive information in this post Liz!

    I have to say that while I think everything you have covered is important the one that jumps out at me is #1. I find it very tiresome when I am on a site and I have no idea what the site is about. In fact I often click away at this point.

    ~Marcus

  6. Hi Liz,

    These are great tips you are sharing here.

    Visitors to your website will decide whether or not they like it and want to stay in the first few seconds. Your goal should be to meet your visitors’ expectations and exceed them, otherwise they will hit the ‘back’ button in a heart beat!

    This post reminds me of my article about making your website attractive to your readers by implementing easy and proven to work strategies.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, Liz.

    All the best,
    Mavis

  7. Devesh
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Liz,

    Awesome points, as always. Fantastic job on providing quality information. You really rock ;) !

    Mailing list is something that blogger should miss. I’m regret of not starting it early.

    Anyways, Thanks for sharing this great Post. Have a great weekend.

    ~Dev

  8. Susanna Hess says:

    Exactly Liz,

    I think it’s great you started with the intent of your website. I’ve been to a few recently that made me scratch my head and wonder what in the world it was for.

    Each of those are important to keep in mind as you’re putting it together, and getting it off the ground.

    Wonderfully laid out, thank you!

    Susanna

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge