Is your website dead, or just sleeping?
January 17, 2014
Todd Henderson

Is your website dead, or just sleeping?

Is it usable?

Usability is a big umbrella. Everything in this article (and more) fall under usability. It sounds ridiculous to even say this, but if your site isn’t usable, it won’t be used.

  • Use headings to mark up important topics
  • Use bullet points so people can scan
  • Add a search to your site
  • Make your navigation be the best it can be
  • And please, please don’t use miniscule font sizes!

Is it responsive?

There are few things more frustrating to users of small wireless devices than scrolling every which way on a website designed for 960 pixels wide. Add insult to injury by making them zoom in and out, and you’ve got a recipe for the back button — off your site.

  • Make some designs for different width screens
  • Don’t get hung up on specific devices, but think instead of just being flexible.
  • Graphics should resize in a pleasing way
  • Text should reflow to be readable
  • Keep it simple

Is it focused?

Get rid of non-essentials that might distract your site’s users. You got them to your site somehow, now give them what they came for. Be concise, be clear. Don’t use industry jargon or hip, trendy talk, unless your audience does. Can your copy be trimmed down? Do you really need all those images to illustrate your point? Chances are you can lose them and gain focus and clarity.

Is it sociable?

Do you make it easy for your site’s users to share your content? Are you making your site friendly and approachable by adding videos and pictures of your customers and employees using your products in genuine ways? You may not think it’s appropriate for your business, but have you tried? You might be surprised at how well friendly faces engage people.

Is it direct?

Do you ask your visitors to order from you, or are you too subtle and sly for that? I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to be too obvious on a business website. Ask them for their order, their engagement, their phone call. Promote your phone number and email everywhere. Don’t take my word for it, do an A/B test and find out what wording on that button works best for you! You are tracking this stuff, right?

Is it fast?

I left this one for last because it’s arguably the most important, and will likely only become more so. Attention spans are not what they used to be. We are getting more impatient. Even though our devices are getting faster and our bandwidth is increasing, so are page sizes. It’s been proven over and again that people will abandon a site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less. To implement the following can get technical, but don’t glaze over. Ask your creative and digital teams for help.

  • Use image sprites. (No, not magical fairies. Sprites are images within a single image.)
  • Compress all page assets as much as possible (images, HTML, styles, JavaScript, Video, Audio).
  • Minimizing page asset requests. The more of the above you have on the page, the slower the site loads.
  • Use a content delivery network. It will serve up your site assets faster than your server can.