So you’ve worked on your SEO and you have some site traffic. Great! But how many of your visitors leave your website without navigating beyond the landing page?
According to Google Analytics, the average bounce rate (the percentage of single-page website visitors) is 40%. Of the 60% who don’t ‘bounce,’ not all of these visitors will buy a product, fill in form, or read more about your business. Why?
Generally there are three reasons why users don’t engage with a website:
- They couldn’t easily find what they were looking for.
- They weren’t satisfied with what they found.
- The website was difficult to navigate.
A careful assessment of website design and usability can decrease your bounce rate. Customers like user-friendly sites, and if they have a good experience (for example with an eCommerce shop), then they’re likely to come back again.
But what should you focus on improving first? Web design, or “usability”?
This question has been a stumbling block for many site owners. In truth, however, design and usability go hand-in-hand. You can’t seriously focus on one while avoiding the other. Both play a significant role in building a user-oriented – and good-looking – website.
Here are the five primary aspects of your website that you should focus on first to improve your design and increase the usability of your site.
Before selecting a color scheme you should consider:
- Which colors are preferable for your target audience?
- If you have a construction company, then you might go with colors that are “traditional” for this industry – perhaps yellow and black, or natural colors. If you’re selling eco-safe washing detergents, you might want to go with green or other bright colors.
- Make sure that you use no more than four colors in your template, and make sure your text color contrasts well with your background color. Contrast improves readability.
Remember that less is more when it comes to website layouts:
- Don’t clutter your pages with pictures, banners, and sidebars simply because you are afraid of white space.
- Keep the elements of your layout (navigation menus, search bar) consistent throughout the website.
- A clear navigation structure and proper paragraph formatting helps visitors focus on the content that is most relevant and useful.
A website that’s a pleasure to browse is defined by two characteristics: legibility and readability.
Legibility is how easy it is to see the texts on your site, while readability is how easy it is to understand the content.
- To make it easier for visitors to scan your site, format your content using headers, bullet lists, and paragraphs that are no longer than five lines.
- Remember that using more than three different fonts distracts the reader. The same rule applies to font colors.
- It is advisable to limit the number of text colors to four. Any more, and your site will start looking like a 90’s-era advertisement.
We all have childhood memories of reading. And as a kid, books without pictures were boring! The same principle applies to adult visitors of your website. Quality images complement your content. Carefully choose images for your website that fit with your design style and appeal to your target audience.
The behavior of website visitors is very similar to the habits of customers in a physical retail store. Product visibility is the key to sales at Walmart, just as easy site navigation is the key to engaging visitors on your website.
- Follow the 3-click rule. Keep your navigation simple – no more than 3 levels deep. Visitors should ideally be able to navigate to any page of your site within 3 mouse clicks. The actual number of clicks required for some pages may be more; but it should always be clear where your are on the site and how you got there.
- Adding breadcrumbs to all site pages shows visitors the path they have navigated through your site to get to the current page.
- Place navigation elements both near the top of the page and in the footer.
- Add a Search box for faster access to content with keywords
- Make sure that navigational elements are easy to use on mobile devices.
Focusing on these five aspects of your website can make your site more appealing for visitors, decrease your bounce rate, and boost sales and engagements.