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female using computer in officeAfter working hard to make your website easier to find in online searches, the last thing you want is to drive visitors away because of a poor user experience after they’ve arrived.

“Good design, usability, and user experience are more important than ever in website development,” shares SCORE mentor and technology professional, Matthew Krieger. “It’s a constant fight for visitors’ attention—any delay, complexity, or friction whatsoever could prompt users to leave your site. I often see companies put too many barriers in front of customers—overly complex signup processes, excessively strict forms, surveys with too many questions, etc. These things hurt the engagement process and can result in a lost sale.”  Here are two basic things you can do to help give your website visitors a positive experience:

 

Pay attention to the loading speed of your pages.
Findings released by Akamai Technologies, Inc. revealed that nearly half of Internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds and 40 percent are likely to abandon a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. If your website pages load slowly, your business could be missing out on potential sales—and that could hurt your business’s bottom line.  According to Krieger, “Page load time and, perhaps more importantly, page responsiveness are very important to visitor perception and can ultimately impact engagement. Additionally, Google considers page performance in their ranking algorithm. There’s a balance to be struck between the desire to include advertisements, analytics mechanisms, and other page widgets (all of which can benefit the business) and the necessity of creating a fast site and a good experience for the user.”

 

Be direct and clear with your content.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, “On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.”  To help make sure your readers are taking away what you want them to know about your company, products, and services, you need to get to the point. They don’t have time to sift through endless blocks of text or waste time on irrelevant content. Make it easy for readers to find what they want by breaking text into sections with clearly defined headings and subheadings. Also, give your web page text some white space to make it less cluttered and easier for visitors to read. A website’s information architecture—the art and science of structuring and presenting digital information to achieve good usability is important to consider when developing your content.
Furthermore, the need for a clear and focused message is greater than ever,” explains Krieger. “Given the overwhelming amount of digital content competing for people’s time, delivering value quickly should be a focus.” If you’re looking for insight on these tips or numerous other aspects for improving your website, contact SCORE.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped over 9 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.  This SCORE article was excerpted from a SCORE blog. To see more, visit http://www.score.org/blog.