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After expending the effort 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,” says 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 three basic things you can do to help give your website visitors a positive experience:

Give visitors space

White space is good! Creating enough space between your paragraphs and images allows the viewer to be more likely to absorb all of the features your site and business have to offer.

Controlling the white space through the design layout keeps users focused on the content and controls the way in which your user flows through your site. There’s great deal of visual competition taking place on the Web;and mobile devices are small screens, so be mindful that less is more. Controlling the white space enhances the user experience and increases your return from the website.

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 loads slowly or isn’t mobile friendly, 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 user engagement. Additionally, Google considers page performance in their ranking algorithm.”

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 percent of the words during an average visit; 20 percent 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. And make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.

“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.”

Besides these tips, there are numerous other ways to improve your website. If you’re looking for insight on that or other aspects of marketing, reach out to the Northern Arizona SCORE chapter for guidance and expert resources.

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To help improve your customer’s website experience or to get your own SCORE mentor, call 928-778-7438, email scoreoffice@scorenaz.org or go to www.northernarizona.score.org.

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