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5 Website Must Haves for an Excellent User Experience

By Lydia Barley

With so much talk about SEO and optimising for search engines, it’s easy to forget about optimising for users and ensuring that your website provides everyone with an excellent user experience. An excellent user experience is not only crucial for increasing conversion rates and having happy customers. User experience is crucial to Google and is frequently referenced within the webmaster guidelines. 3 of the 4 basic principles listed in the webmaster guidelines mention the user. These 3 principles are listed below:

  1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  2. Don’t deceive your users.
  3. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

Since Google cares about user experience, you should to. An excellent user experience will also ensure the greatest return on your SEO efforts. If you’re bringing in a lot of traffic but have no conversions due to a poor user experience, those SEO efforts and all of that traffic is a waste.

Now that you know how important an excellent user experience is, let’s jump into 5 website must haves that can assist in building an excellent user experience.

1. HTML Sitemap

A HTML sitemap is a dedicated page on a website that contains a visual representation of the contents and navigation within your website through a collection of links. HTML sitemaps are created and available for viewing by website visitors to help them navigate through a website. They are important because they allow users to find any page within your site quickly, providing the user with a clear outline of your content. A HTML sitemap also provides search engine spiders an additional channel of crawling and indexing all the available pages on the site.

jb-hi-fi-sitemap

2. Device Compatibility

People use a range of different devices to access your website, whether that be on their smartphone, their computer or their tablet. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your website is compatible for all devices so that everyone can use and navigate throughout your site, no matter what device they’re on.

There are many tools that can allow you to see if your website is compatible with different devices, including the Toggle Device Toolbar in Google Chrome. Want to find out how to use the toggle device toolbar in Google Chrome? Watch this video:

3. Clear Navigation

Website navigation acts as a roadmap for visitors, guiding them and providing a clear direction on where they should go to meet their needs. If the navigation of your website is clear, visitors will have a better user experience, and with that they are more likely to stay on your website. In contrast, a jumbled site results in stress, confusion and irritation which in turn results in the visitor clicking off your site and moving onto your competitors.

Pretend to be in the mind of your customers as you navigate through your website. Can you easily find the products that you desire quickly and easily? Can you find the company’s details quickly and easily? Do you find yourself getting ‘lost’ on the website? Putting yourself in the mind of a customer can highlight any navigation issues you may have on your website.

4. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a small text path that consists of a series of links that highlight a users position in the site hierarchy. Breadcrumbs allow a user to retrace their steps from your home page to the page that they’re currently viewing. Including breadcrumbs will not only aid user navigation but can also help search engines get a clearer picture about your site’s structure and relevance.

jb-hi-fi-breadcrumbs

5. Security

Imagine this, you click onto a website and the first thing that pops up is ‘warning connection is not secure’. What do you do? It’s likely that you immediately click away. But if you do continue through to the site, you can’t get that warning message out of your head. Is my computer now compromised? Does this site have viruses? Will I get a virus? Will they steal my data? The list of potential worries is endless. Hence why website security is crucial for user experience. A lack of security will break down the trust that the user has in you and your website.

unsecure-website

 

By now you should recognise that optimising your website for users is equally, if not, more important that optimising for search engines. A fantastic user experience, matched with search engine optimisation, will work wonders on your website. Making it a machine that not only brings in a considerable amount of visitors to your business but also a considerable amount of customers (and profit!).

 

Categories: SEO