Patience Is (Not) a Virtue: Increasing the Likability of Your Website
Let's face it. Our society is not exactly a patient one. We expect things fast and quick and hassle free, and this is no exception when we go online. If you have a personal or small business website, you want your readers to have a pleasant experience and leave happy. Here are some ways to achieve just that.
Assess page speed, and do something about it
Page speed should always be a top priority if you want visitors return to your website, so using something like Google PageSpeed Insights to assess current speed is vital. You simply enter the URL and Google will analyze the content of the website and generate suggestions on ways to make your page faster and better performing. And while Google takes multiple factors into consideration, Page speed can also affect your SEO rankings, as explained in an article in Search Engine Land: "When someone conducts a Google search - on any device or browser - Google considers the page speed of the relevant matches, and delivers a ranking bonus to the speediest," and then "they reorder the results - moving your page up or down - based, in part, on load times."
In addition, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group, as cited by Busines2Community, "A 1-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions," so keep readers happy by monitoring your page speed.
Optimize your content, but don't go SEO crazy
Fresh and relevant content is your first priority, but if you are already faithfully maintaining the content of your website, it's time to consider a few other factors.
Yes, you want your pages to rank high up on search engine searches, but keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and ticks off your readers. Using keywords wisely, as in placing them in the title, heading, or concluding paragraph, is still a good idea but a few valuable and relevant keywords is all you need. Placement is more important than quantity, and your reader will become quite frustrated if they read the same keyword phrase over and over and over again.
In short, to optimize your posts the key is quality. In addition to quality keywords, focus on quality links that offer your readers a service; maybe a link to a website that illustrates content from your site, or that supports your content in some way. Readers do not like to be tricked into clicking on anchor text that takes them to irrelevant or useless content. Quality links will also help you in SEO rankings.
Mind your site and get organized
There's nothing worse than a disorganized website that leaves you feeling, well, just confused. Both website design and content organization can make or break your website, but here are a few ways to clean up your act.
First, use categories correctly; to help readers find relevant content. This means organizing your content into logical categories and combing "through your old posts to make sure they have unique and relevant title tags, URLS and meta descriptions," as suggested in an article on Forbes on ideas for driving traffic to your website.
Next, consider the layout of your website. Your home page and about page are probably the most important pages since these are the first impressions readers have of what you are all about. The home page should include questions that answer who, what, when, where, why and how. Including a tagline is also a helpful way to sum up what you're all about. The about page is perhaps the most visited page, so this is your chance to showcase background information, include images, and really show off the personality of your website.
Finally, your navigation bar should also be logical and helpful. After all, it's to help readers to navigate through your website.
Share nicely with social media
Integrating social media onto your site is a must, but there are some general guidelines to follow so that you do not drive your readers crazy. First, as suggested in an article on integrating social media by SocialMedia Examiner, include visible social media buttons on your website, but don't feel the need to include every single social media channel out there. A few top ones like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, should be sufficient, depending of course on your content (and that's another thing: choose social media channels that are in fact relevant to your content).
Giving your readers the opportunity to share is smart, but don't clutter up your website with a ton of social media buttons (which should be arranged to the top, bottom or along the side of your home page by the way). And by creating social media buttons or links, readers can open your social media pages in new windows, without exiting your website completely.
Of course another benefit of integrating social media and using it wisely for your website would be increased web traffic. Social media is fantastic for increasing web traffic as it affords visitors the option to share and comment, so make your readers happy and have a place for them to interact with you and the content.
Follow Alyssa B. Sellors on Twitter