Our team at Webdesigndom doesn’t just provide web services and consulting to our clients in Montreal and elsewhere but is happy to freely share some of our expertise.
So, check this Knowledge Base. Here (and in our blog posts) you can find useful, and hopefully interesting, articles and some valuable tips on web design, SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), UX, branding and other related topics – to help you make the right decisions. Not just about designing a new website but how to improve your existing one – better website structure, UX, SEO, PPC, higher rankings – all leading to more traffic and better business.
Any additional questions? Contact us. We’ll be happy to assist.
5 More Vital Signs of Great User Experience
Welcome back. If you read the first 4 Vital Signs of Great User Experience, you’ll like these 5, too (hopefully). So, here they are.
5. Great content.
Content is central to any website. Good content is relevant, informative, gives the message and tells the story. Great copy is not necessarily short, as long as it “flows well”. It should be easy to read, broken up into short, easy-to-digest paragraphs, with interesting headlines and sub-headlines. And of course, good grammar and spelling are definitely called for …
Content should also be engaging and interesting. It can be classy, funny, emotional, cute, whatever. As long as it keeps the user reading. This will make him feel comfortable (remember: it’s about good user experience!). But it should never be boring (though that could be a challenge if you sell high-pressure valves, ISO 9000-certified CNC machining software, or books on calculus …).
Interesting copy (which you can further spice up with great RSS feeds, blog posts, contests, quizzes etc.) will keep users on your website much longer, will engage them and actually make them look forward to returning. Converting them into customers won’t be far off !
Great content is also key for good SEO and higher search result rankings. We have already touched upon that subject in our Google Strikes Back article. A further article will follow in the near future.
6. Irresistible offers.
It goes without saying that well photographed, persuasively and clearly described and yes, logically arranged, items and services give excellent UX. That, plus super terms, special discounts, or time-limited offers can add up to an irresistible package. That’s from a user-friendliness point of view.
From a business perspective, a word about prices: naturally, pricing is key – though this doesn’t mean that the lowest prices are always the winners. Pricing is a chapter (or a whole book!) to itself, and a web designer who has extensive business experience can be a major asset in building a successful website.
7. Feeling safe.
If a visitor doesn’t know your company, he will want to be credibly reassured he’s dealing with a reputable vendor. After all, he will usually have to pay up front, at least for merchandise. It will help if you provide testimonials, and any memberships in business associations or Chambers of Commerce. You also need to clearly state your terms, price and quality (if applicable). Important: an iron-clad satisfaction guarantee and a generous return / refund policy.
8. Great communication.
Imagine a visitor who walks into a store but can’t find the information she wants and can’t even get to talk to a knowledgeable staff member. We would put the chances of her becoming a customer as pretty slim, to put it mildly.
A website is no different. There should be comprehensive and detailed information in the first place. But for those who need more info, there must be a user-friendly infrastructure in place for quick, ideally instant, and, if at all possible, personal assistance. Nowadays, anything else is bad user experience.
9. First-class e-commerce (if applicable to your website).
A stable, logical, easy to navigate e-commerce system that makes it all a breeze: shopping carts, saved items, purchases, payments, shipping, returns, and follow-ups. All with confidentiality in place. And continued communication.
We guess that’s pretty self-explanatory.
We hope you found this article useful. Did we leave anything out?
Questions? Comments? Challenges? Reach out to us. We’re here to help.
>>> Read the first 4 Vital Signs of Great User Experience
>>> Read the other 2 parts of this User Experience series:
Part 1: Why User-Friendliness is a Must
Part 3: Google Strikes Back
>>> Access All Knowledge base articles.
User Experience – Part 3: Why Google Insists on Quality Web Design
In the past User Experience articles, we discussed in Part One the importance of a user-friendly website ; and in Part Two we listed the 9 keys for great User Experience (actually we split them up, for your better user experience [ :) ], into 4 key ingredients and 5 more key ingredients.
Part Three (this part) tells you why search engines (and like usual, we mainly mean Google) favour websites that offer good user experience. This will get a bit political (and more), and if it reads like a conspiracy or a financial thriller, the better …
Well, by “conspiracy” we don’t mean anything sinister. That would be an exaggeration. On the other hand, to say Google “prefers” user-friendly websites would be an understatement. They virtually insist that a website be user-friendly – or else it will get downgraded in search results. Of course, nobody likes “bad” websites. But to actually penalize websites for being user-unfriendly?
Why is that, and what’s their game?
Anybody who thinks that Google is just the enthusiastic, benign traffic cop of the web, is sorely mistaken. Nor are they the innovative idealists who love a perfect cyberspace, and simply want to educate a generation of web designers to create good user experience. Think again.
Google is a business. Sure, it’s very friendly (and user-friendly). Sometimes a bit controversial as it’s ambitious and powerful, but by and large very useful to billions of people; image conscious and socially aware, too.
But in the final analysis Google means business. Cold, hard business. As such, it does what’s best for itself. Now what generates the overwhelming majority of Google’s revenues? The answer is: advertising, such as Google Adwords and associated programs.
The following figures were pulled from Google’s own financial reports page, https://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html and other relevant sources.
Total Revenue 2014: USD 66 Billion.
Total Revenue 2015: USD 74.6 Billion.
Total Revenue 2016: USD 89 Billion
Revenue 2017 (Est.): USD 97 Billion (Extrapolated & estimated by Webdesigndom)
Google Adwords revenue as a percentage of total revenue (for each of the 4 years): a whopping 90 + %. Yes, that’s Ninety. Not too shabby.
It’s for those dozens of billions of dollars that Google is so strict about the quality of websites.
Now let’s analyze this. Would a visitor spend a lot of time on a user-unfriendly website? Most likely not.
Why does Google reward good content and good user experience? Firstly, because it keeps users on the site longer. And the longer they stay, the more Google Adwords ads they will see that are hosted on that site … of course, the more ads they are then likely to click. And each clicked ad is money into Google’s coffers.
Secondly, the better quality a website that hosts those ads, the higher quality (and more costly per click) ads it will attract.
Thirdly, better traffic will lead to more sales, and more sales will lead to a higher degree of preparedness by Adwords customers to spend even more on clicks. It’s like a virtuous circle, and a win-win for everyone – not least for Google.
It’s in this context that the famous Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird “updates” by Google (banning millions of low quality websites) must be understood. Not to mention Google’s insistence that non-Responsive, i.e.: mobile-unfriendly, websites will be downgraded in search results. It all boils down to the simple principle: higher quality, user-friendlier websites equal higher Google revenue.
All that said, we won’t argue the point that high quality websites are simply better for everyone. They are. And any business should strive for such sites. After all, who wouldn’t want better traffic and better business?
From this angle, Google is actually doing something beneficial for the web business community.
Read the 2 previous parts of this series:
>>> Access all our Knowledge base articles
Webdesigndom’s SEO Follow-up Tips for 2016
This little article is not about how to plan or perform great SEO … for that topic, we’d need many, many big articles, probably a whole book! Here we’re just trying to give you (the business owner, CEO or manager) a few good tips what to look out for after SEO has been implemented.
As we repeatedly mentioned (read our SEO vs. PPC article), SEO is not a one-shot deal. Ranking progress, status and SEO quality requires constant ongoing monitoring and fine tuning, for 3 reasons:
a) Never rest on your laurels. Nothing is ever perfect. There’s always place for new ideas and constant improvements.
b) Google’s rules and algorithms can (and do) change, sometimes drastically. Websites have to adjust if they want to stay in the loop (and avoid getting downgraded).
c) Your competitors aren’t sleeping. They spend a lot of time and money keeping and improving their good search rankings. Can you afford to stay behind?
Yes, you do need an SEO expert for the ongoing follow-up process. But website SEO monitoring, while of course not free of charge, is not necessarily expensive. What’s expensive is not to monitor.
Your SEO specialist, in-house or on contract, will the check the website’s dynamic progress and make the necessary changes and updates. Still, it’s good for any business owner or manager to know, in broad outlines, what’s involved. Then you can have an intelligent talk with your SEO person and address the issues that are most urgent or important for you. The list below is a decent guide but (sorry!) can’t be complete in this space.
So, here goes (in short points).
- Use Google Analytics to pinpoint any traffic problems, duration of site (and page) visits, bounce rates, etc.
- Keep checking and updating the keywords for which the website wants to be found.
- Check your rankings (on Google, Yahoo and Bing) for each of your main keywords. For your rankings in other countries, check those search engines’ international websites for results.
- Check the same for your main competitors.
- Verify how many pages of your site have been indexed, performing Google Site search. Simply type into the browser bar the following: site:www.mywebsite.myextension, adjust for your website’s details, and hit Enter. Google will display all your web pages they have indexed. This is not a cure-all but it will give you a good idea about how well your site is structured and linked.
- Make sure you don’t have broken links within your website. Broken links make it a frustrating user experience for your visitors to navigate (read our article on user experience and user-friendliness), throw search engine crawls off the track, and can even hurt your site’s search rankings.
- Check your external links for inaccessible content. You don’t want outgoing links that are “dead”.
- Using appropriate tools, make sure your back links (i.e.: links pointing to your website) are desirable for you. Low quality back links can hurt your website.
We hope this little article was useful for you.
Question? Comments? Challenges? Reach out to us. We’re good listeners and are here to help.