This may come as a surprise, but 52 percent of small businesses still don’t have a website. Many of those who do have a site rushed to get their site up on the Web and didn’t make it easy for visitors to use. A website with good usability should not be underestimated – it is essential for the success of any website. There are many elements every business website needs to succeed and good usability is one of them – it may enhance the performance of your website and support your business success – and of course, boost sales and business revenue.

There are several ways to improve website usability and create a seamless experience for its visitors. As you ponder how to revitalize your marketing materials and your business, start with your website. Here are six essential characteristics of a user-friendly website:

Mobile Compatibility

The number of people who access the Internet from their phone is steadily rising. This makes a mobile optimized website essential. First check to see how your existing website appears when viewed from a mobile phone. If you need to create a mobile version of your website, take advantage of web-based website builders and make it for free.

Accessible to All Users

A user-friendly website should be accessible to every single person – this includes the blind, disabled and elderly. These users usually rely on screen readers to access the Internet. Use web design techniques to make your website easily accessible on screen readers so your website is available to a wider audience.

Quick Load Times

Slow speed is one of the top reasons visitors leave a website. A load time of less than 6 seconds is crucial for good usability and also affects your search engine ranking. A free tool such as Pingdom can test the speed of your website and suggest how to improve your speed. Nothing frustrates website visitors more than slow load times.

Effective Navigation

Good navigation is an important aspect of website usability. The navigation needs to be free of clutter, so try to limit the number of menu items. A drop-down menu or sub-navigation may work better on a large site with many sections.

Content that is Easy to Scan

The majority of Internet users skim content on a Web page instead of reading every last word on the page. Users scan the key parts of the page to determine if the page is helpful and relevant to their needs. As you format your content, keep this in mind. Organize content based on audience needs and make the text easy for readers to scan with the use of headings, paragraphs, bullet points or lists.

Contrasting Color Scheme

Select your color scheme with care. The right contrast between the background and content is a basic, yet very important web design principle that is overlooked all too often. Good contrast, such as black text on a white background makes your content stand out and easy to read. However, colors with little contrast make the content and background blend together and reading becomes a challenge.

Your website should have good usability – it plays a vital role in the success of your website and your business. As you build your new website, or revamp your existing one make sure it displays usability characteristics in order to improve your chances of business success.

How have you made your business website more user-friendly?

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