Simple Tips That Improve Your Website

Do you own a website? If so, there are several things you should do to make your website more user-friendly. This way, you can make the experience of visiting your website as enjoyable for your visitors as possible and you will have a greater chance of holding their interest and getting them to visit your site time and time again.

Include a Navigation Menu
If you have more than one page on your website, you need to make it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for. This means providing them with a navigation menu that is easy to find as well as easy to use. Not only should your navigation menu be located in a spot that is easy to find, you should also avoid requiring certain programs in order to use your navigation menu. Those that require JavaScript or the use of special images, for example, can make it difficult or even impossible for some people to navigate through your website.

Offer a Contact Method
Ideally, you should put some type of contact form on your website. Anyone who is able to access your site will also be able to get in contact with you. Simply providing an email address may not be sufficient because some of your site visitors may not have an email account. In addition, by placing a secure contact form on your website, you don't have to post your personal contact information online. This way, robots or other spammers will have a more difficult time flooding your inbox with unwanted junk mail.

Create a Meaningful Title
Your title element, or the title that is shown on your browser's title bar, should be meaningful to the person who is visiting your website. If possible, you should place the title of the content before the site name and you should give each page a title. This way, your site visitors can more easily find what they are looking for on your website.

Add a Site Map
If your website only consists of a few pages, a site map may not seem necessary because a navigation menu should be able to sufficiently help your visitors find the pages they need. Nonetheless, most websites grow significantly over time and will ultimately require a site map. Therefore, you should start building one right away. You don't have to create an obvious link to your site map if it only contains links to a few pages. Once your site map grows, however, you can place it in area where your visitors will be able to easily find it and use it to help them navigate through your website.

Utilize a Standardized Markup
Following web standards helps make the Internet as a whole easier to use while also making your website more accessible to your users. Be certain to use the right markup for the purpose it is meant to be used by using CSS, valid HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0/1.1. Avoid using tables or other outdated methods for building your website and you will enjoy much better results.

Make it Accessible to All
It is also in your best interest to make your website accessible to all users, which includes taking steps to make it easier for those with disabilities to use your website. While making a website accessible to people with disabilities is not legally required, it will help you reach a broader audience and will likely benefit those without disabilities as well.

Watch Your Weight
Although you may have a cable broadband connection to the Internet, keep in mind that this is not the same for everyone who uses the Internet. In fact, many people are still using the old dial-up method to access the Internet or they use distant DSL to get the job done. Keep them in mind when creating your website and stay away from making the site too heavy. Ideally, you should keep your upper limit to 100kb per page and you should reduce the number of images used on your site. If you want to create a site with all the bells and whistles, give your user the option of exploring a more simplified version of the site and make the home page easily accessible to all users regardless of their connection speed.

Utilize Headings
Headings can make your website much easier to browse through, so use them in a logical fashion throughout your website.

Customize Your Error Page
Rather than providing a generic error page that does not provide much useful information for visitors who get lost on your site, offer error pages that will help your visitors get back on track. With customizable error pages, you can provide a link back to your homepage, a navigation menu, a site map, contact information and more.

Add Jump Links
Jump links, which are also referred to as skip links, are links imbedded within your website that allow people without a mouse or pointer to still navigate through your website. Believe it or not, there are many people who do not have access to these technologies. By adding jump links, you can make certain your site can be navigated by all of your visitors.

Use a Robots.txt File
With the help of a robots.txt file, you can keep the search engine spiders from crawling through your entire website. Not only will this help conserve bandwidth, it can potentially help with your search engine ranking as well.

Make it Keyboard-Friendly
With the help of link focus, you can make your website more accessible to those who prefer to use their keyboard for navigating their web pages. With the help of link focus, you make it possible for your visitor to use his or her tab button to hop from link to link. Making your website more keyboard-friendly will be appreciated by those without a mouse as well a by those with one, as it is a convenient way to browse through what a website has to offer.

Obviously, there will always be more that can be done to make your website more user-friendly and welcoming to your site visitors. With these basic steps, however, you will significantly increase the usability of your website and increase the likelihood of your visitors coming back time and time again.


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