If you want to monetize your site more effectively, then it needs to be easy to use. Though many websites incorporate flashy graphics, fancy themes, and high-resolution images, these can have the opposite effect. Glamour design and clever tricks can confuse visitors and drive them away – remember, the website isn’t about you, it’s about your visitor.
Usability’s focus is on making a website goal-oriented, easy to learn, and easy to use. And the easier it is for them to accomplish their goals, the easier it will be to click on your call-to-action.
1. Keep Navigation Simple
Navigation in this case, refers to any menus on the site, whether they are on the side bars, headers, or in the footer. The recurring theme throughout this article is “ease of use,” so apply this when examining every element of your website design.
Rather than focusing on the aesthetics and innovation of a site, ask yourself whether it is easy to find what you’re looking for. Better yet, perform user testing. If you have the money to invest in remote user testing or eyetracking studies, they can be an excellent help.
Otherwise, split-test with friends and family, then ask them which versions of the site they prefer and why. Analytics can tell you how people acted on your site, but not why they left or failed to convert.
The most important question to ask yourself about navigation is: can users find what they’re looking for?
2. Use Clear Wording
Though not directly related to navigation, clear communication is one way to help users find what they’re looking for. Since web surfers are goal-oriented, they are visiting your website to complete a task or have a question answered.
Since people have such short attention spans, answer that question as soon as possible. Creative headlines should not be creative at the expense of communication. Content should also be concise. Use short sentences that answer questions. Then, at the right time, insert your calls-to-action.
Unclear wording also clutters navigation; when in doubt, go traditional. Navigation labels such as, “Discover,” “Explore,” and “The Journey,” may seem clever, but do they tell users what’s behind the label?
3. Don’t Use Irrelevant Images
On the visual side of things, relevance and clarity are still key. Decorative images are typically ignored, as are blatant stock photos and anything that looks like advertising. So only use images that are immediately relevant, such as product pictures, graphs, and so on.
Since images can be digested in a split-second, people actually spend more time reading content. So, while images can create a visually pleasing site, the focus should still remain on the written content. This is another reason why “glamor design,” or design that is pretty for its own sake, doesn’t convert.
4. Optimize Your Site’s Performance
Another aspect that is often overlooked by website owners is site performance. Page loading time, for example, can cause up to a 7% drop in sales.
Every year, people have higher and higher expectations regarding website performance and page load time is a critical factor that affects bounce rate. If your page doesn’t load after only a few seconds, more than 25% of people will leave your website.
Web hosting is one reason that web pages load slowly, but there are other factors as well, such as the distance to the hosting provider and the code used on your page. Google’s PageSpeed Insights and several other tools can give you more ideas about how to fix pages that load slowly.
5. Include Calls-to-Action on Every Page
A call-to-action such as, “Enter your name and email to receive your FREE search monetization tool,” is the end goal. Your job as a website owner is to funnel all of your users towards a call-to-action.
Nowadays, website owners and bloggers are becoming more marketing-savvy; they understand how critical it is to have a call-to-action. And though it is possible to test, optimize, and over-optimize your call-to-action, what’s most important is that you have one that is clearly visible.
When you create a call-to-action, follow the second tip: be clear and concise. And, when you place it on the page, follow the first tip: make it findable.
There is quite a bit of emphasis on split-testing and on-site optimization in order to increase conversion rates. One of the best ways to improve conversion rates, guide the split-testing process, and monetize your site is to create a website that is easy to use.