You don’t have to be a web designer to benefit from learning more about this topic. If you’re a business owner, you not only want a website, but a very effective one. The best way to achieve this goal is to consistently test and improve it.
Since you’ve already got a lot on your plate, you will likely delegate this task to an employee or contractor. While that’s a good decision, the person you delegate it to will still look to you for guidance. By keeping the following pieces of information in mind, you’ll be able to steer them in the right direction:
Quality or Bust: Pictures can make your website more effective. However, it’s important to understand that not all pictures are created equal. If you’re going to add one to your homepage or another key page on your site, make sure that it’s a high quality one (preferably of a smiling person). Also, you’re better off using a picture that looks like a “normal” person instead of a stock photography model.
Above the Fold Still Matters: In the past, usability experts always harped on the need for websites to display their most important content “above the fold.” One of the main reasons was since it took awhile for sites to fully load, many visitors didn’t scroll. While faster Internet speeds have made this a minor issue, the content that you put above the fold still serves as a type of snapshot that people use to form a first impression about your site.
It’s Not Just Your Homepage: When business owners decide to update their website, it’s common for most of their focus to be on their homepage. While there’s no denying the importance of a good homepage, Google sends visitors to many more pages than just that one. Whether you have a blog or a collection of articles, it’s worth testing how well their design is working. One way to get more out of your written content is to emphasize the first paragraph of every post or article. A study called Eyetrack III found that articles that began with a bold paragraph resulted in 95% of visitors continuing to read.
Remember Scanning: Because the Internet has so much to offer, people are always somewhat distracted as they’re browsing. This results in a lot of scanning instead of careful reading. Several eyetracking studies have found that the pattern people follow when they scan resembles an F. Adjusting elements to create a better fit with this pattern can increase the results your website delivers.
Know the Sweet Spot: The first place website visitors look is the upper left corner. If this spot doesn’t grab their attention, they’re going to hit the back button on their browser. Because this area of your site is so important, it’s worth testing different components in it. For example, you may want to test several different headlines to see which one is the most effective at keeping people around.