By Janet Attard
Getting visitors to your Web site is only half the battle. To be effective, your Web site has to be structured to help visitors easily find their way around. If it isn't, visitors will click on to some other site and never give yours a second thought. Yet all it takes is some careful planning to make sure your visitors can find their way around without too much difficulty. To be sure your site is easy to use, go through the site and ask yourself the questions in the lists below. Then, show the site to someone who has never seen it before. Ask that person the answers to the questions below, too.
For all sites
- Can visitors find information easily?
- Is the navigation clear and consistent throughout the site?
- Does the back button always take them back to the preceding page?
- Can visitors bookmark individual pages?
- Do the pages load quickly (10 to 20 seconds) on standard modem connections?
- Can visitors easily find out who runs the site?
- Can visitors easily find an email address to contact if they have difficulties using the site?
- Are the most important elements of your site visible without scrolling up and down or from side to side on screens set to 600 x 800 size?
- Does the site look good and work from both Netscape and IE browsers (4.0 versions and up)?
- Do you have alternate text tags under graphics (to allow visitors who are blind or who have graphics turned off to find important links)?
For ecommerce sites
- Can visitors tell immediately what you sell?
- Can they quickly find products and product descriptions?
- Are there links to related products (accessories to wear with a ladies suit, for instance)?
- Can they tell what to click on to place an order?
- Can they find your phone number from every page in case they have a question?
- Can they find your name and address, and fax number?
- Can they find your email address?
- Can they find price information?
- Can they find information about the company and its management?
- Can they find any other important information you want them to have?
About the Author
Janet Attard is the founder and CEO of www.BusinessKnowHow.com, a popular small business Web site that provides ideas and strategies for growing a business and making it profitable. The site attracts 3 million visitors a year, contains thousands of free articles about sales, marketing, internet marketing, business finance, ecommerce and all phases of starting and growing small and home businesses. Janet is a small and home business expert and has authored several books for business owners and startups. Visit Business Know-How and sign up for their free newsletter at www.BusinessKnowHow.com.