User friendly website elements

8 Key Elements of a User-Friendly Website

Published on April 15, 2021. Updated on June 20, 2022.

For most small businesses, the perfect website is one that leads to increased customer conversions, whether it's more phone calls, more leads or more sales. While there are plenty of different ways to achieve this, perhaps the most important element to focus on when building a small business website is making it as user-friendly as possible. You can take a number of different routes to enhance user experience when piecing together a new website, but the key is to know which elements to include to ensure a solid end product.

So, exactly what makes a small business website user-friendly? Here are eight "musts" that you need to include if you want to build sites that will help your clients succeed.

1. Mobile-Friendly Design

In today's world, the chances that someone might log onto a website from a phone or tablet as opposed to a laptop or PC are extremely high. In fact, approximately half of all website traffic comes from a mobile device. If visitors have trouble accessing your site from a smartphone or need to pinch and zoom to read content, they will likely move on to the competition.

Making a website "mobile-friendly" is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity for businesses that are serious about getting ahead. If your website doesn't operate fluidly on all devices, you will inevitably end up alienating a large portion of daily visitors. Thankfully, if you're building websites on SiteSwan, you don't need to worry mobile compatibility. Every site is automatically mobile optimized so it looks and works great on smartphones.

2. Simple Navigation

If a website is difficult to navigate, it's already set up for failure. Moving from page to page or hopping across links should be a clear, easy process that requires no outside explanation to the user. If visitors are unsure of where to find the information they are looking for on your site, they will quickly abandon their search altogether.

As a general rule of thumb, it's best to start with a minimalist navigation design and build from there. Create page names that are relevant to the content found on that page. For larger sites, use drop-down menus to organize content and make it easier for visitors to find what they need.

3. Easily Accessible Contact Information

Letting visitors get in touch with someone from an organization's website should be as simple and straightforward as possible. However, one of the biggest mistakes small businesses (and web designers) make is not making contact information clearly accessible on a site. Some bury it in the footer, limit it to a single page on the site, and many forget to include it altogether.

In addition to a traditional "Contact Us" page, you may want to pepper the rest of your pages with phone numbers, email addresses, contact forms and any other applicable methods for getting in touch. Making it easier for visitors to contact you will lead to more calls, more clicks and more customers.

With SiteSwan's new and improved Instant Site Creation Tool, you can build professionally designed, full-functionally websites with a prospect or client's basic business information (business name, phone number, and address) strategically populated throughout the website within 60 seconds. This tool takes the guesswork out of web design and allows you to build personalized websites faster and easier than ever before. 

4. Clear Calls to Action

A call to action (CTA) is essentially a short instructional phrase to help guide the reader toward specific actions on your website – whether it's getting in touch, requesting an estimate, scheduling an appointment or making a purchase. These calls to action should also reflect your overall website goals.

What action do you want visitors to take when visiting your site? Looking to generate more leads for a construction company? "Request a Free Estimate" would be a good CTA. Want to boost online sales for a restaurant? "Click Here to Order Online" is a simple CTA. Want to collect customer information? "Submit your information below to learn more" is a simple call to action.

Keeping CTAs clear and actionable can make a big difference when it comes to getting new business, and practically every page on the site offers an opportunity to include an effective call to action phrase.

5. Limited Distractions

Gone are the days when excessive pop-ups, music playing in the background and other distractions were embraced both by designers and business owners as a way to grab a user's interest. These do nothing but turn most people off and can actually be damaging to the overall functionality of the website.

"Flash" is no longer supported on most browsers or smartphones. Google will penalize a site for using too many popups and can affect your search engine ranking. If you want to create a user-friendly website, it's best to keep distractions to a minimum – the fewer, the better.

6. Browser Compatibility

There are many different internet browsers available today, each of which claims millions of users. Chrome, Firefox and Safari are just a few of the most popular browsers. With this in mind, a website has to look good and work well across all (or at least the majority of) possible browsers; it's not good enough that it works in Chrome if it breaks in Safari, for example. Ensuring cohesive browser compatibility will lead to a far more stable user experience in the long run.

Did you know that all SiteSwan websites are cross-browser tested? That means your sites will look and work great on all browsers and operating systems with perpetual compatibility.

7. Clear, Concise, Relevant Content

A website that doesn't provide value simply has no place on the Internet of today; there is enough junk and spam out there already. Not to mention, the attention span of today's user is shorter than ever, which means you need to get your point across as quickly and effectively as possible. Keeping content (especially text) clear, concise and relevant is a hallmark element of any well-made website, and this should be your main goal throughout the design process.

Focus on crafting content that reflects your target customer. What do your site visitors expect to see? Speak directly to your customer in a language and manner that they can easily understand.

8. Fast Load Times

Speaking of short attention spans, there's no better way to lose traffic than to build a website that takes forever to load. Giant blocks of texts, images, embeds and other data-heavy elements can dramatically increase the amount of time it takes for a page to load. By keeping these to a minimum, you may be able to reduce load times significantly.

SiteSwan websites are built with speed in mind using the recommended building processes and programming preferred by search engines like Google. Don't be fooled by those phony speed tests. These tests rely on artificial intelligence that is highly inaccurate. Companies will use these tests to try to sell you a "plug-in" or service that you don't need. The best way to check your site speed is to test it yourself on an actual device.

Build User-Friendly Websites with SiteSwan!

When building websites for small businesses, while it is very important to have a visually appealing website, you must also pay attention to how user friendly the site is. Choose a website builder that takes care of user-friendliness for you. The Themes that SiteSwan offers makes it incredibly easy to design and launch user-friendly websites without having to even think about it. If you focus on customizing SiteSwan Themes for your customers, you can breeze through the design process all while putting your client a step or two ahead of the competition.

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