Last week I started our conversation on website usability. Now that you have answered the three important questions I talked about – and you know what your site\’s goal is, who your target audience is, and what your resources are – we can proceed.

All website development and design should fall under those aforementioned three things. You shouldn\’t do anything that doesn\’t get you closer to your goal of sales or popularity. You shouldn\’t do anything that your audience wouldn\’t accept or like. And you can\’t do anything for which you don\’t have resources. This all is pretty straightforward.

What is the foremost thing that you should take care of? Content. Content should be useful and well-written, and it shouldn\’t contain any errors, either grammatical or factual. The content should also be original, easy to read, and interesting. Besides all this, the content of your site should be SEO-friendly. (I wrote about SEO-friendly copywriting in a previous post.)

Also important is your website\’s design, which includes various elements:   Layout, color, style, images, font, logo, banners, and more. I\’ll discuss these in further detail later. For now, just understand that website design is very important, as content alone will not get you to your goal.

Another important aspect of website usability is website development, or Web programming. Website development includes structure, navigation, internal linking, feedback, order, e-commerce solutions, CMS (content management systems), scripts, and W3C compliance. All of these require special attention; for now, know that without professional development, you can\’t have a successful site.

There are two more things I want to mention today.

First, always look at your competition. You should know your rivals in order to successfully compete against them; but you can also borrow some of their findings for your own site. No one can legally protect layouts, styles, or navigation menus. See what works for your competition – and might also work for you.

Second, always test your implementations in the real world. This is rather easy; for example, you can use Google\’s  Website Optimizer. Other methods include live beta-testers (preferably those representing your target audience), surveys, and other tools for A/B. Testing is vital for website usability.

Next time we will take a closer look at some of the website usability elements that I have mentioned in this post.

Shavkat Karimov
Internet Marketing Manager
mobileStorm, Inc.
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