Tips on making a noticeable — and usable — website

Congratulations! You have a website to promote your business, school, event, or other organization or activity. But what should you put on it? How should you organize it so that people can find what they need to find easily?

One of the most important things you need to know about visitors to your website is that they stay for only 10 to 20 seconds, unless given a reason to stay longer. This means that you need to put your important information up front and be as concise as possible.

Make sure to put the purpose of your site is noticeable at the top of the page – perhaps by making it bold, larger text, near or on top of a high-quality image, or in another eye-catching fashion. If people can’t tell why your webpage is useful in about 10 seconds, they’re likely going to leave.

If your website has multiple pages on it (and if you have a lot of information on it, it should!), make sure that you add navigation going either horizontally across the top of the page or vertically down the left side of the page. Also, make navigation labels as clear and concise as possible. Users should have a good idea of what they are clicking on.

Make pages as self-contained as possible. If you’re running an event, have a page for registration information, including how to register, how much it costs to register, when the registration deadline is, etc. If you have a schedule, make that its own page.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but generally if a user can look at a page and think, “Okay, I want the schedule, and this is the page with the schedule on it,” instead of, “Where is the schedule information on this long page with a lot of information?” They’re  more likely to find what they need and to not leave your page in frustration.

Finally, let’s talk about images. Images are good – if they are high quality and are of actual people. Users are likely to pay less attention to images that clearly have a model or are stock photos. Larger and better quality photos are better than smaller and/or low quality photos. Just make sure that if you add photos to your website, they don’t push the information people are actually looking for too far down the page.

And one final note on images: Never put text as part of an image. If you want to put text over an image, style your website so that text is placed on top of an already existing image. It both looks better and is more accessible to visitors with sight disabilities.

Hopefully by following these simple steps, you can get yourself off to a good start by creating a website that will both attract visitor’s attention and give them the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

For additional resources on this topic, you can check out the following websites:

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