Usability

Mike Fleming

Planning a New Website? Don't Launch It Until You Do This

Can you imagine how happy your website users would be if they were always able to complete the tasks they came for easily and efficiently? Can you imagine how your bottom line would be affected? A major problem with the way a website is planned and built is that it typically starts with decision makers and web developers/designers looking around at industry & competitor's websites - reacting favorably or unfavorably, creating their own version, suggesting changes and repeating until all decision makers are happy. Then comes site launch. This seems reasonable and normal....

Jayson DeMers

The Top 7 SEO Web Design Methods to Increase Visibility

To benefit from optimal search engine rankings (increased visibility, higher traffic, and improved sales), many effective tactics exist. If you incorporate these strategies into your websites as you build and maintain them, your business stands the best chance of SEO dominance over the competition.Read on to learn how businesses use SEO to maximize their impact in their industries and boost the bottom line....

Nick Stamoulis

Don't Risk Your Business with Cheap Hosting

Every minute offline means missed visitors which turn into missed dollars, especially for an e-commerce site. I know that most small businesses are operating on a tight budget, which means you're trying to cut corners wherever you can, but trust me when I say that your hosting company is not the place to be pinching pennies!...

Mike Fleming

Build Trails for Customers that Don't Dead End

You see it all the time: web marketing that fails to satisfy customer wants and needs in the buying process from first exposure to conversion.  The problem is that it's so easy to simply leave a buying trail that you're on with the web.  All it takes is a click.  This puts buyers in total control and makes them uber-sensitive to what they engage with online.  The challenge for us as site owners and marketers is to build trails from exposure to conversion that customers won't want to leave....

Mike Fleming

Building Confidence (and Profit) with Website Testing

Not testing your website is like telling your investors, shareholders, employees or other stakeholders that you already make enough profit and you'd really not like to make any more in the foreseeable future.  Crazy, right?  So, why don't marketers do it?  Typically, they don't know what to test, how to get approval, who needs to be involved and how it will affect their site.  But, it must be done or you will fail to do your job correctly - which is to provide an online environment that will optimally meet your customers needs....

Mike Fleming

Make Enough Profit? Warning: Don't Test Your Website!

Most companies don't test their sites.  Their main justification for this tends to be that they don't have the budget to take it on.  But, this is clearly a misunderstanding because free tools (like Google's Content Experiments) make it VERY cheap. When you put that together with the logic that testing is just going to help you improve conversion on your site, not doing it is costing your more than doing it. Not doing it is like telling your investors, shareholders, employees or other stakeholders that you already make enough profit and you'd really not like to make any more...

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Roll It Out Yet! Three Checks Before Your Optimized Site is Ready to Go Live

When you deal with big projects, it is often easy to overlook small things along the way. It's not that anyone is cutting corners, but rather some small detail gets overlooked. Sometimes even the smallest details can matter a great deal!

Stoney deGeyter

Hurry Up and Wait: SEO is About Quick Action and Patient Results

The process of search engine marketing can be defined as a strategic game of quickly implementing strategies that will increase your site's exposure and conversion rates, while also patiently waiting for the fruits of your efforts to bear out. Sometimes you're doing one or the other, but most often you're doing both at the same time.

Stoney deGeyter

The Dirty Little Secret of Conversions, Part 3: Give Customers What They Need

While it's great to know what people want, when you give them what they want, you only give them a partial solution. The want is the symptom. But, when you address the need, you are addressing the underlying problem and providing a much more holistic solution.

Stoney deGeyter

...But I Don't HAVE a Fracking Coupon!

Have you ever been to a site where, you've shopped around, found what you wanted, and when you went to check-out, they asked you to enter your coupon code number? WTH! You don't HAVE a coupon! But, you know that, somewhere out there, a coupon can be found!

Stoney deGeyter

Three Easy Steps to Achieve IA Greatness

One of the tasks that often takes us away from our computer monitors and into the world of post-its, index cards, and cork boards has been when working on a site's information architecture. This can be a big task, that often requires a lot of table or wall space. But, it doesn't have to. Here are some ways to go paperless, and still achieve IA greatness!

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 11-15)

As much as the title is vastly overstated, these questions will at the very least help you ponder SEO in a way you hadn't pondered before. At least that's my theory.

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 6-10)

This is the second set of questions from an interview I had given late last year. If you started this series with the introduction, you already know that the answers here differ from the answers given in the interview. One of the reasons I like written interviews is that it gives you a better opportunity to provide a more thorough and thought-filled answer. While these may not be life-changing questions, I hope they are at least thought provoking for the small business owner who doesn't know a lot about SEO.

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever

There are a lot of factors that go into a successful SEO Campaign. There is content, keywords, titles, descriptions, usability, architecture, and link building. All of these play a significant role and cannot be ignored. But, to narrow this down into a single thing that is THE most important element to make a campaign successful is tough. We will start here with 5 of the 15 questions to help break it down.

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 3 of 3)

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this series covered the problems duplicate content creates. Part II covered some of the causes of duplicate content. This post covers some of the solutions that will help you fix your duplicate content problems.

Stoney deGeyter

Dropping in to See What Condition Your Condition is In - Part II

In the last post, we explored five of the Top 10 Guidelines to Establishing Web Credibility, provided by Standford back in 2002. Still relevant today, here we'll explore the remaining 5.

Stone Reuning

How you Can Use Static FBML Language to Customize your Facebook Page and Drive More Leads

Easily create your custom Facebook profile by using static FBML language and maximize the value of your social networking efforts. With its ever-increasing number of users and sheer magnitude of its future plans, you can't afford to ignore this dominant social network. Static FBML language is a powerful tool to help you get even more benefits out of being on Facebook....

Stoney deGeyter

Silos, Architecture, and Linking...Oh My!

The optimal time to start consulting with the SEO on a new website is at the very beginning. And, I mean the VERY beginning... when the website is just a sparkle in it's dreamer's eye.

Stone Reuning

Choosing the web address for a new website

Our online marketing clients often ask us to help select domain names when setting up a new website. Indeed, there is an argument that the domain name may impact search engine rankings for the site. But we also think that this decision deserves a lot of attention to how it will impact the website's user experience, from the impression it creates when it's first noticed to how easily it's remembered. I'll share with you a few of the things we tell clients here....

Stone Reuning

Use Site Search to Boost your Online Marketing

Today's websites are more complex than ever before. Many contain a wealth of information visitors can use to answer their questions and learn what they need to know before contacting a company or making a purchase online. But with all the information and features packed into many of today's websites, it can also be more difficult for site visitors to first of all determine whether or not a website will contain the information they need and then find it on the website. Installing a site search box can offer several advantages to help your site visitors--and also benefit your marketing...

Stoney deGeyter

Forget SEO, You Need SPO: Search Person Optimization

But today's SEO goes so far beyond optimizing for the search engines. Rankings matter, but so does site performance, visitor engagement and conversions.

Stoney deGeyter

Take Your SEO from Trash to Cash

A lot of businesses spend their energy on the "exterior" (search engine rankings) while ignoring the interior (building a great website.) One cannot survive without the other.

Stoney deGeyter

7 Steps to Improving Conversion Rates

Each entry point of your site (wherever the visitor lands first, not just the home page) needs to be treated as the starting point that will lead your visitors step by step toward the conversion goal. In order to guide your visitors from this starting point to the end point, you need to make sure each step along the way is aligned with the next; in sync and unbroken.

Sage Lewis

Tiger Direct Must Not Like Money

I just bought something from Tiger Direct. But they tried really hard to make me not take my money. Fortunately, I'm obsessed with forcing my money on people. And I was able to overcome their desire to get me to not pay them. Don't let this kind of thing happen to you in your shopping experience....

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Let Your "New" Go To Waste. RSS It!

Perhaps you "just" sell products. Or maybe you "just" have an information site. Or you "just" do some other thing that doesn't require an RSS feed. In your line of work you don't really get into the whole blogging, news headlines, audio, or video thing, so this post isn't for you, right? Not so fast.

Stoney deGeyter

Putting SEO Frosting on a Website Dung Pile

In SEO there are situations where a site is so bad that you pretty much need to burn it to the ground before you can build it right. Otherwise you're just adding SEO frosting onto a website dung pile.

Stoney deGeyter

Choosing a Web Host Provider That Won't Jack Your Rankings, Part II

Who you choose as your web host provider, or what type of web hosting account you have can have a profound impact on your search engine rankings. We'll look at a number of other factors that can mess with your site's performance in the search engines.

David Carberry

Bounce Rates and What They Mean To Your Business

Your business needs to determine why a bounce occurs, and evaluate that rate on a page by page basis and a keyword by keyword basis. You need to direct them from start to finish and provide an easy to use solution for why they entered your site in the first place....

Jennifer Laycock

Website Sales Slow? It's Time for the Mom Test

What if you built a site and all the right people showed up, but none of them bought anything? What if you looked at your traffic reports and analytics and you saw traffic streaming in in droves for all the keywords that perfectly describe what you do? What if you had killer content and tens of thousands of links, but sales were flat? What if you knew you had the best prices or the most unique offerings in town and STILL no one was buying?

Stoney deGeyter

Q&A: A Little Something You Need to Know About Duplicate Content and CSS

My last three posts covered a variety of questions regarding keyword usage, links and website architecture. In this post I'll address the final question that has to do with the visual display of your pages, duplicate content and CSS.

Stoney deGeyter

Speak Your Customer's--Not Your Corporate's--Language

No matter what you're saying to the customer you want to be polite, non-offensive and, yes, even helpful!

Scott Allen

Search Engine Strategies New York - Small Business Case Studies

Live blogging coverage of SES NY session: "Small Business Case Studies".

Scott Allen

Search Engine Strategies New York - Turning Simple Change Into Big Profit

Live blogging coverage of the SES NY session: "Turning Simple Change Into Big Profit".

Stoney deGeyter

Are You Guilty of Crimes Against Usability? Let the Jury Decide

Your website is being judged. If presented before a jury of your peers, would you be found guilty of gross marketing misconduct or absolved of all charges of crimes against usability? Let the jury decide.

Jennifer Laycock

The Easiest Links You'll Ever Get for Your Link Building Campaign

Anyone who has ever spent time on a link building campaign knows how much work it is to create content, build a pitch list and contact people to see about getting the link. Nonetheless, links are essential currency in the land of search engine optimization. I'm willing to bet if you had a chance to pick up links without much more than a friendly email you'd jump on it, right?

Stoney deGeyter

Making Site Search Work for You (and Your Visitors)

The problem with site search on a lot of sites is that they often don't really work all that well. They'll produce good results for some searches but not for others. I've been on a number of sites testing their search only to find that there are "no matches" for exact searches on products they clearly sell. This is a problem.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Site Maps

Site maps provide a one-click path to any destination within the site and a way for the search engines to quickly find and index all site pages. Ensuring that your site maps function properly is an important part in ensuring your visitors can find what they want quickly and all site pages get properly indexed.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Privacy and Security Issues

While most visitors won't read Privacy and Security pages, they do provide necessary assurances that visitors look for in terms of being able to trust you. However, when visitors do click into these pages need certain information needs to be presented to them to ensure their needs are met.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Site Search

Site search is an important element of on-site usability. Both in its ability to help visitors find the information they are looking for, or by being absent if it doesn't produce accurate results. Site search must be able to improve the visitor's experience in your site, otherwise it does more harm than good.

Scott Allen

Usability and Conversion Workshop - SBM Unleashed

Matt Bailey discusses the foundational elements of creating a user-friendly site that will encourage users to convert. If you weren't here you missed out! It was jam-packed with info on making an intelligent site that leads users down the right path.

Scott Allen

On-Page SEO WorkShop - SBM Unleashed

Stoney and the crew at Pole Position Marketing created a fictitious site called "Galaxy Quest Airlines". Instead of just going through a checklist of things to look for, he created an interactive audience participation experience where the audience members peruse the site and find on-page SEO problems.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Forms and Processing Errors

Forms are a standard method of allowing visitors to communicate with you, including the placing orders. If forms don't work properly, frustrate your visitors or create additional roadblocks that the visitor must hurdle over, the contact/conversion rate on your site will drop drastically.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Help and FAQ Pages

If your customers are digging through your help and FAQ pages, chances are they are close to making a decision to purchase, they just need a little extra bump. These pages are essential to these visitors seek by providing answers to questions and other helps that will push them through the conversion process.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Login and My Account Pages

Ensuring visitors can easily login and find the information they need is essential to providing a good customer experience. Since this is your engaged audience you want to make sure that you can keep them engaged without additional frustrations.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Shopping Checkout Processes

If visitors only add products to the cart but abandon the cart or get confused in the checkout process conversions will be low as will profit. The more proper cues you can provide that give the shopper confidence and assurances about their purchase, the less likely they will be to dump the cart or lose interest before closing he deal.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklists for Mini Baskets

Since mini-baskets are ever-present through the shopping experience, the information here can be vital to the visitor, helping them keep track of items, total costs and links back to products already added.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Shopping Basket Pages

Visitors place items in their online shopping basket for many reasons, one of which is with the intent to buy. But they don't always complete the purchase, often abandoning the cart with products left in it. Being able to close holes in the checkout process can increase conversion rates, getting more sales and higher return on investment.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Product Pages

The product page has a very singular focus: one product. It's job is to provide the visitor with the information about that product they need to be convinced that it is exactly what they are looking for. If you're product pages cannot convince visitors to buy, then you're simply dead in the water.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for E-Commerce Considerations

Being able to convince the shopper to follow through on the purchase is essential to being profitable. The visitor looks for specific cues that help them assess the creditability of the site and the security of their information. Providing these cues will help you provide a better experience that leads to deeper customer satisfaction.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the Contact Us Page

Those who land on this page are showing clear intent in wanting to to get in touch with you. Providing only a few ways to contact you can alienate visitors who have a particular preference. Providing robust contact options and information ensures that you capture as many would-be customers as possible.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the About Us Page

Studies have shown that conversion rates for visitors who have visited the About Us page increase measurably. Those who visit here are looking for a few extra elements of trust that will help them decide whether to continue on or move on. What they find can mean the difference in a conversion or the visitor leaving your site for a competitor's.

Miriam Ellis

When This Industry Is One Of The Helping Professions

Marketing discussions can be kind of grim sometimes, with one cynical voice proving to all the others that you can sell literally anything to anybody with the right tricks. If you hear yourself saying things like this frequently these days, and something inside of you doesn't like it, maybe now is a good time to pick some new projects....

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the Home Page

The home page is often the single largest entry-point. It is the page that gives the visitor the sense of who you are and what they can expect. Go wrong here and it can be all over before it begins.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Links and Buttons

Links and calls to action are a great way to allow visitors to navigate from page to page, finding the information they feel is important to helping them make the purchase decision. Without these calls to action many visitors will simply not know what they are expected to do next.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Content Appearance

Great content can get lost if it's not easy to read thrown into an otherwise cluttered page. Ensuring that your content fits visually into the site is just as important as having good content to begin with. If you want the sales message to get across, your visitors will need to read it.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Navigation

A strong, user-friendly and search engine friendly navigation is essential in helping people and bots through your site. You visitors need to find information quickly with minimal hunting and the search engines need to be able to follow the navigation to reach all site pages with the fewest number of jumps (clicks) necessary. If the navigation is broken or doesn't get people (or search engines) where they need to go, the performance of a site will suffer.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: The Most Important Question You Need To Answer

When I ask for website submissions for this column, the very first thing I want to know is what is your goal for your website? "My daughter says I need to have one", or "everybody has one so I should too" definitely don't count. I'm talking tangible, profitable goals. And these goals ultimately come down to just one question: what do you want people to do on your website? This is the most important question you need to ask yourself when building a new site or revamping an old one....

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Design Considerations

The site design is essentially the first impression that someone gets when they land on your site. You may have all your usability and SEO elements in place, but if the design is lacking then your visitor's impression of you will be lacking as well. A visually appealing site can not only bolster trust and credibility, but it can make you stand out among other less-appealing sites in your industry.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Your Site Logo

The logo lends directly to brand identity and site identification. It also creates a certain element of appeal and professionalism in the mind of the visitor. It holds an important role in visitor assurance and navigation.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Browser Issues

The browser is (obviously) what we use to view websites. The goal is to give the visitor the best browsing experience possible, but we have to keep in mind that not all browsers are the same. We must make sure to accommodate different users, ensuring that they get the most value out of the site possible.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Domain Names and URLs

The domain name is part of the identity of your business. The URL chosen can have a significant impact on brand identity and in a lesser extent, keyword ranking performance. However, how your site domain name and page URLs function can have significant impact on the crawlability of the site as well as overall visitor and traffic performance.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: No Good Web Design Idea is Original, So Use It!

Today we're taking a look at a stock photography website selling the rights to gorgeous photos in a niche topic. The website has a great product to sell, and a decent process for doing it. However, the site design and usability could use a little work prior to taking the next step in online marketing. When you are offering a niche product in a common area, IE stock photography, it's helpful to take some cues from other successful industry websites....

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Fresh Eyes Often Find Unmet Expectations

It's easy to get so wrapped up in our websites that we don't always realize how they are perceived by our visitors. We know them so intimately that the gap between whether or not our sites live up to visitor expectations isn't obvious at all. That's where fresh eyes can come in really handy. This is certainly the case with this week's site clinic subject Tony Winyard, a disc jockey in London, and his website Streetlife....

Ross Dunn

Yahoo Champions Internet Accessibility for the Disabled

At Yahoo Anecdotal today Yahoo announced they had recently opened the Yahoo Accessibility Lab; a place where only Yahoo employees (for now) can experience the world of the Internet as a disabled web surfer would. Read on for a peak at accessibility guidelines and more on what Yahoo had to say about this important issue....

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: You've Got Great Usability, Now Start Optimizing.

Before search engine optimization can be successful in driving conversions, not just rankings, you first need to ensure that your site is usable and compelling. Dynamic-Living.com has done a great job of creating a clean, simple, well-organized website and their visitors will have no trouble finding the products they want and getting through the checkout process. With a website in good shape, their next step is to perform optimization so that they start ranking for relevant keywords....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Fix the Bloated (Tables and HTML) Code that is Jacking Up Your SEO

Yesterday I discussed code bloat by looking at how we can move style sheets and JavaScripts off the page in order to clean the coding up quite a bit. I this third post about cleaning up bloated code I wanted to address Tables and other typical causes of bloated HTML.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Navigation Usability Can Make Or Break Your Website

When it comes to the front end of a website, there are two primary areas that can make or break your online success ... your content and your navigation. SmallShipCruises.com is a very useful site offering a large selection of cruises with a variety of destinations, themes, ship types, and deals. Unfortunately, the current navigation poses some major hindrances for both search engines and visitors....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Create Effective Site Navigation that Leads Visitors to Your Most Important Content

Site navigation can come in many different flavors. There isn't just ONE way to do it correctly. If there were then every site would have navigation that looked exactly the same. So while navigation can vary greatly between sites and industries, there are certain navigational elements that should be implemented to ensure solid usability and effective website architecture.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Basic Principles Of E-Commerce Design

An independent distributor sent me a plea for help: her site, Pets Love Flint River, is only generating a sale every few months. There are a few principles of web design and usability that are universally used on effective e-commerce sites that if implemented could make her site more user friendly and her sales go through the roof....

Stoney deGeyter

Three Easy Ways to Fix Broken Links and Stop Unneccessary Visitor Loss

One of the easiest ways to lose visitors from your site is through broken or invalid links. In business, it is pretty much well known that it requires less of a financial investment to keep a customer than it does to acquire a new one. The internet is really no different. Once you get a visitor on your site, or get them wanting to be on your site, it takes less investment to keep them there than it does to go bring in another new visitor. Therefore it is important to do whatever you can to keep acquired visitors on your site helping them move through the conversion process.

Stoney deGeyter

A Little Favicon Goes a Long, Long Way

I remember when favicons first started to appear, it was like, hey, how cool is that. But now they are so common that I hardly notice them anymore. Well, no, that's not exactly true. I do notice them, and like them, it's just that I'm not surprised to see them anymore. But I AM surprised when I don't see them.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Professional Looking Design Drives Conversions

This week's site clinic is focused on making sure visitors like what they see when they come to your website. Studies have shown that one of the key reasons visitors spend time on or buy from a site is a professional design. If your site doesn't live up to their visual standards, you're losing conversions....

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Easy to Navigate Equals Easy To Buy

This week we're looking at an e-commerce website for educational toys, Brainwaves Toys. The current Brainwaves site has done many things well, especially usability of the shopping cart and checkout process. However, it needs a little help with design and navigation to get visitors to that point....

Scott Allen

Site Navigation and Usability: Easy Tips for Happy Users

Yesterday, my senses were assaulted by a large ad agency website that violated many principles of good usability and navigation. After I recovered, I realized I need to share some tips on this topic....

Stoney deGeyter

Preventing Secure & Non-Secure Site Duplication

When shoppers can access secure and non secure versions of the same page, then likely the search engines can as well. This creates almost a complete duplicate of your site, one secure and one non-secure version. It's essential to tell the search engines what to think, especially when it comes to which pages of your site should or should not be included in the index.

Stoney deGeyter

The 19-Hour Website Analysis, in 20 Minutes or Less

Performing a complete website review is rarely easy. I've found that you can start a site analysis intending to spend just a few minutes looking over it only to find that it quickly spirals into a multi-hour marathon of research. Complete website reviews can be time consuming and often produce many more hours of work beyond that. Many people want to rush into the marketing without realizing that the website itself is part of the marketing process. This is a shame....

David Wallace

SBM Unleashed: Usability and Conversion Workshop

If you've ever tried to find the spare toilet paper in someone else's bathroom, you've experienced a usability issue. Just like the owner of that bathroom, we sometimes get so used to our own sites, we can't see what needs to be fixed. In this workshop, Matt Bailey, Founder of Site Logic Marketing will walk you through common problems that can make your site a hassle for visitors to use. Find out how even the smallest change can make a dramatic impact on your site's conversion rates....

Liana Evans

Unleashed: Site Architecture by Stoney deGeyter (Live Blogging)

This is a live blogging of Stoney deGeyter's Site Architecture session at Search Engine Guide's Unleashed Conference for Small Business Marketing.  Stoney covers Website Architecture, Page / Document Architecture and Site Linking Architecture in this great session....

Stoney deGeyter

6 Quick and Easy Accessibility Issues That Make Your Visitors Happy

As more and more users gain access to the web it becomes increasingly important to ensure that your website is accessible to all, not just a few. Just as businesses must comply with the American Disabilities Act to ensure proper access to customers with disabilities, businesses should do all they can to make their websites accessible to all users regardless of the means in which they access the site. And of course not all accessibility issues involve meeting the needs of the disabled. What must be considered is the growing number of users that now access websites through non-traditional means, whether it be mobile phones or with images turned off. These users can still be your target audience and ensuring your site can be used through alternate avenues is essential to capturing that audience.

Stoney deGeyter

14 Website Usability Guidelines That Keep them Coming Back for More

Sites that are designed to sell products and/or services must go the extra mile to enhance the visitor's engagement with the website. Shopping cart abandonment (shoppers abandoning their carts before deciding to pay for the "items" they've added to their cart) can result in a significant loss in potential sales. But much of that can be reduced when the shopping process is streamlined and geared for shopper satisfaction. The selling process--from initial interest to the very last checkout page--must be able to grab shopper's attention and proceed to drive them through to the finalization of the sale. But even...

Stoney deGeyter

10 Ways to Help Your Visitors Trust You

Trust is a key usability issue when it comes to running a successful online business. Most people automatically view web businesses with a bias against them compared to their brick and mortar counterparts. Your ability to convince your visitors that yours is a trustworthy business is one of the key components to getting visitors to convert into customers. Creating a website that conveys trust can be tricky. There are rarely any answers that are always "right" for every visitor. There are, however, several factors that have universal appeal to the weary shopper.

Matt Bailey

Three Recession Proof Tactics You Can't Afford to Miss

SEO, Usability, and Analytics are the best investment that you can make for your online business. In fact, dollar for dollar, these recession proof tactics should result in some of the best ROI you'll see from your web site. If you're still on the fence when it comes to investing in any of these three areas, you could be missing out on a wide-open opportunity to get the most out of your website.

Stoney deGeyter

11 Ways to Fill Your Shopper's Cart

Since the "purchase" is the ultimate conversion, it is imperative that you remove as many obstacles from the customer's research-to-buy cycle as possible. Providing your visitors the key ingredients in their shopping experience creates a smooth and worry-free transaction process. The easier it is to shop and buy the more customers will overcome the natural hesitations that many feel before they commit by hitting the final "complete order" button.

Stoney deGeyter

Searching for Better On-Site Search Usability

Not every site needs, nor should have, an on-site search feature. But those that do must be sure that the search isn't just an after-thought. It needs to be more than something to add because you think visitors want it. Adding a search function is not necessarily good for on-site usability. Implementing a search function improperly is often a greater source of frustration than not having one altogether....

Stoney deGeyter

12 Privacy and Security Issues Your Customers Care About

Your website's privacy information and security settings can be significant hurdles when it comes to gaining trust with your visitors. Establishing trust is paramount to enticing visitors to make that final commitment, whether that be making a purchase, choosing to provide their info, or simply making initial contact with you. Your job is to make sure your visitors feel confident that their information is kept safe and will not be used for nefarious means, or anything other than what they fully expect. While providing assurances are nice, those assurances only go so far as what actually happens. Be sure that your small print reinforces what your visitors already expect to find in regards to how their information is used.

Stoney deGeyter

14 Usability Tips for Login and My Account Pages

Sites that require users to log in to access certain information and/or purchase products add an additional layer of potential complication to the usability process. To avoid potential visitor confusion and the possibility for errors, it is important that any login process requires little or no thought on the part of the site visitor. Once logged in, you must be sure that visitors are able to find the information they want and expect to find. My Account pages need to provide visitors with access and ability to view and change personal information, as necessary.

Stoney deGeyter

When is Usability More Important than SEO?

Every day we get businesses coming to us looking to improve their search engine rankings. They want to talk about an SEO campaign but one quick look at their site and we see that SEO may not be the right approach for them. Usually in these cases the site needs a complete usability makeover.

Sage Lewis

Video: Ask Listens and Wikia Launches

Sage uncovers the pros and cons of Ask's new voice activated mobile device for driving directions and Wikia's new search engine launch. With ease of usability is a concern for both releases, Sage extols the virtues of a free Internet design "Best Practices" report found on Matt Bailey's accessibility website.

Patrick Schaber

How Tony Bennett Inspired a User Experience Experiment

With all the "advice" we've been receiving from search engines on how to manage our site and provide the right user experience, I was thrilled to happen upon a little experiment. I recently had the opportunity to do a little user experience testing on the various search engines. I was surprised by the result.

Manoj Jasra

Google Does it Right with Open Platforms

Google's vision of creating open platforms for both OpenSocial and Android (Open Handset Alliance) is absolutely genius. Not only does it help Google competitively but it also helps create a stronger user experience and a strong support community. Here are some of the major benefits to open platforms such as OpenSocial and Android

Stoney deGeyter

7 Ways to Make Your Home Page a Home Run for Usability

Your home page is the single most crucial page of your site. This is the page that will be the primary entry point for a majority of your visitors. It is also the page that sets the stage for the rest of the site giving visitors a birds-eye view of who you are, what you're about, what you can do for them, what you offer, and how they get the information needed.

Paul Jahn

Entering a Zvents Event

A couple nights ago I posted a random question on Facebook and noticed that Paul O'Brien from Zvents joined the "Local Search Central" group. I haven't had a chance to use Zvents yet, but then thought of a quick trip coming up.

Stoney deGeyter

9 (+1) Tips For Writing User-Friendly Content

The content of your website is your #1 sales tool. Pictures, tools, and other fun stuff can be important in making your site visibly and functionally appealing, but it is the content that sells. Well written and user focused content allows your visitors to "find out" more about your products and services, as well as how your company will be able to meet their needs.

Stoney deGeyter

9 (+1) Tips For Writing User-Friendly Content

The content of your website is your #1 sales tool. Pictures, tools, and other fun stuff can be important in making your site visibly and functionally appealing, but it is the content that sells. Well written and user focused content allows your visitors to "find out" more about your products and services, as well as how your company will be able to meet their needs.

Kimberly Krause Berg

How To Impress Search Engines and Users - Focus: Web Site Navigation

Who says you can't be creative while trying to adhere to search engine optimization or usability standards? Though it may seem like a lot of extra work now, with a little practice, designing for searches, sales, traffic and users can become second nature to you....

Kimberly Krause Berg

How To Impress Search Engines and Users - Focus: Web Site Structure

To build a successful Web site takes more than being a skilled programmer or user interface designer. Fortunately, being found in searches, generating sales and traffic plus showing consideration for site visitors can all be achieved using the same basic techniques....

Detlev Johnson

Improve the Usability of Your Search Results

Let's look at the issue of usability, how it relates to search engine listings, and what you can do to improve visitors' experience....