While content generation is important on websites, an oft overlooked issue is that of usability. A site can have great content that is valuable to its visitors, but if it is difficult to find this content, it will rarely be seen. And if visitors cannot find the content, it is unlikely that bloggers will come across it either which will prevent them or other websites from linking to it. This will keep your PageRank low, and reduce traffic to your website.
A common theme to consider when created new websites, or even products, is the “Don’t Make Me Think” methodology, which was coined by Steve Krug in his book with the same title. Visitors are bombarded with much more information on the web now more than ever, and it can be difficult to browse websites with hundreds or even dozens of pages. Websites need to be created with simplicity and straightforwardness in order to be easy to navigate, so that visitors do not need to go digging for content. If a visitor cannot find the content that they are looking for on your website, they will likely go back to Google and find the content on a competitor’s website. Poor usability means lost business and frustrated visitors, as well as poor reviews of your site. Indeed, you may likely lose sales due to usability issues.
When creating the theme or content layout of a website, focus should be placed on what a completely new visitor will see when he or she visits your website. Pretend that the visitor has no prior knowledge of the site whatsoever. Information such as who you are, what you do, and what specific services you provide must be accesible from within one click of the home page. Eye tracking studies have revealed what visitors look at first when they see a web page, as well as how they scan a webpage and how long they focus their attention on headings, links, text, or images. If your site uses advertisements or sponsors, placement on the page is an important consideration. For example, users are accustomed to navigation panels placed on either the upper left or top center of a page. Advertisements are normally on the right side or bottom of a page. If you place your navigation links on the right side of your website, many visitors may not even see your navigation links, as they have already conditioned themselves to ignore that part of a website.