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In today’s online world, a positive user experience is everything. When someone visits your blog, they should be able to find everything they’re looking for and navigate your posts with ease. This seems like a simple task, but it has a lot of moving parts.
The user experience (UX) is fragile. Any dip in performance or design can shatter it and prevent your user from converting or ever coming back. While this may seem daunting, today we’re going to look at five ways you can instantly improve your website’s user experience today.
These five tips cover major aspects of website design and performance. These are the pillars of a user’s experience. If you want users to follow through with your sales funnel, then you need to make sure the experience is a positive one. Let’s dive in and take a look at how you can start improving your UX today.
The typography of your website is the language that you’ve chosen to communicate with your readers. It consists of three major parts:
These three elements come together to form the words on the page of your blog. When you’re creating a blog for the first time, you’ll need to take these things into consideration to ensure your content is readable.
Let’s explore each of these facets and how they can be improved to enhance the user experience:
In a survey done by Jakob Nielsen, it was discovered that one of the biggest complaints of online users, was that fonts were too small or difficult to read. If you’re choosing a WordPress theme, you’ll see fonts as small as twelve or thirteen pixels which is simply not readable.
The default font size for monitors is 16 pixels, but even this equivalates to the size of 12-point in print form, which is typically much closer to your face than a computer would be.
As the age of your users increases, the small text issue becomes more apparent. Check to see what size your font is currently displaying at, and remember that 16 pixels is the absolute minimum.
When we talk about spacing, we’re referring to the width of your text lines and the height between each one. These two things must be in perfect balance if you want your content to flow naturally for readers.
For starters, the line width should be no longer than 75 characters. You can tweak this as needed, but never go higher than that magic number. If your lines are any wider, the human eye has trouble tracking the end of one line and the beginning of another. It’s a simple thing, but ensuring that it’s correct will vastly benefit the user experience.
While most themes have a correct line height, it’s worth noting that your line spacing should be around 150%. This ensures that there’s half-pixel distance between each line.
Your text color should always be a dark shade over a light background. If you try to use reversed color text, you’re going to strain your user’s eyes and reduce your readership by a large margin. Look for themes that utilize a dark color like black or dark gray on a clean, white background.
Speaking of colors, let’s dive deeper into this aspect of the user experience. If you choose the right colors, you can not only make your site attractive, but you can also influence the mood and behaviors of your visitors.
Colors are powerful, but trying to choose the correct ones involves understanding the theory behind certain color choices. Here are some tips that will help you understand the psychology and theories behind color choice:
The first thing to look at when you’re choosing colors for your website, is how you can pair them together. Consider these options:
While not an exact science, color psychology helps us understand why colors trigger certain feelings or emotion. These vary based on gender and culture, but here are some common examples:
Did you know that 8% of men and 0.5% of women are affected by some form of color blindness. Given this, it’s important that your color choices reflect the potential situations of your users. Accessibility like this is an important part of the user experience.
Look for colors that have a high contrast with each other to make them stand out regardless of the user. This will apply especially to your CTA buttons where you’ll want them to stand out to users so they know how and where to click when they decide to complete the action you’re asking of them.
As you can see, colors have a huge affect on the user experience.You want to invoke the right emotions and keep things easy on the eyes. In addition, you want to consider a wide variety of individuals to ensure you’re providing a consistent experience.
All bloggers know that images are important, but how do you know which ones to use? Just like your text, the pictures you choose affect the overall user experience. For example, if you’re writing about the steps needed to create a blog, and all you have are images of a beach, then you’re not providing a great experience.
In this case, eye-catching blog image examples and screenshots of the process would be ideal. That’s an easy one, though, so let’s look at a quick checklist you can use when choosing your images:
Am I Allowed to Use This Image?
Copyrights can quickly sneak up and take a bite out of your blog. When you’re looking for images, consider who owns them and where they’re coming from. As a rule of thumb, you can always make your own images to be safe.
In addition, you can use free resources like Pixabay or Rawpixel, which offer royalty-free images that you can freely use without fear of infringement.
Is This Image Relevant?
Like the example above, it’s important that your image pertains to the topic at hand. It doesn’t need to be an exact match, but it should be easily connected to the post’s content or to the headline. If needed, you can always tweak your headline to better connect with a featured image you have in mind.
Does This Image Stand Out?
Alright, so you’ve chosen an image that is relevant, and you’re allowed to use it. The next thing to consider is how the image stands out from the page. You’ll most likely use some of your images on social media, so it needs to be eye-catching, colorful, and unique.
How’s the Quality?
The user experience can turn downward quickly if your images are pixelated or hard to see. Find images with high resolutions and consider how they display on your posts. If needed, compress large image files and never sacrifice quality.
It is Mobile Responsive?
This is incredibly important. Mobile responsive design should be across your entire website, but this goes double for your images. When a mobile user is reading your page, they shouldn’t have to scroll or zoom out to see your full images.
While there was a time when dial-up forced us to be patient, the age of mobile devices and broadband internet has spoiled us rotten. People expect websites to load fast. In fact, 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less!
Furthermore, a 1-second delay in your loading time can cost up to 7% in conversions. Website speed is nothing to joke about, but thankfully WordPress users have a lot of options for how they can speed up their website.
Start by checking your speed using a tool like Pingdom, and then follow these steps to speed things up and improve your user experience:
Install a Caching Plugin
Caching plugins make it easier for users to access your pages and most of them work without you having to do a single thing. W3 Total Cache is my personal favorite, but any of the major options will speed up your website with you having to do a thing.
Compress Your Images
Large image files will take a while to load and ultimately slow down your website. You can compress them without sacrificing quality by installing a plugin like WP_Smush.It, of if you prefer you can use an online tool like Optimizilla which works just as well.
Choose a Reliable Host
Sometimes your hosting service can be at the root of the problem. This may not necessarily mean that your host itself is bad, but it could mean that it’s time to upgrade your plan to something with more resources. If you’re experiencing slow loading times, contact your service to see what they can do to help speed things up.
Disable Unneeded Plugins
If you saw the incredible number of plugins for WordPress and went a little crazy downloading and installing them, it could be hampering your website’s performance. When it comes to your plugins, always make sure it’s something you need, and look at the reviews/information to ensure they work well with your theme and other plugins.
Turn Off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
As a default setting, WordPress tracks every time another blog mentions you. This updates data on the post, but it creates a lot of work for your website. By turning these off, you won’t lose out on the backlinks you’ve created, but it will take a load off your site.
Check out this tutorial on how to turn off trackbacks and pingbacks.
Navigating a website is perhaps the most important part of the user experience. It should be easy to find everything within a few clicks. While we could sit here and list out all of the various options for navigation, it’s better to simply avoid these key mistakes:
Using a Different Style
It’s tempting to try and be different, but in this case you should stick to the basics. For example, users expect to find a navigation bar at the top of your screen. Don’t place it in the middle of your page or somewhere obscure.
Using Generic Labeling
Another best practice when it comes to navigation is how you label the items on your navigation bar. They should be descriptive and easy to understand. It shouldn’t be vague or difficult to know where the link leads.
Use proper keywords and make it abundantly clear where everything leads on your website.
Never Use Drop Down Menus
Oh boy, I really don’t like these things. When a user decides to click on something, they want to be taken somewhere new. If that first click results in a drop down menu, then it interrupts their rhythm. If that same menu is finicky and disappears while they’re browsing it (happens all the time), then you’re only causing them frustration.
Use Links, Not Buttons
Graphics-based navigation (buttons) are extremely outdated and are bad for several reasons:
The user experience is at the core of everything you do as a blog owner. It decides how well your website performs and ultimately how profitable your business can be. Facilitating a positive user experience involves examining multiple facets of your web design to ensure everything works together smoothly.
How do you ensure a positive user experience on your website or blog? Let us know in the comments!