24 Mar

What's worse than having a website that you haven't updated in a while?

Having a site that is hard to use, takes forever to load, has links to nowhere or makes finding contact information next to impossible, that's what.

Any of those things can cause folks searching for information on you or that thing you do to close the page and keep it moving.

According to a KISSmetricks Blog survey, the time it takes your website to load can greatly alter the user experience. Forty-seven percent of Internet surfers expect the URL they just clicked on to load in two seconds or less. Forty percent actually abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load.

Basically, that means you've got a very tiny window to show 'em what you're working with.  If your site takes five seconds to load, a potential set of eyes that may have been interested in what you have to say just went onto something else.

We all love flashy pages that spin and glow when they pop up, right? That "WOW!" factor is a big thing. But the take-away here is that if that wow is causing your page to gurgle and stall, it may be costing you more views than it will ever gain.

But even if your site loads quickly, how does it help keep interest if the person at the end of the mouse can't find what s/he is looking for? If your page has 10 tabs or is very text-heavy, it might actually look like a cluttered mess that users deem too overwhelming or frustrating to use. Seriously - how easy is it to find the address to your location or your email information on your site? (Go check, I'll wait...)

Another thing that may spell trouble for your site is the ease of use of its mobile version. Late last year, Google announced that more than half of its searches are now done from mobile devices. Just imagine all the folks who can't see your beautifully laid-out web page because your site isn't optimized for smartphone or tablet use. Believe it or not, it happens all the time.

To really evaluate your site, log onto it from a computer other than one you normally use. Study the load time and see how long it takes the graphics, text and banners to become visible. Ask someone who's never been to your site to find a piece of information you consider important (like the links to your social media feeds or your SoundCloud page). Check it from an iPhone, a tablet and an Android device. If anything seems off, convoluted or messy, fix it as soon as you can.

Remember, you only get one shot to make a first impression. Make that shot the best one you can.

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