5 Tips for Making Your Site More Effective

1. Organize your pages logically

The more people have to click around to find what they are looking for the less likely they will be to stay on your site and become your customer. There is an easy way to figure out how to organize your pages so people can find what they need — it's called card sorting.

  1. Make a list of all the content you want to add to your site. It may include About Us, The Office, Dentist A, Dentist B, Dentist C, Services, Products, Techniques and Contact Us.
  2. Write each list item on a recipe card.
  3. Group the cards according to their subject matter. For example, you might put About Us with each of the Dentist Cards. It's okay if there are groups of only one card.
  4. Pick the card out of each group which best represents the group. If Services, Products and Techniques are in one group together, it might make the most sense to put Services on the top and keep the other two below it.
  5. Try to keep in mind how you like to process information. Users will usually read about a company before deciding to contact them so it is safe to keep Contact as the last item in the list. By now you should have something like this:
    card-sorting.gif
  6. Make sure all the names are as clear as possible. It isn't helpful to use clever titles if the user won't be able to predict what information is on a page when they click on a link. Show your friends and family your new site map and ask them where they would click to find certain information. If it takes any of them too long, reconsider your page names.

2. Write clear, concise content

Site visitors don't read a website the same way they do a book. Their eyes skim around until they see key words that interest them.

Dividing up your content into small, easily-read paragraphs or lists is a great way to space out content and make it easier to read.

Stay on topic, use a spell checker, and have someone proofread everything.

3. Keep the site styled consistently

There is a science to layout and color that helps to keep site visitors happy and relaxed. Your theme has been designed to set a certain tone and communicate a feeling of professionalism and trust to the people visiting your website.

The best way you can help to maintain this feeling is to keep the style consistent. Remember to always use the same heading for sub titles and don't get crazy choosing font colors that are out of place in your site. Making a word red and bold in a mostly blue and grey site will draw attention to that word, but not the kind of attention you want.

Below is an example of two pages. Which one do you think looks more credible?

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How did your eyes flow over each page? The example on the right may have fun bright colors, but some of them are hard to see and your eye doesn't know where to look first. What is the most important element on the page? The example on the left gently leads you down the page through the content, but the important contact information at the bottom is still easy to find.

4. Update regularly

Give people a reason to keep visiting your site and for search engines to keep your site at the top of their search results page. Here are some ideas:

  • Have a new addition to the team? Write a note welcoming them to the office.
  • Have a page of tips for clients associated with the service you offer.
  • Write something about a trendy new technology, whether or not you choose to offer it and why.
  • Include a seasonal greeting on the homepage — and make sure to take it down on time!
  • Include testimonials, many current customers will be happy to be included and know that their opinion matters to you.

5. Take out the trash

Dead links are an internet hazard. Luckily you are using a content management system that helps you to avoid dead internal links. It is still helpful though to go through your site and test out the links you've inserted, especially ones to outside pages, and make sure they all link to sites that are still active.

Out-of-date content counts as trash too. Keeping all the information up-to-date and relevant will help your customers see your site as a reliable source, and you as a reliable service.