sly : marketing

The 3 Rules to Prepare Your Site for New Visitors

This is a guest post by Rahman Mehraby

Rahman Mehraby

It’s not enough to register a domain name, setup a bunch of pages and invite visitors there. It will be like a messy home where things are not clean, available or in the right place. What your site needs before the guests arrive at your home follows three basic rules that are widely ignored:

Marketing begins form here. Your site should speak for itself. Your visitors should come to conclusion that it’s the site they want to buy something from, because it seems to be the one that provides best for them.

Is Your Site Usable?

Have you tried various sections of your site? Are you sure all corners of your site are possible to use? What have you arranged for your visitors? Are they useful for the purposes they’ve been made? Are pages loaded swiftly? Can images be seen, audio clips heard and video clips watched? Can they explain the content they accompany? Is your textual content understandable and applicable for the designated audience you have in mind? Is your site in English if you target international audience?

These and several other questions are to be asked first to make sure there’s a reason why your visitors should take benefit. What’s the use of a website that has not considered such vital issues? Have you seen those sites with the homepage content that is exactly like an “about us” page? Have you landed at the homepage of such sites to learn more about “them”? If so, they’re lucky! The truth is, web surfing is more about “you” and what you’re looking for. Your visitors are no exceptions either.

Is Your Site Functional?

You are familiar with frustration in some websites where very simple and basic expectations are not fulfilled. Links don’t work! Submit buttons go on forever! Some pages never load! The sources linked to and introduced outside the website are not there anymore! Some internal links return Error 404! Some come up with Error 500! Some tell you the database is corrupt! It’s not possible to leave comments due to complicated captcha systems!

This list can also go on down the page in large chunks too. I stop here and I’m sure by now you know what I mean. You don’t want such disappointing experiences for the visitors of your site, do you? So, do this yourself or leave it to others, preferably experts to find the flaws at your site and fix them for you. You must make sure the surfing at your site is like a sweet memorable party you throw at your home.

Have you ever seen the sites you’re a member of and they change their domain names? Then, they redirect you to their new domain name that doesn’t look like the previous one! You wonder how to get to certain parts of the site you’d used to go. You’d left your username and password to your browser to remember and it cannot help you anymore. It’s happened to me and guess what site it was! It was a webhosting website!

Is Your Site Easy to Navigate?

You may think points like these are so out of imagination, but I tell you they’re not. By experience, I’ve realized how enjoyable it is to find the information you want in certain sites compared to others. Do you want a solid example? Go to Google and try to find websites explaining “Immigration to Malaysia” versus “Immigration to Australia”. The top results are usually the government departments related to these topics. You may say, “Of course, they’re the best sources of information for such topics!”

I just want you to try this and see how huge the difference is. Some very basic rules are ignored and I’m not talking about a country nobody has ever heard of. This is a country that has advertised for its immigration plans on international TV stations like CNN, Euronews, BBC, etc.

Make sure you eliminate such issues from your sites. When your guests enter your home(page), they need to find out where things are at first glance. They should be able to get what they are looking for in three clicks. Provide links to your top priority content at your navigation menu, close to the beginning of it.

Have you seen those websites with an introductory page asking you to choose which language, which section, which … you want to go to? Aren’t they a waste of time trying to sell you some advertising teasers? What about the websites with top menu like:

Home | About Us | Our Awards | Our Experts | … | Services | Login | Privacy

Don’t they want you to find their “Services” page soon? So, why don’t they move it next to “Home” button? I just don’t understand.

Optimize Your Site for Your Visitors First

There’s no doubt that all of us want our site to appear on top of the first page of Google for our keywords. Nothing wrong with that, but make sure you have arranged for a useable, functional and easily navigable experience for your visitors. At the end of the day, it’s the visitors who draw their cards out of their wallets and buy from you, not search engines. So, make them happy as your first priority, then go about satisfying search engines.

About the author

Rahman Mehraby is the creator of “TraveList” marketing platform where travel & tourism professionals can create unique listings at a specialized Travel Directory, submit Travel Press Releases for distribution and read Travel Marketing Blog posts on how to promote their businesses.



33 responses to “The 3 Rules to Prepare Your Site for New Visitors”

  1. Hey Rahman,

    Thank you so much for the guest post. I know that I should do a lot more to make my blog better. But, I spend most of my time writing content instead of doing what I should be doing to take care of my visitors and make them enjoy my blog more.

    Thanks a lot for reminding me.

  2. Rahman says:

    It’s a pleasure Jens. Your blog is great and people are attracted to it because you’ve put your pure heart into it. This attractiveness comes from within the content where you’re putting a lot of your love in it. I enjoy your content and will get back to it over and over again.

  3. A good primer for me as I work at designing a new site from the ground up for my blog of three years. It’s time to ramp things up, but mustn’t overlook the basics in the pursuit of design.

    Cheers!

    • Rahman says:

      I’m happy it’s been useful for you Laurie.

      These three rules are the fundamental measures to take in any websites. We usually tend to ignore the basics as they’re basics! And we look for advanced techniques to enhance our websites while this isn’t essentially helpful for our sites.

      I wish you success in what you’re doing.

  4. Chris says:

    Thanks Rahman,
    I’ve been wrestling with usability for a while – about to go through the process of transforming our site away from a typical ‘business’ brochure site into more of a blog driven community oriented site.
    Couldn’t agree more – many still get the balance between being ‘pretty’ and being ‘functional’ wrong… I’m hoping to get the balance right,
    Thanks again enjoyed the read,
    Chris

    • Rahman says:

      I see you’re about to take a major step in the life of your website. This is a great attitude.

      Many think of their websites as some handsome showcase that should provoke awe and surprise. Even if it does so, your business will certainly take off for other reasons like being a usable, functional and navigable site that leads them to the point of conversion (visitor to customer).

      I think a simple yet attractive site makes far more sense than a fancy confusing one.

      Good luck with your website revamp project!

  5. Joseph Hipolito says:

    Hi sir Jens, This is very helpful for beginners and I love to see this and to be honest you give me a Idea with this post..

  6. Anna says:

    Thank you for this guide! The most common problem is with the navigation. Some sites drives me crazy!

  7. Rahman says:

    I’m happy this has been useful to you.

    You are right Anna. The main purpose of designing a navigation bar is to help site visitors find their ways to what they are looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that some sites have remembered this fact.

    When we design our sites, we should keep in mind why a site visitors should have come here and what she/he should be looking for. Those particular things are to be the most accessible ones.

  8. Hi Rahman, Great to meet you here at Sly Marketing. I agree with you, easy navigation is essential for blog posts. I would suggest adding a search box too. If a reader revisits a blog to find a favorite article, a search box may be the best way to navigate there.

    • Rahman says:

      Hi Carolyn, Nice to meet you here too.

      There’s no doubt a search box can add to the successful experience of a user. I totally agree. I’ve tried some more sophisticated search plugin that explores the entire content of the blog to find what’s been searched. The result has been amazing.

      For instance, in the example you’ve mentioned, in addition to the previous article a reader has read before, she can find even other articles with the same tag (keyword), category, etc. I also highly recommend to take search boxes more seriously.

      • Carolyn says:

        Wow, Rahman, that sounds like a great plugin. What is the name of it? I love the idea of a powerful search box for my blog.

        • Rahman says:

          It’s called WordPress Instant Search & Suggest. You can find it at:
          http://codecanyon.net/item/wordpress-instant-search-and-suggest/308665
          There are also a bunch of other plugins in this website. You can search and see which one suits you best.

          I used to use it with my previous theme. It was a very problematic theme and was not compatible with this plugin. As a result of many other issues with it , I finally changed the theme and the present one has got a powerful search itself. Therefore, I’m using my theme’s default search box.

  9. I could not agree more with your 3 rules. Something that may help get people started in the right direction is asking themselves this one question that a lot of companies forget when starting a website design project.
    “What is the call to action you want visitors to your site to take?” This could be anything from having visitors to your site to fill out an online form, pick up the phone and call your sale department, sign up for a free assessment, download, purchase. Whatever you choose as the call to action, keep this mind and you will find that the 3 rules that Rahman provides may come even easier.

    When you get stuck go back and read #1 again. Is your site usable is very important in today’s busy world. If a visitor cannot get what they want in a very short amount of time, they will hit the back button, return to the search engine where they started and try one of your competitors.

    • Rahman says:

      You’re absolutely right Brian. “Call to Action” is also very important. Those three rules should be planned considering the “main purpose” of a website.

      I put it this way: If your site is usable, functional and easy to navigate and your visitors can find what they are looking for, you’ve planned it right. Therefore, they will be led to your “call to action” and they will notice it.

  10. Xavier says:

    Hey Rahman
    These tips are like “back to the basics” and are much important today for success of your blogs. These must be the first things every blog owner must take care of before worrying about Google and other traffic related sources. But these cannot be understood simply by reading, but more by actually experiencing by visiting different sites and having careful observation about them.

    • Rahman says:

      You’re right Xavier. You have to take action and measure how you’ve been doing. One very essential way of monitoring your performance is to use a web analytics service. Google has got a very powerful platform that offers to its account holders called Google Analytics.

      There you can define your paths that lead to an action you’ve designed your site for. If the visitors stop at some point and don’t go further, you will understand something is wrong there. Maybe the navigation you’ve planned isn’t working well for you. Maybe the links are broken. Maybe … you should check things out to find the reason. But this is definitely the way to go.

  11. Shadab says:

    I have added our YouTube channel for our blog, and have seen the viral traffic to our blog. It may also generate some new visitors to our sites.

    Best Regards!

  12. dave says:

    These 3 Rules is a fundamental principle that should not be missed by any blogger. Sometimes we forget the 3 rules like this, but it is very important and is a recommendation from the google webmaster that every website should look good in the eyes of visitors and not the eyes of the search engines.

    • Rahman says:

      That’s absolutely true. The whole point is to connect with the people who visit your site. If you can build that interest and trust, they’ll stay with you and love your site. Then, it would seem that various elements of your site naturally work and bring about the same information expected. A usable, functional and navigable site will look like an intelligent fellow whose company is enjoyable. Web readers won’t get tired of getting back to it again and again.

      Would Google oppose such arrangements in a website? Never. All efforts implemented in Google algorithm is to cope with the expectations and natural behavior of human users.

  13. Anupam says:

    Nice post Rahman! Patience is the virtue when it comes to success. And so is the case with blogs and websites. Its important that we don’t miss on the basics while doing other superfluous things.

    • Rahman says:

      Yes, you’re right. Basics are important and my effort was to redirect everyone’s attention to those principle elements that many underestimate and lose a lot. I agree that one should be patient and keep checking and measuring the achievements.

  14. Amy says:

    Hi everyone. Great article here. I just wrote one similar to it and decided to do a little Googling to see what others thought. Quite similar, I think!

    Lots of great points made in the comments too.. many examples to be found online for sure! Great write, Rahman.

    • Rahman says:

      Thanks Amy for sharing your views.
      It’s interesting to see that people get to the same conclusions when they want to create useful websites. This could be an ongoing process to continue to optimize your website’s usefulness by implementing various tactics including the ones I’ve mentioned here.
      I just read yours and liked it too. What you’ve mentioned creates great impression in any new visitors.

  15. Nina Corales says:

    Usability and navigability are important considerations in creating a new website. make sure that the readers or users will easily access the information that they need from your website.

  16. Mei Mayore says:

    Functionality, usability and navigability are important elements in ensuring that your visitors could easily access your website and find the information that they need to know about you. Keep in mind that users have a very short attention span, hence failing in one of this elements could make your visitors leave your site abruptly.

  17. Nina Corales says:

    These three elements are the primary things that site owners should take into consideration if they really want to keep their visitor. Applying functionality, usability and navigability can also help you send to them the message or information that you want to tell them.

  18. Elaine Salt says:

    The three elements mentioned above are things that will make the visitor keep on checking your site. They will also see if your site is worth of their time. Functionality, usability and navigability can help you to make an easy communication for your clients and make it easy to use. These are the keys for accessible sites and attracting visitors.

  19. Remy Santos says:

    Functionality, usability and navigability – these three are the basic things that the owner of the site should check on. So that visitors will enjoy their visit to your site and they will see the its relevance to them as they get information and keep them visiting your site.

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