Usability is the key to keep your site visitors` attention. Usability determines the degree of comfort for users of the site on the WordPress platform and their chances to return to the pages of your web project. Of course, usability is not the only important part of your website or blog, but one can not develop any project without it.
Today we will talk about the basic methods of improving the usability of any WordPress site. The science of usability is much deeper than it may seem at first glance. But you can acquire the comprehensive knowledge about it only gradually, along with the acquisition of site management and experience on WordPress. So we start with the simple tips that can be applied even by novice website owners on WordPress site platform.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced administrator, but have not yet been taken these steps to improve usability of your site, then moving on does not make sense. Check how much does your internet project comply with the requirements and parameters, which we present below.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
The proportion of the audience that uses mobile devices goes up to 80% for certain projects. Even if the majority of your users do not view the site from a smartphone or tablet, a certain percentage does so. And you do not want to just lose that percentage of your audience. Therefore it is necessary to take bold steps towards optimizing your site for mobile devices.
Relatively modern WordPress themes are created to suit all requirements for mobile-friendly projects. If you still choose only desktop version of the theme, or use one of the old themes, you can still get help from a special plugins.
One of such plugins is JetPack for WordPress. This plugin is one of the most popular among WordPress administrators due to its multi-functionality and accessibility. Among JetPack functions, there are those that will help you to optimize your site for mobile devices.
Think About the Design
Since we have touched the question about WordPress themes, it is necessary to understand it in detail, because the mobile-friendly aspect is not the only requirement for modern sites and blogs. The keynote of modern WordPress themes is the optimum combination of versatility and simplicity in design. This means that the site needs to perform many functions, but at the same time it should not be overloaded with bright and eye-catching design elements.
At first glance this may seem a very difficult conjunction to implement. However, the creators of modern WordPress Themes perfectly cope with the task. Therefore, the choice of adaptive, beautiful and easy to navigate theme is already wide enough, and is constantly updated with new and interesting works.
It is worth noting that the premium WordPress themes are better optimized than their free counterparts. The difference often lies in the qualified support, which is provided for a premium theme. By financing from their customers, such themes can develop and improve. Free themes often end their way after the first release, and the error found in them can be corrected only by experienced sites` administrators.
However, this diversity can do a bad service for the novice owners of the sites. It is easy enough to get lost in this diversity and to choose not appropriate theme for your project at the end. We can help you in a difficult choice of the best WordPress theme. You will find a lot of themes reviews on our blog. Furthermore, we have a special catalogue of free and premium themes for WordPress with short overviews for each of them. We hope, that this reviews would help you to make the right choice.
Clarify the Navigation
Navigation is the key to usability. If you really want to improve the user experience of your site visitors, you should first think about a simple and comfortable navigation through your site. A common mistake in this regard is to ensure that you know what is best for your users. In fact, your world view may significantly differ from that of the majority of your readers. Use special tools not to read tea leaves.
Tools for the analysis of user navigation on the site perform two simple functions – they track the movement of the cursor for each visitor of the site and constitute a heatmap based on these data. Heatmap is an indicative scheme, which marks the highest and lowest places of activity of the users. With this scheme you will be able to accurately understand what design elements are the most important and give them more attention.
After the determination of the strengths and weaknesses in the design of your site, you need a convenient tool for creating and editing menus. One of such tools is the Superfly plugin for WordPress. With this plugin you can easily create menus of different difficulty without any CSS knowledge.
Speed Up the Downloading Process
Site Speed is also a crucial indicator of its usability. No other usability techniques stand important if the user does not wait for the download of your site. Every second of delay will cost you 7% of site traffic, so ignoring of this indicator is strongly prohibited.
The main techniques for reducing site load time include selecting a good web host, the use of CDN technology, the installation and configuration of a caching plugin (for example W3 Total Cache), usage of a plugin to optimize images` sizes and their dynamic loading, and many other aspects. You can familiarize with the full guide to speed up your WordPress site, which we have posted earlier.
Do not forget to monitor the cleanliness of the WordPress admin panel. In particular this applies to the plugins menu. Browse the menu periodically for unnecessary or obsolete items. Remember that a large number of plugins can hurt performance of your site.
Get Rid of Broken Links
Broken links frustrate your readers. There is nothing worse than misguided expectations, so try to get rid of such inconvenience for your users. But no matter how you tried to monitor the relevance of the links, after a certain amount of time and a large amount of content on the site it becomes impossible to do it manually.
Special plugins come to the aid of WordPress administrators in this matter. One of these free plugins is Broken Link Checker. This plugin automatically tracks broken links and gives you their location on site for operational changes. Plugin`s functions are very simple, but it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this process to improve the usability of your site.
Use Popups and Contact Forms Wisely
Popups and contact forms are important to increase your list of subscribers and their involvement in the life of the site. However, too much effort in this area can do more harm than good. Google has already announced that sites with a lot of popups and contact forms will receive a penalty in the SERP. So thoughtless placement of numerous popups must be stopped.
The optimal solution of this problem may come from modern popup plugins that allow you to create contact forms with a reasonable approach. One of such plugins is Ninja Kick Subscription Plugin. It allows you to create modern subscription form, which does not block the user to read content and do not irritate with their appearance at the wrong time.
Usability is an infinite field for study and improvement. Start your journey with our simple tips and evaluate the results of the work done. Visitors of your site will thank you for a cozy online project for sure.
But do not stop there! Continue to test and analyze the behavior of your readers and make valuable conclusions for yourself. Based on these survey, you will be able to connect new tools to improve the usability of your WordPress site. And we will continue to provide you with valuable information on all matters of administration on WordPress platform!