A while back I wrote 25 Ways To Improve Your Site Today. Many people thought it was useful. I’m trying again now with a twist. I’m offering you, dear reader, tips to improve your site in various ways – each one only taking approximately 5 minutes.

This is starting to sound like a one-page spammy advert (did I mention my advice is free free free!) so let’s get stuck in. After all, you only have 5 minutes to read this…

The Tips

Disclaimer: The tips I’ve come up with would take me about 5 minutes to complete on website’s I’ve built. Everyone builds sites differently so times may vary.  :-)

Usability/Accessibility

  1. Use your logo: Link it to your homepage. Sounds simple enough but it will save time for your users.
  2. Make links obvious: It’s a quick job to style them so they contrast against regular body copy.
  3. Make text readable: Don’t worry about cramming text so small so it stays ‘above the fold’ – let your text breathe by adding line height and space. And don’t be shy about increasing your font size.
  4. Make a useful 404 page: Maybe put a few words to explain what a 404 error is and point people to your site map, homepage or search facility.
  5. Offer a way to contact: Sounds simple, but if there is no way to contact you, people may not be able to tell you of issues on the site.

SEO

  1. Add title attributes: Add relevant title attributes to your main navigation. It will strengthen on-page SEO with very little effort.
  2. Create a Google site map: There are many generators and it only takes minutes. You can increase your website’s saturation almost instantly.
  3. Optimise title tags: Check title tags are relevant on your key pages and improve them where necessary.
  4. Check headers: Check that pages make use of H1, H2 and H3 tags. Check that these contain your main keywords (and still make perfect sense to the reader. No spammy tactics, else a kitten will tread on broken glass remember.)
  5. Link from your copy: Often forgotten about, why not interlink from key pages deeper into the site?

Design/Development

  1. Feedback: Get a few people to make one suggestion each about your site. It’s easy to be blind to mistakes on your own website. But let it turn into a website that’s designed by committee. Feedback can be useful but you don;t have to address every point.
  2. Browsers: Check your main website’s functionality in (e-commerce/gallery etc) in as many browsers as possible. Note any issues to fix later.
  3. Give direction: Your homepage isn’t an ‘about’ page. Give visitors a reason to click around. (Log in / Sign up / Request brochure etc.)
  4. Let the user be in control: Avoid popups, resizers and all those nasty things. It’s the users browser, not yours. Most popups can simply be placed on a new page.
  5. Animation: I’m not against a bit of useful animation, but don’t let images animate continually whilst the user is trying to read the content or look at a product. It’s like trying to sell a car to someone whilst dancing around distractingly in the background in a giant banana suit. Almost.

Content

  1. Rewrite: Read your opening paragraph. If it doesn’t engage you then rewrite it.
  2. Simplify: If you use too much jargon, replace as many instances as you can with clear wording. Jargon doesn’t help anyone.
  3. RSS: Let your RSS feed be auto-discovered. It’s easier for the user to locate that way.
  4. Don’t overdo it: People don’t have all day. Put key information in succinct paragraphs on the page. Waffling (except for around here!) is not for the web.
  5. Accessible: Check that you can access all the key pages of your site as a first time user. You may need a volunteer or two to test this theory. If they’re tough to find (the pages, not the volunteers) then make them more obvious.

Off Site

  1. Visibility: Check that you’re high in Google for your company name. If not, add a few links to your site with the company name in the link.
  2. Be nice: Answer a question on a forum about your speciality. You’ll gain a friend and some respect. Authority = traffic.
  3. Get involved: If you’re not on (by on I mean even a basic profile/listing) all of the cool places to hang out (Facebook/Twitter for instance) then sign up. People may be looking for your services via these channels.
  4. Read: Read a news story about your industry – it may come in handy as a reference.
  5. Stay Ahead: Similar to the above, except this time keep an eye on new web technology. If you can use a new technology to your advantage and you get in there first then you may have just carved out a niche.

Helped?

I hope that helped out a few of you with little time on your hands. Let me know your quick tips by leaving a comment below.

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