The Numbers Say It All
According to Usability.gov (a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website)-
People often do not find what they came looking for in a website. A study by User Interface Engineering, Inc., revealed that 60% of the times that an individual goes online to look for something or some information, they cannot find it. Research by Forrester Research gives a figure of 50% loss of potential sales, as users are unable to find the right product. Wait, there is more, 40% of the visitors do not return to a site after they have had a first unfruitful and dissatisfying experience.
Zona Research made the most alarming conclusions- 62% of internet shoppers, give up searching for the item they hoped to purchase online.
Complicated Navigation=Poor User Experience
These figures are shocking! But they give you an idea, as to how much you are losing if your site’s navigation is complicated and confusing. Many webmasters think that if they put everything they have on offer in the sidebar in the template on every page of their website, they will cater to all the visitors, all the time. Sadly this is not true. As doing so is not relevant, and can lead to too much information for the visitor.
You have to think this logically, you have visitors coming on to your page from different sources. Whether it is search, PPC, Social media or anything else-they expect a certain something that was promised on the link that they clicked. When they arrive here looking for that particular thing, and you present them with million other offers, not at all relevant to what they are looking for- it is definitely going to confuse them or worse put them off. The result may be an increase in the bounce rate if nothing else happens.
If you overlook the usability of your page, when working on the landing page, then you have everything to lose. A cluttered and stuffed with information website is no help to any user at all!
More Links = More Link Loss
Bleeding ranking is quite a common problem faced by webmasters all over the world. The fact is that if you have more links on a page, then you will face more link loss. Experts believe that link equity is divided by the volume of links (outbound or internal). In simpler terms, if you have 20 or 30 strong links from a page, you can rank it better. But if you have 100 links or more on a page, the percentage of link-flow moving through those links is minimized considerably every time you add another. The result is that you end up with 100 weak pages!
Search engines will undermine your value if you have excessive internal links. Here is the metric you can keep in mind while working on internal linking:
10 internal links for 1000 words page is not that effective for link juice as 5 internal links for a 1000 word page. This will increase the link flow through contextual relevance.
Remember that pages are ranked by search engines and not websites. So if you have weak pages, you don’t stand much chance in the ranking arena.
What You Can Do
Always keep relevancy in your mind. Break your navigation, and think of the relevant path to the user and before linking internally, think if it would be better to send them back to the main category with breadcrumbs or opt for using the primary navigation instead?
You have to work on your site’s architecture after you have figured out the information you want to give and where.
For a better user experience it is advisable that you:
Create a new landing page. And link it to the sidebar (instead of having multiple links on it- you just have the link to the landing page. This page will contain all the relevant and necessary information for the user. Also, the link loss on the global sidebar region of your website will also be minimized.
You can experiment on all outbound or internal links on a page. You may rename the link to the landing/hub page more prominently- so that it attracts both the users as well as the engines.
You must also provide location-based feedback with breadcrumbs. This can be done by matching the hyperlink text to the destination page’s heading, etc
You can use the hub/landing page with a noindex, follow command in the meta data. This way the link equity to pass through the page, without having any chances of a duplicate content penalty.
You can also provide a table of contents by creating a site map. It must list the relevant links on the website in an organized, hierarchical manner.
As a Parting Shot:
In case you are using Flash navigation, then include the same navigational elements in text link form on your website for users without Flash. The key here is to optimize user experience, so that they can navigate to what they were looking for- and to preserve the link equity of every page.
You lost a visitor due to the slow loading speed of your site. In fact you may be losing many visitors due to this everyday! It is quite a possibility that your site’s speed could be impacting the number of visitors you get.
The Google Aspect To Site Speed
Now, as a webmaster, you must not concern about your site’s loading speed just because of visitors leaving before you’ve had your say. The thing to be noted is that now Google includes a site’s loading time in the list of ranking factors. Google announced that the Page Rank formula will now have the site’s loading speed as a determinant. In a new Webmaster Tools blog post, this was pointed out by the search giant. This means that you need to improve your site’s speed not only for visitors but also to make Google happy!
Improve On Your Caching -Doing this really helps. You need to turn PHP into quick HTML. When a PHP script comes in, it is parsed by the web server and then the HTML data is send to the web browser. This process takes time as the server memory is used here, and consequently you site loads slowly. You can take the help of plugins and tools such as WP Super Cache to turn PHP into quick HTML. When you are using this cache plugin, the page you are viewing, does not use the database any longer, the pages load faster and and the server is ready for more traffic.
Use CSS Sprites – Images take a lot of time loading. Enter CSS Sprites- these are the best loved method for reducing the number of image requests. All you need is a knowledge of the code and you can combine the background images into a single image. Then with the CSS background-image and background-position properties, you can display the desired image segment.
Also, there is no purpose of having multiple CSS stylesheets. You can reduce the number of browser requests by combining them into one. This way you will save the time that it takes to request another URL , and hampers website speed.
Combine the style.css, print.css, and ie-fix.css into one single style.css.
Reduce DNS Lookups-
You must make a note that whenever a new domain or subdomain is requested, it must be looked up for DNS information. For this the browser connects to the domain’s IP address at the server that it is hosted on. The browser can’t download anything from this hostname until the DNS lookup is completed. If you have too many lookups, then the page will load slowly.
To avoid DNS lookups, you can store the references or imaged that you have from some other site, on onto your own server and host it from there. Avoiding DNS lookups cuts response times, but at the same time it reduces parallel downloads too-which causes an increase in response times.
Some experts advise domain lookups while using an analytics script-like Google Analytics, WordPress.com Stats, etc.
Compression reduces the response times by reducing the size of the HTTP response. The pages are compressed before being sent to the user. The server compresses the file, and sends to the client’s system a compressed version of hte page. The client’s browser then uncompress it and display the page. Gzip is the preferred compression method as it reduces the response size by about 70%. No wonder that 90% of Internet traffic claim to support gzip. While using Apache, the module configuring gzip depends on your version: Apache 1.3 uses mod_gzip while Apache 2.x uses mod_deflate.
You must remember that if you Gzip as many file types as possible, you will see a definite reduction in page weight and a speedier loading.
Avoid Redirects – You have used a redirect too on your site- it is a common practice. Sometimes, you connect an old web site to a new one; or sometimes you connect different parts of a website and direct the user there. Redirects may be making the work easier for developers, but it degrades the user experience.
The reason is that redirects really inflate page load times. When you insert a redirect between the user and the HTML document, nothing can be done till the HTML document arrives. So avoid redirects as much as possible.
Speed Up The Loading Of Images and Videos – Images and videos take a lot of time to load. Even the Ads on your site can slow down the loading time. So what you can do here is compress and shrink them to the right size. Image maps is an excellent option here, as they combine multiple images into a single image. With the number of HTTP requests reduced, the loading time of the page is speedier . Make a note that image maps only work if the images are contiguous in the page, such as in a navigation bar.
You can also optimize images, by checking the GIFs to verify if they are using a palette size corresponding to the number of colors in the image. You can also convert GIFs to PNGs for better results.
Analytics Programs – While extremely helpful and useful, analytics can take a long time to load up. Save yourself some headaches by eliminating the code for any analytics programs you’re not using. You also may want to switch to an asynchronous tracking code to speed things up.
Additional Tips– You can opt for hardcoding header, footer, and sidebars. By doing this, you will allow them to load faster. Cleaning up your database is also recommended. However you must optimize it regularly. Here are helpful plugins to do this.
Also, if your hosting server is slow, you can’t do much can you? Have a good host, or you can set up a proxy server to act as a bridge between your host server and your site visitors. For the same- consider these-Squid Cache and Cloudflare.
Eliminate the codes of Analytics programs you are not using. To speed things up, try this-asynchronous tracking code.
Reducing the number of HTTP requests in your page is the key. Keep this guidance factor in your mind to work on making your site faster.
Here are a few helpful write ups-
Magento is one of the fastest growing e-commerce solution in the market launched on March 31, 2008. It is an open source e-commerce platform that enable and enhance online businesses’ flow. What Magento provides and is well known for is versatility and freedom. It allows you to control every aspect of your website right from merchandising to promotions. Your ecommerce platform will no more keep your business limited.
Magento e-commerce shopping cart is robust and easy to customize, being flexible and versatile. Hence, it is in great demand and continuously gaining more users. Here are some useful Magento plug-ins that will come handy in updating your products to running new promotions.
This extension appends the new canonical links to the head of your Magento pages.
With this module you can easily control Meta robots tags to Magento pages. You can now prevent indexing of your search result pages and tags pages, while still allowing the search engines to follow the links on them, by adding noindex,follow robots meta tags. You can also prevent indexing of non-content pages by adding a noindex,follow. Also prevent indexing of your login and register pages by adding noindex robots meta tags and more.
This module allows you to set the Robots Meta for CMS pages. You can simply use this module with the following way:
Go to CMS/ Manage Pages & go to the “Meta Data” tab under Robots. Here you can set the Robots Meta Tag.
*There is also a new MetaRobots module that does the same job plus some other functionalities.
It automatically sets cross sell products based on customer selections. So, every time a customer checks out, all products that are in the shopping cart are linked as cross sell products.
It adds Google Ads Blocks to the bottom of either the left menu, right menu or both and can be configured in the admin panel.
This plug-in basically enhances transporting fee table rate for international shipping. It displays rates based on country, region, city, zip code or any combination. Ability to set from/to ranges for weights, price, and items. It supports Zipcode numerical ranges and is suitable for use worldwide – proved in several countries including UK, USA, Australia. Filter is based on weight, price, or number of items and more other features.
7.Category Admin product tab: edit product link
This plug-in adds a link to edit product when viewing category product in the category edit tab, very useful when working with big product database, it adds a search feature by category for products. It is available for $ 29.00.
In Magento every product has a fixed attribute set. This module enables you to switch it. With this plug-in you can alter the product attributes after registering any product.
It will help you track everything from clicking the email to visiting your website and then either visitor is being involved in the purchasing process or not. MailChimp manages the information and show it on your campaign report.
This plug-in displays the twitter updates in the menu and allows updates from within the admin panel.
11.Product Gallery Importer:
With this pug-in you can import products with multiple product images from a CSV (Comma-separated values) file.
13.Mass Product Relater:
This plug-in registers related products, up-sells and cross-sells.
An additional feature for the default GoogleAnalytics module, it tracks every keyword typed by your user and tracks every user’s individual page. Allows – tracking of every individual page, optional tracking to a secondary profile, enter DomainName to track via the Magento back-end, First Touch tracking and optional tracking of Adwords conversions for purchases.
With this plug-in you can list the products from the current store.
This plug-in handles click and sales tracking, provides a Magento based sign up form, and adds additional features not available otherwise.
With this plug-in you the flexibility to select any PayPal supported currency as your transaction currency and add new PayPal supported currencies to the PayPal Website Payments Standard payment method in your store’s admin panel. You can now use any base currency for your store.
It allows the customers do gather points within an order, upon registration, while referring a friend or event when posting reviews. The points can be redeemed for discount on purchase. This plugin comes for € 37.99.
Cost: € 37.99
This plug-in allows payments through SecurePay gateway.
It adds ‘Sign Up for Newsletter’ checkbox onto a Onepage Checkout page.
With this plug-in you can display an events calendar on your website. You can also display the upcoming list of events quickly by calling a block in your template.
It will replace the standard menu with a multi-column drop down menu system.
This plug-in allows you to use the order number as invoice, shipment and creditmemo number. It ensures that when an invoice, shipment or creditmemo is created it uses the related order number.
A teaser is basically an advertisement that offers something free in order to arouse customers’ interest. This plug-in shows you the teasers of your product if available.
This plug-in automatically generates the list of your online store’s most viewed products and displays it at the home page (or some other page) in the customer area.
Plug-ins have become important in businesses as it directly affects the efficiency of shopping carts. Installing the right ones will allow your cart to perform more, faster and better; enhancing your business. Team Candid understands this as we provide our services on the same plane. An effective shopping cart is a necessity for any business on the world wide web. Knowing this, we are keen on providing our clients with all the best that we can for their businesses to flourish.
These cool stuffs are sure to help any business associated with Magento. They are free to download, except for the ones where the prices are mentioned (Category Admin product tab and J2T Points and Rewards plug-ins). Keep posted and update yourself with all the latest Magento tools and tips to boost your trade.
The large numbers of e-commerce solutions in the market have made it easier to develop an e-commerce website or to add a small store to your current site. But, there are so many open source e-commerce softwares that choosing the most appropriate one for your business could be a confusing job. Continue reading
We, at Candid Info provide website maintenance services to improve the performance of our client’s site. There are certain features you must check on quarterly basis to review the site. The same is done by our site maintenance experts also. This helps us in knowing what are the ideal steps we can take to keep the website effective. So, here are the top 10 check-up points for your website:
Most of the people make a website for their business without figuring out what they exactly want the website to do. You must know that website can make or break a business. You can create leads with websites, make sales, communicate with customers, educate visitors and create a community for your brand. Make sure that your website is more than just an online brochure. So, before you get a website made, find out what you expect it to do for your business.
- Conversion RateConversion rate is derived from the amount of people who convert into what you want them to do divided by the total number of people who visited the site. This will tell you the effectiveness of the website.
- Cost per ConversionFind out the total amount invested in running the website for one month and divide it with number of conversions. In this way, you will get better idea of the effectiveness of the site and ROI.
Design and Brand Development
You have to judge brand development conceptually, as it cannot be measured like conversion or cost per conversion rate. It you want your business to grow and survive in long-term, concentrate on brand development. Consider these factors to develop a brand:
- Look and FeelDoes your site carry the fresh and exciting look? Are you able to communicate right message about your company through the website? Does you site look cute instead of being cutting-edge? Is the website made as per the current trends?
- User FeedbackIt is important to know if your customers like your website? Check out the number of complaints or compliments your website has received? Find out if your website even provide features to customers to give their feedback.
- Neglected SectionsDoes you website has some parts that are rarely updated or neglected? Do you still need those parts? Check out analytics to know the pages that are visited the most and what is the user experience.
- MultimediaAre multimedia elements present in your site? If yes, make sure they are not outdated or inappropriate for the site page. Make sure that the load time should not be slow for the multimedia pages.
Right keyword usage is essential for the site as it keeps the content focused and helps in ranking the website higher on search engines. You should constantly evaluate and adjust the keywords. Ask these questions:
- How well does the site rank for the keywords?Use keyword tools like SeoBook’s Rank Checker to find out how the website is doing on major search engines. If the ranking is poor, its time to change it. In case you are doing fine, find out the plus points of the site.
- Find out keywords working well for you.Use keyword tools to find out the keywords that are attracting most visitors to your website. This will help you in finding out how each keyword is converting. Put yourself into the shoes of customer and try to find your site by using certain keywords. Are your keywords making sense to him? If not, then change them.
Security should be one of the major concerns when you are updating the site. If the site is made on open source platform like WordPress, Droopal or Joomla, check its security features regularly. You can ask following questions to yourself:
- Has somebody hacked my website?If yes, then find out if you have taken the right steps for security. In case you have recently changed the passwords, then there is a need to get deeper into the matter. A hacked site is dangerous because it can destroy your credibility in front of the users.
- Do you have latest versions of open source content management system?By keeping the open source platforms updated, you will get latest patches and security processes.
If your site is outdated or not performing well on the above discussed criteria, its time to update it. Pay attention to the design and function features of the website. In case the site is really poor in these areas, there is not harm in redesigning it. Some people might be reluctant to the whole idea of redesigning, but it will be easier and quick as you have learned a lot from the previous site designing experience. There are chances of the website harming your brand image because of poor features, lower ranking and unprofessional presentation. So, get it redesigned as soon you can. Even after getting the new site, it is essential to keep a track of its performance on quarterly basis. If you will constantly evaluate and update your site, it will positively affect your advertising, sales and brand positioning.
Get access to SEO Book’s Rank Checker.
Know more about Candid’s Website Redesigning Services.