Clients often come to me asking me for help with their websites and blogs.  One of the issues is that they are getting people to their site but visitors aren’t staying long.  What they usually need are simple,  small changes to improve their sites look and feel. They have created products, even gotten top rankings in the search engines and created a hundred page site, visitors have found their sites, but they only visit one or two pages and leave.

Here are four questions to ask yourself and/or your web designer to improve your sites look and feel without spending a lot of time or money doing so.

1. Is your site easy to navigate? do your visitors have to click on more than five links to find what they are looking for? Do they have to scroll down below the fold for the relevant information? The important pages on your site should be no more than five clicks away from the home page (ideally one or two). The main information should be easy for them to find. The main reason people leave a site is because they did not find what they were looking for in the first few clicks.

2. Does your site load fast? This is often one of the biggest problems on the internet. If your site takes more than a minute to load, you might as well close down now.  People are impatient. They want information and they want it now! How fast can your site give it to them? One way to make a site load faster is with less graphics and more text. Sure it may not be as appealing to look at, but it gets the job done. And even today not everyone has a fast connection. Your site must be designed the way everyone can view it quickly. Test your site in all the major web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozila Firefox and Opera.

3. What was your purpose in having a website?  Is your site serving that purpose and the intended audience?  This is a much larger topic and will be covered in more depth later but for the sake of this article, you should review your purpose and make sure it is being fulfilled.  If you want your site to perform, you have to design it in such a way that your visitors are interested in more information, and are encouraged to buy.  

4. Are your colors attracting or repelling visitors?  Color, when used correctly will highlight the important aspects of your site, as well as add clarity and impact to your overall message and purpose.  Poor use of can confuse your visitors and compromise your purpose.  Color trends also play a large role in color schemes. Be sure your site is designed in such a way that if a color change has to be made, it can easily be done.  (A question for your web designer BEFORE your site is actually created). That is why I like WordPress so much. They make it so easy to change color schemes, headers and navigation that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg paying website designers to write code and then rewrite it.

If you follow these four simple steps to improve your site’s look and feel, you should see a significant improvement in visitor retention.  Be sure to do a before and after with your analytics so you can compare just how long a visitor stays before and after these improvements take place.

In the next article we will discuss four more ways to improve your websites look, feel and performance.

If you are in South Florida on May 10th, be sure to check out the Hands on Workshop, “How to Get Your Blog On .” We will cover these tips and more.