Some things in life are meant to be challenging. A crossword puzzle or a good game of chess should be challenging, your children’s homework should be challenging, but a website should not be. A website that is challenging – whether it be difficult navigation, incomprehensible content, or anything else not user-friendly – is sure to drive visitors away. The following questions can help you to determine if your plastic surgery website is proving to be too much of a challenge for your visitors:
- How easy or difficult is it to find your website? It’s important that you make your website easy to find. You should promote it everywhere possible, listing your URL on your business cards, invoices and the like. Also consider your URL and whether or not it’s easy to remember and to type, and how easy it is for people to mistakenly misspell any part of it. Your site should also be search engine friendly to further make it easy to find.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to know what your site is about? Your visitors should easily and quickly be able to determine what your site is about and what you have to offer. If they can’t, they’ll simply leave and go elsewhere. Your site must also quickly persuade visitors to continue on your site.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to decide where to go next and to find what they want? Ideally, your website should follow a focused sequence leading visitors where you want them to go. Simple is often best. If your visitors are given too many navigation options they may be unable to make a decision and simply leave. Further, you must make your navigation easy to use and enable visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily. A sitemap and/or search feature can be very helpful in this regard.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to read your content? Reading text on the computer is more challenging on the eyes than reading text in print. There are several things that you can do to ensure that your text is easy to read. Avoid long lines of text, keeping sentences and paragraphs short and to-the-point instead. Use frequent subheadings to break up copy and allow visitors to scan text to find just what they want. Also take care with fonts and color. A simple, common font is usually best and dark text on a light background is typically the easiest to read.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to return to your site? Not all visitors will decide to become a patient after just one visit. As such, you must make it easy for them to return to your site. There are several ways that you can do this. Providing continually updated content is one way to encourage visitors to return. Another way is to offer visitors a newsletter which they can sign up for and receive via email.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to print content from your site? The content on your site should be easy to print. You can offer links to printer-friendly pages, particularly for important articles and text.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to share your site with others? Allowing visitors to easily share your site with others expands your audience and is an opportunity that should not be missed. Pages on your site, particularly those with important articles, can have a link allowing visitors to email a page to a friend. It should also be easy for visitors to copy and paste a page’s URL if they choose to email a page themselves, and overly long URLs can make this difficult.
- How easy or difficult is it for visitors to contact you? This is essential. You must make it very easy for visitors to contact you if they choose. Every page on your site should have your contact information readily apparent. You can also include a ‘contact us’ link, but be sure that you provide other options for contacting, particularly a phone number.