By: Tom Hellman, Volusia/Flagler SCORE Certified Mentor

(SCORE) - A positive user experience is directly tied to the impression prospective customers have about your brand, including the level of quality of your product or service. There are two simple steps you can take to make sure you are giving your web visitors the best user experience possible – page load speed and quality content. Here is how to make sure your website has both.

Creating a new website for your business is a big undertaking. It can take months to design, code, write and launch a professional site. And that is not to mention the maintenance of your website once it is launched and the ongoing SEO, or search engine optimization, that must be in play to make your website discoverable online.

After working hard to bring your website to life, the last thing your business can afford to do is frustrate your visitors and drive them away due to a poor user experience.

Good design, usability, and user experience are more important than ever in website development. It is a constant fight for visitors’ attention—any delay, complexity, or friction whatsoever could prompt users to leave your site. Often companies put too many barriers in front of customers—overly complex signup processes, excessively strict forms, surveys with too many questions, etc. These things hurt the engagement process and can result in a lost sale.

There are two simple steps you can take to provide your website visitors with a positive user experience.

1.     Pay Attention to the Loading Speed of your Pages.

Today, consumers expect an instantaneous response when navigating through a website. As a result, Google wants to see fast load times and takes page load speed into account when determining a website’s rank in a search result.

As of late 2019, Google considered a page load speed up to two seconds as acceptable, though prefers speeds under a half-second. You can check the page load speed of your website by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

According to a May 2020 article published by Nielsen Norman Group, page load delays of just one second are enough to interrupt a person’s consciousness and delays of just a few seconds are enough to seriously hurt the user experience of a website.

By working with a web developer to improve your website’s page load speed, you will create a better user experience and, over time, increase your site’s ranking in organic search results.

2.     Create Quality Content That is Clear and Direct

Once you get your visitors to your website and, thanks to a fast page load speed, they do not bounce right off your site, a new challenge emerges – keeping the visitor on your website.

The average time spent on a website by a visitor typically ranges from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. That means you have an extremely limited window of time to capture a visitor’s attention and provide them with information about your company, products, and services.

Create content that gets right to the point of what you do and why you do it. Visitors will not spend time sifting through lots of content to find what they need. Make it easy for people to find your site, get the information they need and get in touch with you to learn more.

A website’s information architecture—the art and science of structuring and presenting digital information to achieve good usability—is important to consider when developing your content. Furthermore, the need for a clear and focused message is greater than ever. Given the overwhelming amount of digital content competing for people’s time, delivering value quickly should be a focus.

A positive user experience is critical to the performance of your website. Employ an experienced web designer and developer with a strong grasp on the latest best practices for web design, page load speed and optimized content.

An experienced, outside perspective can benefit any small business, which makes it a good idea to contact SCORE. SCORE is a nonprofit organization with mentors right here in Palm Coast who provide free, confidential business mentoring to small business owners. To schedule a mentoring session, please call our office at 386-255-6889 or visit our website: