5 Website Improvements to Make in 5 Minutes (or Less) from ASAE's MMC Conference 2014

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Today’s crowded online environment includes mobile experiences, social traffic and changing search technologies that call for more care and feeding than “throw it on the web and forget about it.” …

Today’s crowded online environment includes mobile experiences, social traffic and changing search technologies that call for more care and feeding than “throw it on the web and forget about it.” This quick hitting session equipped association communicators with the tools and techniques to practically and methodically turn their website into the most effective communications tool in their toolbox.

Presented at ASAE's 2014 Membership, Marketing and Communications Conference

More in: Technology , Design
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  • Users click the first relevant link
    Helps users discover the breadth of your site
    Helps with SEO


  • 1. 5 Website Improvements to Make in 5 Minutes (or less) Date: June 17 Time: 3:15 PM Hashtag: #MMCCon ET1
  • 2. Checking In • How many of you are in charge of your organization’s website content? • How many have other jobs? • How many of you have technical skills (HTML, CSS, etc.)
  • 3. Just like Tron… we fight for the users. Oops, we mean your members. Hat tip/Credit to John Mills for the original use of this statement at an ASAE conference
  • 4. Why This Matters • More members (and prospective members) will interact with your website than any other association program • Improvements can increase usability by 47% to 58% • Your website can be what makes a potential new member join…or decide not to Source: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/
  • 5. Improve each page every time you touch it. Photo Credit: Flickr, Ed Schipul
  • 6. Create standards: • Provide checklists for content creators • Educate on best practices • Review annually Photo Credit: Flickr, Daniel Kulinski
  • 8. The biggest monster is usually the one you need to fight first.
  • 9. Keys to Visual Hierarchy • The more important something is, the more prominent it is • Things that are related logically are also related visually • Things are nested visually to show what’s part of what Source: Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think
  • 10. F-Shaped Web Reading Patterns • Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. • Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F's lower bar. • Finally, users scan the content's left side in a vertical movement.
  • 11. Layout Considerations • Create a visual hierarchy within the viewing pattern • Communicate user value quickly – Base navigation and layout on key user actions – Keep the user and let them explore based on their need • Engage and Convert
  • 12. “Having an effective call to action is an essential part of any website. A call to action is not just limited to ecommerce sites. Every website should have an objective it wants users to complete whether it is filling in a contact form, signup for a newsletter or volunteering their time.” - Paul Boag
  • 13. Define User Action • What do you want the user to do? – Fill out a form – Register for an event – Connect on social media • Make sure every page has a Call to Action (CTA) – Drive them to the next step
  • 14. For more information about applying to medical school, download the Ultimate Guide to the Becoming an INSERT PROFESSION HERE. If you found this helpful, share it on Facebook or Twitter Connect with fellow members on LinkedIn Stay informed of this and other important policy issues by signing up for our Action Alerts.
  • 16. On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely. - Jakob Nielsen Photo Credit: Flickr, The Real Estreya
  • 17. “Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” - Krug’s 3rd Law of Usability Photo Credit: Flickr, edibleoffice
  • 18. Increase in usability by cutting half the words on the page. Nielsen Norman Group - How Users Read on the Web http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/
  • 19. Keeping it Short • Excess words must die – Happy talk – Instructions – Unnecessary adjectives (e.g. that) • Shorter paragraphs
  • 20. The following questionnaire is designed to provide us with information that will help us improve the site and make it more relevant to your needs. Please select your answers from the drop-down menus and radio buttons below. The questionnaire should only take you 2 to 3 minutes to complete. At the bottom of the form you can choose to leave your name, address, and telephone number. If you leave your name and number, you may be contacted in the future to participate in a survey to help us improve the site. If you have comments or concerns that require a response please contact Customer Service
  • 21. Please help us improve the site by answering these questions. It should only take you 2-3 minutes to complete the survey. NOTE: If you have comments or concerns that require a response, don’t use the form. Instead, please contact Customer Service.
  • 22. Inverted Pyramid Lead – Most Important information Helpful non critical info Nice but not necessary
  • 23. Write (and Layout) for Scanning • Embrace heads and sub-heads – Use properly in Word for easy importing • Break up content with bullets and lists – Like this one • Use formatting to call out copy – Bold sparingly (but effectively) – Italics • Leave white space between content • Use strategic images
  • 24. "Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."
  • 25. I must go to sea when: • I'm depressed or melancholy • I stop in front of coffin warehouses • I follow funerals • I have a powerful urge to knock people's hats off Credit: Writing for Readers Who Scan by Kathy Henning http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1716452/writing-readers-who-scan
  • 26. Dispense with jargon & superfluous vocabulary • Speaks only to insiders – Excludes new (or potential) members of your community – Hurts search discovery • Harder to read and understand – Did you understand this headline? • “No buzzwords or fancy language”
  • 27. Bad Good riverine avifauna river birds involuntarily undomiciled homeless The patient is being given positive-pressure ventilatory support. The patient is on a respirator. Most refractory coatings to date exhibit a lack of reliability when subject to the impingement of entrained particulate matter in the propellant stream under extended firing durations. The exhaust gas eventually damages the coating of most existing ceramics. plainlanguage.gov – Avoid Legal, Foreign and Technical Jargon http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/FederalPLGuidelines/writeNoJargon.cfm
  • 28. Passive vs Active Voice? • “Active voice is best for most web content, but using passive voice can let you front-load important keywords in headings, blurbs and lead sentences. This enhances scannability and thus SEO effectiveness.” - Jakob Nielsen
  • 29. Passive vs Active Voice • Passive Voice: Best for Headlines and Subheads – Front load keywords with passive voice – Put the most important words first – Think ROI • Active Voice: Best for body copy – Increases readability and understanding – Writing best practices
  • 30. Get Your Free White Paper: 5 Tips to Better Writing Our new whitepaper will make you a better writer for the web. This whitepaper covers important topics that will increase the readability of your website.
  • 31. 5 Tips to Better Writing: Get Your Free White Paper Now Become a better writer for the web with this new whitepaper. Increase the readability of your website with the important content in this paper.
  • 33. • A mix of satisfying and sufficing • We don’t choose the best option • We choose the first reasonable option • Why? • In a hurry • Low penalty for guessing wrong We “Satisfice” Photo Credit: Flickr, Ben McLeod
  • 34. Curb Satisficing with an “Off Ramp” • In line links based on the subject • Recommended content • “Trending” content • Frequently updated content • Images matter now, especially for social sharing
  • 36. • Users search for website and content via Google FIRST • Good SEO will pull in targeted prospects (and new members) • Bad SEO diminishes site visibility in search engines, rendering it invisible to most users • “Black Hat” SEO not worth it—know what works NOW, not what used to work Photo Credit: Flickr, Eric Spiegel
  • 37. SEO Tips • Make it visible – Relevant content can’t be hidden behind a login • Know your relevant keywords… and use them! – Headlines – Body Copy – Internal Links • Build links back to your site – Press Releases – Partner Sites – Social Media and Communities – Embrace Google+
  • 38. SEO Basics • SEO Friendly URL • Title Tag • Descriptions • Keywords
  • 40. Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information Photo Credit: Flickr, Another Seb
  • 41. Pictures Improve Engagement • Eyetracking studies document a gap in how users view website images: – Some are completely ignored • Big feel-good, decorative images – Other pictures are treated as important content and scrutinized • Products • Real people
  • 42. NO!!!
  • 43. YES!
  • 44. Photo & Image Ideas • What to show – Leadership photos – Member photos – Real events – Real industries – Staff – Products • Where to get it – Members – Custom – Creative Commons – Stock • As long as it’s good
  • 45. BONUS TIP: GET READY FOR MOBILE Image credit: Irita Kirsbluma on Flickr
  • 46. Why this matters • In the US, 25% of users only access the internet via mobile device • This number will only continue to increase— get ready now • Over 25% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device • 25% of emails are opened on mobile devices
  • 47. Tips • Simplify • Remove Tables • Change PDFs to Images • Optimize Your Images • Design for touchscreens • Simplify navigation • Think mobile when being social
  • 48. Wrapping Up • Less is more • Images can convey 1,000 words • Enhance your chances of being found • Give users a reason to come back again • If you’re not mobile-ready, get there. Now.
  • 49. Contact Us Ray van Hilst Director of Client Strategy and Marketing Vanguard Technology rvanhilst@vtcus.com 703.439.1990 Maggie McGary Senior Associate Strategic Communications Group maggielmcg@gmail.com