Top 5 Tips for Effective Websites
Effective websites are a work in progress. Improving a website does not need to be an all-at-once project; it can be done gradually as a series of incremental improvements.
1. Know Your Audience
You are not your audience. Find out what your audience wants and then structure your site to make it easy for them to find it and take action. Use their language, their terminology, and consider their needs. Keep in mind that your site could serve multiple audiences and you may need to break out content accordingly.
Using Google Analytics can help you determine what content is getting used and what isn't. All UND websites in OmniUpdate have Google Analytics tracking. Request a report by submitting a request.
2. Make Your Site Scanable
People don't read websites, they scan. The average visit on the UND website is about four minutes. Make it easy for people to find what they need and leave by following these tips:
- Write backwards - put the most important information at the top of the page.
- Make it easy and obvious for your users to take action.
- Use short paragraphs and sub headings.
- Turn blocks of paragraphs or steps into concise bullet points.
- Keep it short. Eliminate unnecessary words.
- Only provide what they want. Get rid of clutter.
3. Format Pages
Make sure your pages are formatted properly. Start every page with a Heading 2, then Heading 3, etc. Use bullets to break up content. Search engines pick up on page formatting and it makes your pages look better too.
4. Add Images and Video
One of the main factors that undermine the professionalism of a site is graphics. Images should be professional, owned by UND and appropriately sized for the Web.
Request professional images from the Office of Marketing & Creative Services or contact the a campus video service provider to produce a video. Also, feel free to embed any UND videos on your site from our YouTube or Vimeo channels.
5. Remember Search
Search engines can only find what you make available to them. Make sure every page has a set of unique page parameters (page title, description and keywords). Try to work these same words into your page copy.
Additional tips on Web content standards, including writing styles, are available on the UND Identity Guidelines website.