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    Perl Archive : TLC : Webmaster : Make Your Site More User-Friendly
    Guide Search entire directory 

    Date Published: 2000-05-01

    May/Jun 00 Main

    What's New in Perl 5.6.0?
    Simon Cozens discusses the new features of Perl 5.6.0.

    Beginning Perl : Ten Perl Myths
    Responses to the top 10 myths about Perl.

    Some Perl Tips
    In this article we wanted to point out several perl tips, which might be helpful for beginner or intermediate level perl programmers.

    Multiple Search Results Pages in Perl
    You have often seen search results split into pages with 10 results per page - all the search engines do this. Learn how to do this in Perl.

    The Netscape 6 Sidebar: What it is and How to Make it Yours
    Learn how to use Netscape 6's new 'My Sidebar' feature.

    Patent Searching Online
    Learn some intricacies and interesting facts about patents, and how to do patent searches.

    Designing on a Bandwidth Budget
    This article presents some ideas on how to create a low-bandwidth, high quality web site design.

    Improve your Image
    Professional looking graphics are a must for any business site, but what can you do if you were born without a creative bone in your body?

    Choose your Merchant Account with Care
    When it's time to get a merchant account, be sure to ask the right questions. And demand answers.

    Make Your Site More User-Friendly
    There are several things you can do to make your site more visitor-friendly. Here's How.

    by Jennifer Johnson

    According to a study by the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, two of the main reasons visitors leave web sites are that they found the sites confusing or could not find what they were looking for. Source: GVU's 10th WWW User Survey (

    How easy is it for visitors to find what they're looking for on your site? If you operate an e-commerce site, this question is especially important to you; it could be the difference between your company getting the sale and your competitor getting the sale.

    There are several things you can do to make your site more visitor-friendly. It might take a little work and "reconstruction", but in the end, I think you'll find it was worth it.

    Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

    A first-time visitor should be able to easily find his or her way around your site; the navigation system shouldn't have to be explained in detail. If it takes a 10,000 word dissertation to tell what constitutes a link, you're in trouble.

    Links that are easily differentiated from the page text are one component of a good site navigation system. An obvious difference between LINKs and VLINKs should exist as well. I don't recommend using LINKs that aren't underlined or LINK and VLINK colors that are the same or very similar. Although these things might make the site "look better", it doesn't help find their way around.

    Another quality of a good site navigation system is using one layout consistently throughout the site. Use the same clickable links or images in the same place on every page. A "You Are Here"-type system is worth a thought too.

    Finding Your Products/Services and Prices Should be Easy

    I can't tell you how many times a frustrated site owner has contacted me with this question: "I have a great product, my site gets lots of hits, but I'm not making any sales! What am I doing wrong?" So many times, when I visit such sites, I see a glaringly obvious contributor to this problem. You have to be an archeologist to discover what it is the person is selling and how much it costs.

    It stands to reason that if you're selling something, the first step is introducing potential customers to your product or service. You don't have to assault them with a blinking "Buy This!!!" graphic at the top of your front page, but you do have to make it very easy for the visitor to find your product or service. Otherwise, you're likely to have lots of visitors but very few customers.

    Develop a Means of Continuing Contact with Your Visitors

    At first glance, this might not seem related to making your site more visitor-friendly, but it is, indirectly. I'll use a newsletter as an example.

    Let's say your visitor signs up for your email newsletter. While you want to include articles of interest, you also shouldn't pass up the opportunity for free advertising. Remember the stat we always see? It takes 7 contacts with a potential visitor to make a sale? You don't want your newsletter to be a blatant ad for your site, but some subtle mentions of site specials, products, etc. is usually acceptable.

    So how does this help visitors find what they're looking for on your site? Simple. Many visitors may not have the time to thoroughly explore your site on their first visit. Discovering the various products/services your offering through your newsletter may lead them to just what they were looking for initially, but didn't have the time to find.

    This is applicable to any form of continuing contact. Keep it in mind when answering email, sending invoices, follow-up letters, etc.

    Depending on the current state of your site, it might take considerable time and effort to get it to the point where it could actually be called user-friendly, but making it easy for people to find what they're looking for not only benefits them, it benefits *you* as well.


    Copyright 1999-2000 Jennifer Johnson
    Articles and resources to help you effectively promote your site. Find out how to get a free site review when you become a newsletter subscriber. To subscribe, send any email to:


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