I'm going to give you some of the factors that you MUST do to make your website usable and increase its usability. This is not the same as making it look pretty, having nice graphics, etc. It's about making sure that people coming to your site have the opportunity to BUY from you. If you make it difficult, they won't. If you make it easy (and usable), they will.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 313
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[03:18] Tom's introduction to Website Usability [04:20] Speed of website loading [05:28] Website must work on a mobile device also [06:37] People with disabilities [07:19] Minimize navigation buttons [09:43] Consistency [11:45] Avoid distractions [15:49] Don't waste your time making a testimonial page [18:56] Sponsor message [21:34] Checking website usability by using real people
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
College Ripoff Quiz – https://imtcva.org/quiz
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – email@example.com
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Program – https://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/
Liquid Web Hosting – https://liquidweb.i3f2.net/5v3Pn
Browser Shots – http://browsershots.org/
Don't Make Me Think book – https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Make-Think-Revisited-Usability/dp/0321965515/
Jakob Nielsen – https://www.nngroup.com/
Usability Checker – https://www.powermapper.com/products/sortsite/checks/usability/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Website Readability – https://screwthecommute.com/312/
I discovered a great new headline / subject line / subheading generator that will actually analyze which headlines and subject lines are best for your market. I negotiated a deal with the developer of this revolutionary and inexpensive software. Oh, and it's good on Mac and PC. Go here: http://jvz1.com/c/41743/183906
The WordPress Ecourse. Learn how to Make World Class Websites for $20 or less. https://www.GreatInternetMarketing.com/wordpressecourse
Join our Private Facebook Group! One week trial for only a buck and then $37 a month, or save a ton with one payment of $297 for a year. Click the image to see all the details and sign up or go to https://www.greatinternetmarketing.com/screwthecommute/
After you sign up, check your email for instructions on getting in the group.
Want The Transcript for this episode?
Episode 313 – Website Usability
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode three hundred and thirteen of Screw the Commute podcast. Talking about Web site usability today. And that's not readability. I covered that in the last episode. But if you mix usability with readability and just make sure the Web site looks good enough and no better to represent you professionally, you will have done more for yourself than ninety nine point nine percent of the sites on the Web. And then you have an infinitely increased chance that your site will reach your goals. Now, with all that hype I just gave you about how important usability and readability are, you still have to have traffic or none of it really matters. But the critical sin is to send tons of traffic to a site that doesn't convert them to what you want them to do. So driving traffic takes a back seat to what I'm going to cover today and what I covered in the last episode about readability. That was 312. Now make sure you grab a copy of our automation e-book at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And this e-book has saved me millions and millions of keystrokes and allowed me to grab customers off of other people that were too slow to get back to people. I mean, if you can automate a lot of things, you can spend time taking care of customers and getting them to give you the money. Well, this book will tell you how to do it at school. screwthecommute.com/automatefree. Grab your copy. It's free for you because we charge 27 bucks for everybody else. So thank you for listening. Grab a copy also while you're there of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app and you'll be able to put it on your cell phone and tablet. We have complete instructions on how to use all the fancy features that you can take us with you on the road.
[00:02:31] Now, I know everybody's in the middle of this pandemic and freaking out, but I'm not in a lot of my students aren't because they're able to sell things on the web or do services or do all these things that we teach in my school and in my mentor program remotely. They're not freaking out because all of a sudden they can't go to an office somewhere. And I want this for you. And if you check out my school, IMTCVA.org, it's a distance learning school. It's the only one of its kind in the country, probably the world that teaches these hard core skills that I have been living personally for twenty six years now with this beautiful lifestyle business. So check it out at IMTCVA.org.
[00:03:20] Okey dokey. Let's get into the main event. Let's get into some of the factors that you need to address to make sure your Web site is usable. So here are several things from the mechanical point of view. See, your Web site needs to be available to the public as close to a hundred percent of the time as possible. Hosting is pretty much reliable nowadays.
[00:03:45] But there is a big difference between ninety eight point five percent uptime and 100 percent uptime. Uptime is the time where someone can access your Web site, a good, reliable host is important for this and I have my current recommendation for high quality and great service. Web site hosting in the show does. Now, bottom line here is if a visitor tries to access your site and it's not available because the host wasn't reliable, well, that's not very usable now, is it? Now, the next thing is speed of loading. I mean, Google came out several years ago and said that if your site doesn't load lightning fast. It's never going to see the light of day and their search results. And that's bad enough. But guess what? Visitors won't put up with that either. They're used to visiting perfectly optimized sites that load quickly on both a cell phone and desktop. And they just won't wait around for your site to load. So you lost them. Now, even the word press is the gold standard of Web sites and has been for years by tech guys, I've seen many instances of our students sites where they have loaded in too many plug ins. I mean, we've even seen sites with three plug ins activated that all do the same thing. Also, photos and graphics that aren't put on correctly can take a pretty good site and make the pages load. Well, let's say in a couple of days, or maybe you've got to have a calendar to wait for it to load. Now, the next big issue is how your site works on a cell phone, tablet or any kind of mobile device. This is called responsiveness, and way more than half of all Web traffic is on these devices. And ignoring that fact can be the kiss of death for your site.
[00:05:50] Always check your site on as many devices as you can before deeming it finished. Now, one site that will help you with this is called Browser Shots.org. It looks at your site and you will have in the shown us it looks at your site in different browsers and different devices. And I think you be pretty surprised at what you see if you use this tool. But it's better that you see the bad things and fix them rather than many visitors seeing them and thinking poorly of you. Also, Google has moved to mobile first indexing, they call it. So that means they're going to use the mobile version of your site to see if you should rank high or not. So very important to be good for mobile. Now, here's another big issue that's become more important as more and more people with disabilities access the Web. You can get plug ins that give a sight impaired or manual dexterity impaired person. I hope those are politically correct. I'm not sure. I mean, no offense. You know, people have trouble with accessing things and using their hands and and seeing. So you have to be aware of that and make it easier for them to navigate. You can put a plug in on your site that lets them raise the font size and change the color scheme and contrast in many of other things that help disabled people use your site. And now that I brought up the topic of navigation, you know, because you've got to make it easy for people to navigate.
[00:07:29] Let me tell you the tough assignment I give my students when they are developing a Web site.
[00:07:35] I tell them they have five navigation buttons total with no drop downs on any any of. Okay. And this includes out of the five home about and contacts. So they only have two navigation buttons to lead people into their site. Boy, do I hear moaning and groaning about how that's impossible. You know, that they go on and on about all the products and services they have.
[00:08:05] So I tell them I don't want to hear it. Just do the exercise. Well, you know what happens? Most come back with how it forced them to really come up with the essence of their site.
[00:08:19] After that exercise, I do let them add a modest amount of additional navigation buttons or drop downs. But when they do, they really think them through instead of just dump in the kitchen sink on top of their website. I have actually reviewed sites that had over a hundred places to click on the first screen, above the fold, above the folds in old newspaper term of what was seen on the first page of the newspaper above the fold, where you would read the bottom half of the first page. Well, on the Web, it's whatever can be seen on the first screen, regardless of the device. Now, you do not want to confuse people with too many choices. They will get overwhelmed and leave to an easier site to navigate. Now, let me tell you about a site. I had that one best to the Web, an eight magazine. It beat out three other Web sites that cost over a million dollars each. Mine cost only six hundred and fifty bucks at the time. And nowadays it would only cost about one hundred and fifty. They asked the panel of CEOs that were reviewing the sites. Why mine? What the answer. The site was easy to navigate and they could find what they wanted fast. That's all a bunch of CEOs that hold purse strings that could give you money. That's all they cared about. All right. The next issue is consistency. You want to make sure the visitor feels comfortable that they know where they are at all times on your site and that you haven't done anything to make them wonder what where in the heck they are.
[00:10:00] I mean, I've seen lazy Web site owners send the visitor with no warning to other Web sites that they own that look completely different. This is jarring to a visitor and frequently makes them leave. It would be like showing someone around your house and then you open one of the doors and you walk right into Wal-Mart. It's just it just way. Where am I? I don't know. That's the way they feel. And they leave because they think they might be getting scammed or they're just confused. And it's just very jarring. If you're sending someone to a different site, make sure you tell them where they are going. And most of the time you want to put the link in what we call a new window. That way the person can surf around the site all they want, but your site is still waiting for them when they get done. Now, sometimes you don't want them coming back. Maybe you're sending them to an affiliate site. You want them to concentrate and buy the product so you get a commission. You wouldn't put the link in a new window that. All right. Other things that should be consistent would be colors. Let's say, like all subheadings were the same color. The justification of your text, we suggest, and I covered this in the last episode on readability justified. Leffe ragged. Right. You want that consistent font consistency? I mean, I see all the time when I'm reviewing sites where people copied and pasted information from different sources and the font is different or it's a different size and the justification changed for no apparent reason. See, all of these things confuse people and make your site less usable.
[00:11:47] All right. Now avoid distractions. And I learned this from the great Corey Rudel in 1996. He told me, take off the navigation buttons on the sales pages. And since then, I've learned if I'm really counting on a sales page to do the selling, I remove the sidebar from the blog site. So it didn't really have blog sites when I first learned from Corey Rudel. Where I remove the sidebar. So all the people see is the sales message and they don't get distracted by ads or other information on the sidebar. Now, I may you may see sites of mine that have appeared to violate this rule. However, you've got to think about where the traffic's coming from that see the page. And if I had just done a two hour webinar, which was the sales tool, it doesn't really matter. They're already sold before they hit the page. So but if you're using the sales page, you want to make sure there's no distractions on if you're using it to sell. All right. Let's get back to distractions. But let me tell you about a student I had years ago that was a veterinarian. He'd lived up north in the USA, I think it was Michigan, and he had invented an ice remover for your sidewalks that wouldn't hurt your dog's feet. Great product. So I had him write a sales letter about the product. And when he finished, he sent the site to me for review and he was all proud of it. And he should have been great product, good sales letter.
[00:13:20] Except this is a big except.
[00:13:25] Right at the bottom of the sales ladder, actually right near the add to cart buttons. He had pictures of emaciated dogs. I think he had Sarah McGlaughlin music play. Right. I'm just kidding about that with me. He was soliciting donations for the ASPCA, the animal place. I said, get that the heck off your page. And you say, well, that's pretty heartless, Tom. Oh, hey, listen, there's no bigger supporter of dogs in need than me. None. All right. But but you don't put emaciated dogs right next to your add to cart button. People will put their money to the dogs and forget about buying your stuff. The proper way to do this would have been to sell the ice melter. And then on the thank you page, ask for the Domen donations. I mean, if they didn't buy the ice melt, you could use an exit strategy to go for the donations. Just don't put two things together like that. It's a losing strategy and total distraction. All right. It should be your goal when building a Web site to lead the visitor by the nose through your Web site, making them click on things to get them engaged. And when they do click on things, it should take them exactly to where they only see things that interest them.
[00:14:52] Let them self select what interests them and let them go deeper into your content or sales process on their own.
[00:15:02] If you have multiple products and services, they go back to the beginning and pick their way through a different path. All about the other product or service that interest them, and then you only show them that stuff. When you do have products and services that are quite different and you only have budget for one Web site. My method is what I've called for years, separate them at birth. OK. Let's say you do sales and customer service, you have a big button that the top two big buttons at the top of your home page saying interested in sales training. Click here. Interested in customer service training. Click here and then take them down separate parts. So all they see is what they originally clicked on.
[00:15:51] Ok, here's another thing that might surprise you.
[00:15:54] Don't waste your time making a testimonial page. Nobody clicks on and they know you're just going to brag about yourself. Here's the best practice when using testimonials. Use a testimonial that right near and that supports something you have just claimed. So let's, for instance, in my public speaking training, I claim that I can teach you to sell at the back of the room. I mean, I don't haven't been beaten in 20 years at the back of the room sales and usually for enormous amounts of money. So I can teach you how to do this. So I might have then a testimonial from Joe that says, hey, I took Thom's back to the room selling course in the first day out. I made a thousand bucks and I never made anything before. You know, so it supports that and people will look at it. But if you just line up loads the testimonials. Rarely do they get much attention. And there's other things that I have for you, other places or other episodes to talk about formatting. All right. Now, there's a couple of resources I want to give you, and then I'm going to give you the poor man or help poor person's way to check your own Web site usability. There's a famous book called Don't Make Me Think, OK? I love it. It's I think it is. They'll get it on Amazon. But the things are still valid. You don't want people wondering what the heck to do. You've got to spoon feed them. Now, the most famous guy in the Web site Usability Arena is Jacob Nielsen and he's with the nngroup.com. Of course, it's in the show notes. It is kind of funny because I landed on one of his old pages and it violated my readability rules from the last episode. But I'm really not ragging on him. He's dedicated his life to this and reading what he has to say. He's got books out and training and all kinds of stuff will absolutely benefit. You know, there's also a free Web site checker Link and if you just type in usability checker, the bunch of them will come up. And one thing I want you to realize about it. I put some of my sites in there and I got some bad scores. Of course everybody will. But some of the bad scores you have to have enough experience to know. Just don't matter. Like, I got a bad score for the way one of my sites looks in Internet Explorer or eleven or something. Well, hardly anybody ever uses that. So who cares? I'm not going to jump through hoops and waste. You know, all my tech guys time fixed in some little mess in something that nobody uses. So you got to take it with a grain of salt. But we'll have that in the show. Notes that link to a Web site checker for you, and it gives you a little check, 10 pages of your site and give you a full report on what to do.
[00:18:57] All right. Now, before I tell you about the poor man's way to check your Web site's usability with real people, let me tell you about my mentor program. It's at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique program on Internet marketing and digital marketing anywhere ever. I'll triple dog dare you to find anybody that has a program that can match this. Seventeen hundred students over 20 years. Very unique features where you actually spend an immersion weekend in my home, my state home called the Retreat Center here in Virginia Beach. Of course, we got to wait till the pandemic's done, but we actually don't let anybody come at least until four months of training because we don't want you deer in the headlights at the most access you'd ever have in your life to a guy like me. And we have video studio here. We teach you stuff you have. And the way most unique features is it's one on one. I don't believe in group training. The only group stuff is like you might have five people here during the retreat, but everything else is one on one, because I don't want the beginners to feel lost when I'm talking to the advanced people and the advanced people. To be bored when I'm talking to the beginners doesn't get anywhere for anybody. And the way the thing is structured, I don't get my big money until you make big money.
[00:20:24] And so those sense in me having you confused all the times. So the other thing that is kind of his unique about it is that people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand to help you with this kind of stuff. And I thought, you know what? They're rip offs, many of them, and they'll never help you. They'll never give you the kind of service I will. So I flipped the whole deal and made them all mad because I charge us a small, relatively small entry fee compared to what they were charging. And I don't get my big money unless you make money. They said that, you know, I'm not going to disappear on you. If you give a lot of those people 50 grand, you'd never see me disappear. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. And it also includes a scholarship to the school I told you about earlier. And that is so powerful. It's nuts and bolts. You'll have a usable skill in a matter of months that is in high demand. Every business on Earth knows they need this stuff. Say so. Check it out. GreatInternetmarketingtraining.com. Give me a call. I'm very accessible.
[00:21:36] All right. Now, let me get to the last part here of how you can check the usability by using real people, either friends or colleagues, anybody, but you can even pay them to do it. But here's what you'll need. You'll need a pencil or pen.
[00:21:54] An actual physical tablet of paper, not a tablet. You know, the electronic one, a video camera could be your cell phone on a tripod or something like that. And a baseball bat. All right. Here's how you do it. You sit your.
[00:22:11] Friend or your colleague in front of your you know, like they'll do it on a cell phone. For this one, put it on a desktop or a laptop where you can see the screen. Put them in front of it. Give them a pen and the paper tablet.
[00:22:27] And then you have them go through your Web site.
[00:22:31] And out loud, you want them to say what they're thinking when they are trying to get around your Web site. And also you got the camera position so you can kind of see their body language in their face, kind of an angle where you see their face and the screen. And with the baseball bat, here's here's the deal with the baseball bat. If you have any kind of urge to say anything and say no, no, just click here or no. What I meant by that was if you have the urge to do that, you take the baseball bat and you hit yourself in the head with it really hard and shut the heck up. No, you're not going to be there to help somebody when there's three o'clock in the morning looking at your Web site case. So just shut up. Don't say a word. You are forbidden to open your freaking mouth. Let them suffer through whatever you have created and then you'll have it recorded on video, what they were thinking. You'll have them making notes on the tablet of something they wanted to ask you after the experiments done and things like that.
[00:23:42] And you will. You will not believe the things that you will hear from people when you thought it was so clear. And they're like, well, I don't really understand this, that the other. And then you fix it and then you do the thing again. And, you know, this could last you for years and years and years. So that's the poor man's way to to do a study on your Web site and make sure you get a good, solid baseball bat. I don't mind if it's wooden or metal. OK. Either one would work just fine. All right, folks, you need to make your site usable, tested, adapted, tested again until your testers are satisfied and you're satisfied. And then you can concentrate on driving traffic to the site, which I've covered on various other episodes. And when you do, you'll know you have given the visitors the best possible chance to navigate your site and understand what you have to offer. All right, folks. That's the story. Check out my mentor program, greatInternetmarketingtraining.com and also my school at IMTCVA.org.
[00:24:55] And I will catch you on the next episode. See ya later.
Join my distance learning school: https://www.IMTCVA.org
Join the mentor program PLUS get a FREE Scholarship to the School: https://www.GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com