Content, Kings, and Why the User Rules the Roost

Posted on April 21, 2015 by Amy F

86512159One thing that’s been clear since Google started tweaking its algorithm to cut down on spam and to promote pages that people actually want to look at it is that “content is king.” If your small or medium business’ website doesn’t have good, useful content, it might as well not exist.

But, these days, optimization goes a step further than that. Nowadays, it’s the user who’s ruling the roost, deciding which sites and which companies do well and which ones struggle. Whether you’re building a new site or looking for ways to better optimize your business’ current one, keep the people who will be using it at the front of your mind. Hire writers to create content specifically for their needs.

They Feel the Need for Speed

Remember back in the day, when most people relied on dial-up connections and waiting for a webpage to load was a lesson in patience? Most people do and they don’t remember that time fondly. Nowadays, people don’t have any patience for slow loading websites. As this infographic from Kissmetrics shows, for every extra second it takes a page to load, more and more people are likely to abandon ship. If a page takes more than just three seconds to load up, 40 percent of people are likely to leave it. That’s a huge number of customers lost, all because a website was a touch on the slow side.

Optimizing your website for speed means making a few small adjustments to its code, such as inlining its CSS or JavaScript and taking advantage of cookies, so that the page loads quickly when a person returns to it. Those adjustments can make a big difference: According to Kissmetrics, you can lose up to seven percent of conversions for every second of delay in loading.

They Want Their Mobile Sites

It’s not just speed that makes your users happy. Most of them also want a site that works as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop. Optimization pros have been sounding the bell about mobile devices for years, so that by now having a site that works well on a smartphone or other mobile device should be part of your plan. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, the majority of people are using a smartphone or mobile phone these days, and pretending those people don’t exist isn’t doing your site (or your business) any favors.

Get to Know Them (But Not Too Well)

Now that you know that your users want mobile optimized websites that load quickly no matter what device they are using, what else should you know about them? The next step in user-focused optimization is personalizing their experience on your site, but not so much that they get spooked and flee. Use the data available to you, such as where the user is coming from, his or her location, and the search words he or she used to find your site, to your advantage.

When building your website, do more than just focus on the content. Remember the person on the other side of the screen, who wants to look at your site, but may not have the patience for a slow loading, too difficult to read, page.

Amy F specializes in personal finance, gardening and writing for the web. Based in Philly, she also blogs about fashion and sewing projects in her spare time.


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