User friendly website is nothing but a website which is accessible, easy and comfortable for a user to operate. The main reason for making a website user friendly is it helps in increasing traffic for your website, which in turn leads to improvement of your site ranking. Making a website attractive is not enough to attract the people if the usability is not good then the visitor will return and go to your competitor’s site. Just visiting and leaving the site in few seconds, this kind of traffic is no good use. So making a website user friendly is very important as your website is the face of your business especially if it is an online product purchasing company.

Is your website user-friendly? Here are the 6 simple points to make your site better and user-friendly.

Loading Time:

This is one of the most important points because in this busy world no one has time or patience to wait for a page to load if it is taking more than 4-5 seconds. If your website takes time to load the visitor will not wait for the page to load and will never visit again, instead he will move to another site which loads faster that is to your competitors site. The flashes and pictures in the site may be more attractive but they lead in loading the page slow, so try to make a simple website with less number of pictures and avoiding unnecessary HTML codes. Using a proper valid HTML and CSS is also very important to load webpage fast.

 Readability:

This is an important point that should not be overlooked. The font size and color, paragraph is important as it should be readable for the person comfortably even from a little distance away from the screen, the font color should be contrast for background color and paragraphs should be clear and distinguish properly. And also the content of the article should be scan able. When a user visits a website they will not have patience to read the whole content from top to bottom, they just go through the content and check for key points to see if it of their use. Hence highlighting key points, using different font sizes and colors make the content readable and comfortable for the user.

 Simple Navigation:

Navigation plays a vital role in the website. It is always recommended to use simple words like “Home”, “About”, “Blog” and the user should be indicated where he will be taken. There should always be a facility to go back to home easily wherever the user is. It should also indicate where the user is, usually websites indicate by highlighting the button through which they are in that page. There should always be search functionality because if there are many articles the user cant scroll all n search for it. So, by using search functionality it makes easy for the user to search for what he needs. If there are many options for a product it is a very good practice to use a drop down of the options. An important thing to remember is always use simple words and keep navigation simple and easy.

Accessibility:

When making a website make sure that your website is accessible in all the browsers, mobile and screens of all sizes. It should also be accessible for disables like elderly people, blinds and physically handicapped as these people usually use screen readers which interpret what is written on the screen.

Mobile Compatibility:

Since these days all the browsing of websites is done using mobiles, it is very important to make your website mobile compatible. This can be done using responsive web design, which is nothing but your website is designed such a way that it fits exactly to the screen of any size giving whole view of the website. Many site now are using responsive web designs as it helps in increasing traffic due to increase in percentage of users browsing in mobiles.

Error Handling:

Proper error handling at the time of coding keeps the website bug free.  Also  while coding for an online application make sure you give proper error messages, even if the user while filling the form makes some error it should be clearly shown on the screen where the user has gone wrong. This makes website user friendly.

Now-a-days responsive web design has become a trend in this digital world. Generally when you browse a website in your mobile you cannot see the whole website at a glance, you need to zoom and move it to right, left, up and down to have a whole view of website, this kind of website is not said to be a responsive website. A responsive web design is nothing but a website is designed such a way that the whole screen of the website fits in any digital device screen of any size that may be a tablet or a mobile/smart phone.

Why do we need it?

Due to growing technology, mobiles and tablets are more preferred to PCs and MACs as they are easy to carry anywhere at any place. If a person needs information about a particular thing immediately the first thing that is available for them to browse is a mobile or a tablet. When a person is browsing for some information, even if your website contains all the details for which person is searching then, if your website is not responsive the person tends to check another website which is more easy to operate and convenient i.e., to your competitors website whose site may be responsive and user friendly. It also reduces the cost of making different websites for different devices and makes your website user friendly as most of the people use their smart phones to search for the content.

How does it work?

These site are fluid grids that means the page and elements sizing in proportions rather than pixels . In this elements are sized by proportions i.e., if there are three columns/rows, according to the size of page these columns/rows are coded as their size should be some x% of page, y% of page and z% of page. For an instance if you want row to be small , you can give row to be 20% of the page, column as 30%, image as 50%.

In this images are also resized into units. Flexible images allow us to adopt images / videos and upload them differently on different devices by scaling or CSS overflow property. CSS is considered to be most easy and simple way to implement both images and videos. Scaling can also be done by cropping the image using CSS. But the most advisable way is to use less number of images or no images.

 Advantages of responsive web design:

  • Only one site has to be developed common for all devices. By doing this you can indirectly save money as well as time. Otherwise you would spend a lot money in making different website for different devices.
  • By using responsive web design you need not worry about which device is coming into the market and you may have to make another site compatible to it. Responsive site gets exactly fixed in all kinds of devices.
  • It gives user a better user experience because it is more convenient for person to browse a website to which they are used to operate.
  • Social sharing is one of the most important thing to that helps in expanding your business. When someone shares a link on a website from a computer, the browser may not be able to open the link in mobile but by using responsive site this problem can be avoided.
  • It gives good SEO as there is only one url for all kind of devices, the  SEO does not get diluted with different urls and indirectly improves SEO ranking for website.
  • Due to only one url for the website the website tracking becomes very easy.

Disadvantages of responsive web design:

  • It takes longer time to load on the mobile.
  • The initial development of a responsive web design takes much time and it is also easy to make a new responsive website rather than making an old website to responsive website.
  • As it is a new concept there are unfamiliar problem related to it.
  • As responsive website takes the users through same site in all devices, but the fact that people behave different to different devices like people prefer  just browsing and learning information about the products through mobiles and tablets and do the buying of the product using laptop and computer.
  • Since it is  a new concept there are many limitations because there are some problems for which there is no solution yet.

Conclusion:

Responsive web design has both advantages and disadvantages. When creating a responsive website make sure that the person creating has a great knowledge about web technologies and web designing as it needs lot of experience and many bugs may go unnoticed which may create a major problem in future. It is a good strategy but not the ultimate one since it has some  bugs within it.

A user of any website cannot wait for more than 5 seconds for webpage to load. In order to make a website user friendly the website should be fast loading. You can speed up the website by 10 simple practices.

1. COMPRESSING IMAGES:

If website consists of images it is always a good practice to compress the  images and then use it in html. This helps in using less memory space and page loads faster and easy.

2. Using Stylesheets in the HEAD:

It’s always advised that placing stylesheets in the document HEAD helps loading the page faster, rather than placing the script at the bottom. The main issue with placing the style sheets at the bottom is that, in many browsers it does not load the page accordingly.

3.  CSS Sprite:

CSS Sprite is one large image which consists of many smaller images.  If there are 5 images in a website they all together can be combined into one image. This helps in loading only one image  rather than 5 different images. This makes page loading fast and easy.

4. Minifying HTML, JAVA SCRIPT, CSS:

Minification is nothing but removing the unwanted characters like whitespace, comments from code which are written only for readable purpose. This deletion of the characters from the code does not effect the main execution of the program.

For Minifying your webpage you can use Google’s Minify Resources

5. Java Scripts and CSS Files:

Most preferable and easiest way to use java script and CSS files is by making them external and they can be called when needed. By using external files the page loads faster because the files will cached by the browser. If the java script and css files are inlined in the html page, each time the request is sent for html , the files are downloaded and takes more time to load the page.But if the css and java script files are made external, the files once downloaded are cached and hence makes loading page easy when a html document is requested. The java script and css can also be combine in one file and this makes the pages to load fast.

6.Using CDN:

A content distribution network is a group of web servers located in different parts of the world to deliver content to the users. Servers will be placed at different locations based on the network proximity.

Hence by deploying  the website in different servers located in multiple locations helps the content to reach the users more efficiently and helps in loading  webpages  faster.

7. Avoid Redirection:

Generally redirection are used when  connecting from one website to another. This redirection needs a small extra code and is easy for the developers but may degrade the user experience. Instead  of using redirects you can use Alias and mod_rewrite  if both code paths are hosted on the same server.

8. Cookies:

The most efficient and best practice is to keep the cookie size as low as possible so that the impact on the users response time is minimum. When cookies are not used remove the unnecessary cookies. If  the cookies size is low the response time improves.

When a browser sends a request for static images and cookies are sent with the requests but the server does not need any cookies, instead they only create network traffic .

9. CSS Expressions:

CSS expression is said to be powerful way to set CSS properties dynamically. The CSS property is to result the evaluating java script expressions. This is useful in internet explorer to create  a consistence in all the browsers. But the problem is that the CSS expressions get evaluated more than expected times that is even when the page is scrolled down it is evaluated and also by moving the mouse also it is evaluated.

Since more number of  evaluations may cause problem in loading page and many, the best practice is to use avoid expressions or reduce expressions to minimum.

10. Filters:

The image loader filters aim to fix the problem with semi -transparent true colour PNGs. But here is a problem with those filters that is it freezes the browser while loading image and also increases the consumption of memory. So it is always better to not to use filters.

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If you have started your online business with Joomla then you might not get potential customers unless you work on on-page optimization. Joomla is a feature rich Content Management System(CMS), its famous because of its flexibility and ease of usage as a result we can see thousands of webmasters are using it, but its not Search Engine Friendly .  Joomla sites are not by characteristically slow, but some measures need to be taken for optimizing and boost up sites. After the Google’s latest update that speed will be main factor for ranking, now to rank well one has to check how fast is that site loads, speed and performance are mainly depended on the template we choose and addons we use. As we are good with both Joomla and SEO, lets see how to optimize site with these Joomla SEO optimization tips.

Joomla SEO Optimization Steps:

Choose Right Type of Server:

Choose Right Server

If you are opting Joomla then it is recommended you to choose Apache Server instead of IIS server because it is best suited for Linux servers also supports all the plugins and components which you install. Everyone may not face problem with IIS servers but any how you will face one or the other problems with IIS servers. Therefore, I suggest you to install Joomla on Apache server with mod_rewrite installed.

Use “www” or “non-www”:

change domain to www or non www

Redirect your Joomla site from “www.yourdomain.com” to “yourdomain.com” or vice versa because if your domain is not redirected then search engine will consider “www.yourdomain.com/example1” and “yourdomain.com/example1” as two pages and duplicate content issue will arise which dilutes your page rank and also link juice.

To redirect from “www” to “non-www” use the following code in .htaccess: 

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.example\.com$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://example.com/$1 [L,R=301]

To redirect “non-www” to “www” use:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

Always Use “H1” Tag for Title:

If you use H1 tag in your title then search engines will easily find out the subject of the post that is why it is recommended to use main keyword in the title because it will help your visitor as well as search engine to understand the topic by the title itself. Some Joomla templates contains H1 tags in the title by default but not all sites have it. You can find many Joomla sites which doesn’t contain H1 tag in the title.

Keyword Research:

This is most vital and result oriented activity because these are the words/phrases which internet users often use. Keyword research will tell you the keywords through which users have visited your site.Always optimize phrases not a single keyword, once you’ve identified your optimal keywords, placing them in the right location can have a dramatic effect on your organic search ranking.

Allow Images to Get Indexed:

This thing about Joomla has always left me surprised In the automatically generated robots.txt file that is created on installation, Joomla! includes a disallow rule for the images directory, instructing the search engines not to search or index your images folder.Therefore, Remove /images/ folder from “robots.txt”

Meta Data for all pages:

Meta data might not have as a lot of value to search engines as happened to have a small number of years earlier but still you ought to do correct optimization job on them. While optimizing a webpage’s metadata you ought to center additionally on the description instead of keywords. You write high-quality descriptions regarding your page, if possible 160 characters in length. This description’s the one you notice on search engine outcome page underneath your title. Thus it has much worth to assist your link in the search engine outcome page be prominent. Certainly on search engines not being able to discover applicable description inside your Meta tag, they will attempt to take out some text from your editorial body on top of the page and make use of that to be description on the search engine outcome page. Nevertheless, you contain the possibility to settle on what to put in its place, so make use of this gain to draw additional guest from search engines.

The main problem I observe on many Joomla powered website happens to be that they employ a single set of Meta description as well as keyword for every page on the website. This is incorrect! You ought to set up individual description and keywords sets for each page on the website. You are still able to make use of the global configuration for setting Meta data for the entire website, but you ought to put in Meta data for each article you put in from your article manager page.

Optimize Footer:

I would suggest You may not necessarily want to include your entire menu structure in the footer. Instead of linking all pages in your footer selecting 4-6 of your top pages you’d like to promote and link to them. Google looks a links on a page to see what the website values as important content. However, the more links, the more “diluted” Google sees the content on the website. Focusing in on 4-6 key pages will tell Google those are really important pages to index.

Change Location of Images:

image location

If you have added images to the articles you write within Joomla, you probably have noticed that the default location for images is www.example.com/images/posts/. Personally I don’t like this and according to me its not the good when talking in terms of image optimisation. When evaluating the relevance of content on a website, search engine algorithms examine the directory and file names of the content on a site and ascribe priority to pages that are closer to the site root. In other words, when possible, try and keep content closer to the site root.I recommend changing the default location of images from images/posts to just images/. You can do this in the Joomla Administrator backend by selecting: Site > Global Configuration > System > Media Settings and then changing the directory in the Path to Image Folder box.
Once you have made the change, when you add images to articles, the images will be automatically uploaded into the root /images/ folder.

Remove Anything Unwanted:

remove anything unwanted

Flash calendars, slideshows, funny modules and sometimes even sound players are very impressive.. but do you really need to showcase all modules from JED on one page? Stand back and take a critical look at your Joomla website, you may see a few special effects that can be let go or can be changed to CSS3 animations effects. Reducing the number of modules from front-end in turn reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. This is the key to faster pages.

Use 404 error pages:

Make use of 404 page

You may often observe a Joomla website’s default 404 error page with little information regarding the error as well as a link to the home page. You ought to be setting up a 404 page, either making use of some kind of plugin or setting up one manually. Take in important resource on this page for directing the user someplace back to the website. Or take in search form which is able to be employed by the user for getting back on track. Or make use of a few of the phrases from query of user on the preceding page and create a search outcome page yourself. The point here’s to keep away from users getting irritated by the mean error page.

Never Stuff Keywords:

Always remember that putting keywords is not at all important instead putting a right keyword at right place is important. Never try to put irrelevant, too much and repeated keywords because if search engines may ban a site which do keyword stuffing. If you want relevant and targeted traffic to  visit your site then place relevant keywords, before placing any keyword first try to investigate whether your visitor will get enough or relevant information relating to that keyword else it will result in bounce back which will degrade your page rank.

Image Optimization:

Images are becoming increasingly important in SEO because they are sometimes included in search results but using too many images can slow down the loading of your Joomla website. Try to decide if all your images are really needed , now nice effects can be done with css3, so sometimes images are unneeded. Reduce file size of all used images and if at all you need to use images then crop the image size and also use smush.it to reduce the file size.

This is all about Joomla Optimization, there are lot more to be discussed and shared but I have covered only important Tips, if you find this good then please share with others too, if you have any questions, doubts, clarifications related to Joomla then drop your questions in comment box.

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