How to Usability Test Your Website

Note: This post was originally published on 563media.com in 2012.

If you have a business website, it needs to be tested for usability, preferably by someone who isn’t 100% familiar with your business.

Here at 563 Media, we often work with small companies and individuals who are sure their websites are telling clear stories about what they intend to accomplish, what they’re selling, or where their companies would like to go in the future.

Read moreHow to Usability Test Your Website

Why This Author Website Works: ChristineSchwab.com

Once in a while, I like to share well-designed websites when I come across them. Usually, the sites and blogs I’ll share here will be author/expert or book launch sites that act as effective hubs for their owners’ author platforms and promotional efforts. I also give kudos to sites that create clear calls to action and that are structured to convert casual visitors to subscribers or buyers.

Here’s the latest well-designed author website I’ve discovered: ChristineSchwab.com (a former consulting client). What’s good about this site:

  1. Everything’s easy to find.  All the information a publicist, agent, or radio/TV booker needs is clear, easy to locate on the margins of the site, and requires no clicks. The author’s bio, publicist and agent contact information, present and former books, book reviews, buy buttons, social media, and media room are all right there on the home page. If I were in a position to hire her as a guest on a show or as a keynote speaker, almost everything I need to pitch her to my colleagues or contact her for an inquiry is there for me to grab in under 30 seconds. This site is perfect because it’s accomplishing the client’s clear objectives: selling books and getting herself booked.
  2. The call to action is visible. Christine is asking you to do two things: Follow her on Twitter and Like her on Facebook.
  3. She’s blogging actively. Because she’s blogging, I immediately understand her current platform (rheumatoid arthritis) and know that she’s actively talking about the issue. She’s also boosting her search engine optimization for that topic by writing regularly about it.

Takeaways

If you’re inclined to blog, I recommend a design format like this. Your wisdom and experience is front and center (literally) and all your major credentials are easy to see. Blogs are also unparalleled for SEO and give you a hub from which you can network with other bloggers and create relationships that can pay off for you over the long term. (Tactics for which I discuss in my eBook, A Brief Introduction to Internet Publicity.)

If you’re interested in viewing more well-designed book, author, and expert/speaker sites, follow me on Google+ or follow me on Pinterest, where I maintain a board of sites I find that set a good example. If you need to build a new blog or website or give yours a facelift, get in touch–I work with talented designers who can help you.