Website Usability Tips [Guest Post]

This article is going to give advice on how to make your website easier for it’s visitors to navigate and use. We will be covering the topics of:

  • URLs
  • Breadcrumb links
  • Sitemaps
  • Custom 404 pages
  • Website Navigation
  • Linking Out 


URLs will often contain a bunch of indecipherable codes and numbers. To make it easier for users to remember the URL to a particular page, make it so the URL is short, simple and uses words that relate to its page (eg. ).  It is also useful to make it so parts of the URL can be deleted and the URL will still work. For istance, if you deleted everything after the ‘2008’ in the example above, would lead to a page containing all the blog posts from 2008.  It is good practice to only have one URL leading to a particular page.


Breadcrumb links are a really useful way to help people better navigate your website.  Breadcrumbs are usually located near the top of the page and look like this:

Home >
Shoes > Kids > Sandals > Kosh Leather Sandals  

Visitors can use this to find their way back to pages they viewed previously.


To help users find their way around, include an HTML sitemap with links to all the important pages.  If there are a lot of pages, they should be organised on the sitemap by subject. To make it easier for search engines to navigate pages on your website, create an XML sitemap file for your site using a sitemap generator.


Custom 404 Page

There will be times when visitors will try and open a page that doesn’t exist. This is often because of misspelling a URL. Setting up a custom 404 page that guides users back to a page that works (typically the home page) can make peoples visit to your site easier and more enjoyable. Google has a useful 404 widget you can embed in your 404 error page.

Website Navigation

Most sites have navigation links near or at the top of each page. These usually include the home page, about, contact and any other important pages such as products or a blog. These are good for helping visitors find their way around your site.

Linking Out

The last bit of advice is about linking to other pages or websites. It is better to use text links rather than pictures, because people don’t always know to click on a picture to go to another page. It is always good to make links words or phrases (known as 'anchor text') that describe the place you’re being linked to rather than just a URL. This is especially important in the case of websites like Youtube that have a bunch of seemingly random letters and numbers in their video URLs.  If you just provide a raw Youtube link, people might not know what is on the other side. That is why it is important to use words as links.
This article is a guest post by Sam, a year 10 student at Heathfield High School who has been doing work experience with us at Wicked Cow Marketing recently. Sam and I discuss all of the tips given here in Episode 12 of the Web Marketing Adelaide Podcast.

This entry was posted in ,,. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.