Web usability is a significant aspect of web design that every company needs to work on. The reason why is because it affects everything from your site’s authority, virality, stickiness, to your conversion ratios. Taking on the task of improving usability is challenging but here are five best practices to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Design with both your goals and the user’s goals in mind. The bottom line is that you built your website because you wanted people to come in and take some kind of action. For this reason, you have to design your website and create content in a way that gets the visitor to take the action you want. At the same time, you have to design for the user. The trick to achieving this is to design for yourself first and then start tracking the behavior of the user. You can test various elements to see what works best and fine tune your design based on the test results.

2. Format and organize your content. The goal of your site will probably be to get the user to consume your content. To meet that goal, you need to make sure your content is optimized for consumption. You want your content to be concise as possible. To do that, you’ll need to organize your content properly, cut out unnecessary information and state your case right away. Formatting is the other part of the equation. Content should be broken up into short paragraphs and bullets when appropriate. Headings and appropriate spacing will also get keep the reader’s attention and make it effortless for the reader to consume the content.

3. Cut down your load time. Most people don’t understand how much excessive load time negatively affects their website. Load time can lower conversion rates, increase abandon rates, create user dissatisfaction and even hurt search engine rankings. Some great tips for decreasing load time is to compress your images to smaller file sizes, use CSS for the layout of your website, reduce the number of HTTP requests, and set up browser caching.

4. Build an organized and intuitive site architecture. People visit your site to find information that is relevant to them. You want to meet your users’ expectations by finding out what users are looking for and building a site architecture that makes it easy for them to locate the information they want. Start the process by focusing on your navigation menu and grouping relevant content together.

5. Use links and images strategically. When using links, you want to use anchor text that describes what the user will find if they click on the link. You want to only present links when appropriate and use it in moderation so that the main focus is on the present content. Images can make content more attractive to consume. Use them to reinforce your text or draw the eye to the most important parts of your content. Like links, you want to typically use them in moderation and use them to support your content rather than replace them.