You're precious website.

You know it's got to be right to attract, and retain, the users you want. You’ve slaved over it, carefully crafting the content, navigation, design, and flow of the site.

You finally hit “publish,” and what happens?

Nobody visits it. Or, worse - people visit, but drop off as quickly as they arrive. No comments, no tweets, no sharing on Facebook.

It’s enough to send you into deep depression, and wipe out your motivation to keep producing great content. Think you need to spend another 10,000 hours perfecting your web design or content skills? Probably not.

Actually, the solution may be a lot easier than you expect. Revisiting a few basics in usability could be all you need to attract and hold user attention.

1. What does Usability really mean?
Usability means making sure something works well, and that a person of average ability or experience can use it for its intended purpose without getting frustrated. Simple...but vital to any website, social media presence, or mobile application.

2. Explain Yourself
As far as humanly possible, each page of your website should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory.

3. Don't Make Me Think
People, as a rule, don't puzzle over how to do something online. If those who build a site don't care to make everything obvious, it can erode confidence in both your site and your brand.

4. Don't Waste Time
Web use is almost completely motivated by the desire to save time. Users are like sharks - they have to keep moving or they'll die.

5. Users Still Cling to the Back Button
There's very little to no penalty for choosing "wrong." As a result, the back button is still the most used feature of web browsers.

6. Creatures of Habit
When users find something that works, they tend to stick to it. Once something works for us, no matter how badly, we tend to not seek a better way. If we stumble across it, we might try the better way. But don't count on this rare occurrence.

7. Avoid Small Talk
Happy talk is a way to be sociable. But go light on this content - users rarely have time for small talk, they want the beef.

8. Don't Lose Search
Search-dominant usage is prevalent in the modern web cosmos. Just like the people who seek out the nearest clerk when entering a store, these users look for a search box as soon as they enter your site. Make sure they find it.

9. Remember the Visual Site Map
When users return to something on a site, they often remember where it is on a conceptual hierarchy, rather than relying on the physical sense of where it is. Keep that in mind.

10. Make it Easy to Get Home
A home button is like loading a saved Checkpoint when you're lost in a game (or for the old-schoolers, hitting the "reset" button or "Get out of Jail Free" Monopoly card). No matter how lost you get, you can always get home, and start over.

How about you? What are your favorite techniques for getting readers to lean in to your web content?

Author's Bio: 

Joey Barker is a Memphis-based digital marketing consultant and promotional copywriter.

He has led traditional and interactive campaigns for a variety of leading and insurgent brands, including Caesars Entertainment, World Series of Poker, Crislu, Swarovski, Trollbeads, Peabody Hotel, Fred’s, and many others.