When people arrive on your website they are looking for something. If you want to keep them on your site you need to deliver what they want – fast.
These are the things that you need to avoid:
- A splash (entry) page that shows off how clever your designer is, but annoys the visitor as they have to find a way past it to find out if you’ve got what they want.
- A weak (or absent) headline. I know I’m welcome on your website or you wouldn’t have one so use that headline to engage your reader, not to say nice, but ineffective things.
- Too many things going on. The patchwork quilt effect won’t keep your visitor long, if there are too many options they don’t know where to start and some of them will simply hit the ‘back’ button. You need one dominant point of focus.
- Whizzy images moving about or changing. Images are important, but they don’t deliver your message on their own. If every time your visitor tries to read something their eye is distracted by another changing picture, they’ll get irritated and leave. Get your web people to slow image changes down to a very gentle ‘dissolve’.
- Forms to fill in, search boxes, log ins that are NOT where it’s easy for your reader to take action. The best place is on the right, just under your brand banner; more people complete forms here than in any other position on the site.
- More than one menu – don’t confuse people. You should have one menu right where people expect it to be, which is either vertically on the left or horizontally under the brand banner. If your menu is above this some people will not see it and it vanishes as soon as the user scrolls down the page.
- Content (copy) that is about you and what you do. It should be about the reader and what they want and be full of benefits, not simply nice-to-have information. Copy on your home page should not be about your background and experience; let the reader find out that you’ve got what they want first, they’ll go and look at your about page when they are sure you’re worth checking out.
If you have a commercial website (i.e. one that aims to get people ready to buy from you) why would you make it hard for them to do so?
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