March 25, 2011 / In Uncategorized /
Roadblocks at Your Website?You want traffic at your website, and you’re working toward increasing your traffic. You need to ask yourself, though — do you have roadblocks at your website? Roadblocks are things that cause your visitors to turn around and go back to an earlier page at your website without accomplishing their goal (or your goal for them). Worse yet, roadblocks can be things that cause your visitors to leave your website entirely, and perhaps to decide not to come back. Have a look at your site and see whether you have any of these common roadblocks:
- A splash page or Flash intro that keeps web visitors from getting directly to your website. If they’re not in a hurry and it’s really cool, people might tolerate that once. It’s going to be irritating to them over the long run, though. If they’ve clicked through from search and they’re not sure that your site is really what they want, you have somewhere between 5 and 12 seconds to convince them that your website has just what they want. How long is that intro? How long does it take to load the splash page, click through to the site and load your homepage? Do the math — and then get rid of that obstacle.
- A giant header that keeps visitors from seeing right away what you do. You might love that picture or your tagline or whatever clever thing makes that header so big, but your visitors want to see what you have to offer them, how they can get it, and how they can contact you. They want to know that right away, too, so having that info at the bottom of the page isn’t a good substitute for having it at the top.
- Confusing navigation. If the main navigation buttons on your nav bar say things like “Our Vision,” “Our Path,” “Our Innovation,” or other cryptic things like that, your visitors won’t be able to tell immediately where they should go for the things they want. Cleverness and creativity are wonderful things, but there are better places for them than in your navigation bar.
- Complicated forms and charts. If your shipping costs require a 5×5 table, if your contact form is long enough to require scrolling, if shoppers have to answer lots of questions before they can buy — some of your visitors will give up and leave. Figure that anything designed for careful reading and consideration before deciding on an action isn’t designed for the web.
- Non-intuitive clicking. It used to be thought that people shouldn’t have to click more than three times to reach any page on a website. Now we know that people are willing to click, but only if they can tell exactly where they’re going. Having to click back and forth is frustrating for your visitors, and will make them leave. Oddly, many shopping carts are set up so that people have to click back and forth to add items. The result is abandoned shopping carts and curtailed shopping.
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