But have you ever wondered, besides content, what things attract a person to ‘stay’ on your blog? Or is your website so ‘un-wielding that people bounce right off the site?
What will keep readers on your site to click through to other content, or explore your blog to see what else is interesting, or to read or click on your ads?
I think it’s all related to how your website looks as well as the content. Although ‘Content is King’ and your website may be located through keyword search, once you get there, there must be ‘something’ to keep your readers there.
For instance for me, a lot of times it has to do with how the website actually looks and feels, but that includes a lot of things! Please note 8 things that will enhance the reader experience in terms of design:
1. Content is King
Did I find what I ‘m looking for? Does the article, post or information I was actually looking for exist on the page? Many times after’ ‘Googling’ something and clicking on a link, I find that the article is unrelated to my search. I’m sure you’ can find a thousand articles with how to create good content, so we now know we have to start there.
How does your website look? Is it appealing to the readers? Initial reaction is key. A person’s first reaction to the design of your website has been the focus of many studies. Is the format easy to read and easy to find what you’re looking for. I like the term ‘intuitive user experience’ where a person can follow and find their goal (the information that led them to your site). Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your potential or current website.
- What’s the best look for your site? Simple or Complex? My choice is always simple. Too busy websites make my head hurt and I only go to the article I need to read and then step off (bounce) to the next website.
- Is the design and format light and attractive?
- Is the font easy to read?
- Is your blog or website easy to navigate?
- Is it too busy? Too much going on that will distract your reader. Is it cluttered and too hard to see what else is there of interest.
- Does it have a Search feature to find things easily?
Make your website text easy to read. Believe it or not, how easy it is to read is important to the reader! The most common fonts used in business are listed below.
My least favorites are Times New Roman and Courier. I think these should be eliminated as a business standard (my personal preference only)
I find Times New Roman hard to read and Courier bulky and unprofessional-looking. These two fonts were used 20+ years ago when there were not so many choices.
- Trebuchet MS
- Courier New
- Times New Roman
Also, keep your text large enough for people to read without strain. More people, of all ages, are coming online and keeping your website easy to read by using a text of Point Size 12 (not too big and not too small) may help you keep another generation of people on your site longer.
Most people don’t want to strain their eyes trying to read something that is too small.
4. Keep It Professional
Above all, make your website look professional. Although many people feel that spelling, typos and grammatical errors are all right, what should be important is that people DO get turned off by it.
Even if it is O.K. to the writer, it discredits him or her. Why?
It makes the writer appear unprofessional and illiterate if there are too many ‘typos and grammatical errors.’
What that makes me think is the person doesn’t really know what they’re talking about or doesn’t care about their work. Right or wrong – that’s what I think and feel.
The article can have the pertinent information, but seeing multiple typos or grammatical errors discredits the writer, no matter how good the post is. It immediately diminishes the writer in my eyes.
I see many ‘writers’ defending their ‘right’ to have typos and grammatical errors. Sorry folks, but wrong is wrong.
Proper English or whatever language your post is in, is important to make the reader believe in the writer and if we are using attraction marketing, attracting the reader is what keeps them coming back.
If you are ‘branding’ yourself as an expert in the field, this can make the reader ‘doubt’ you as an authority on your subject and thereby ruining the ‘branding you are trying to establish.
This gives me a different, new perspective and believe me, you will catch a lot of errors, typos and grammar errors when you look at it from a ‘new’ and fresh perspective.
Try it and see how many ‘issues’ you find. I also copy and paste it into Microsoft Word and run spell check.
Even though a spell check can be used in WordPress, again I go for a different ‘look’ to ‘see’ if I find anything else.
For instance, when writing this article (and I’m going back to add this point right now), I read this a hundred times (seems like) and then I copied it to Word and found ‘two’ vs ‘too.’
Another example is I found “what things attracts a person to stay” when it should have been ‘what things attract a person to stay.’
I could defend and say these are not critical, but typos and grammatical errors also detract from the content. I find myself ‘annoyed’ every time I find one on a site. These two above, I found simply by reading it from a ‘different perspective.’
Even in our best efforts, we can still miss something, but at least we’ve tried it and you can eliminate ‘most’ of any issues we have. If you have people telling you that they found typos on your website, it means that it annoys them.
If you find that many people are telling you – that should make you re-evaluate your thinking if you feel it’s not important.
5. Open Links and Photos in a ‘New Tab’
Your goal is to keep people on your website and viewing your posts. Clicking on a link takes them away from your website and although opening a new tab will as well, they are much more likely to go back to your website with the previous tab still open.
Many times I’ve forgotten about the original post if I find something more interesting elsewhere. If the previous tab remains open, I’m more likely to go back once I see it’s still up and finish my reading. Works for me!
6. Too Busy
Another one of my pet peeves. When I was looking for a template I selected a few, then had a couple of people review what I was contemplating.
One suggested a very busy website and that website had a lot of traffic. Problem was that the content was phenomenal (not really a problem!)
Otherwise the website, to me, was a hot mess. I wouldn’t have stayed there longer than to read what I needed. Too much, too busy! It just had too much going on. What is too busy?
- Too busy is when I can’t find something I need easily.
- Too busy is too many advertisements.
- Too busy is music playing unless it’s a music website selling CD’s.
- Too busy is an annoying video or music playing that can’t be stopped while you’re trying to digest the information.
- Too busy is that damn popup that gets in my way while I’m trying to read the article.
- Too busy is ‘flash’ websites unless the design is simple and appealing to the eye.
7. Watch Those Popups
Pop-ups interfere with my reading experience. It’s the fastest way to get me ‘off’ a website.
There is nothing more annoying than to find an interesting blog/post and have a pop-up show up in the beginning or middle of my reading .
While researching for this post, I clicked on one link and before the article even appeared, a pop-up blocked the whole screen!
Although we all understand the business of squeeze pages and gathering information for lead lists, I’m a firm believer that it should not interfere with your content.
This is what you wanted, right? A reader, a visitor to come to your site and, hopefully, stay there for a while and read your content?
8. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Wikipedia states – KISS is acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid” as a design principle which states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex; therefore simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.” (Thought I’d throw that in there so you know I’m not calling anyone ‘stupid!’
These items above will help you accomplish that goal. After all, you have worked hard to drive people to your website. Now, you want to make sure you keep them there.
So take a look at your website. Re-evaluate it in terms of the above and determine if you need to make changes.
Take an honest look. Do you think you might need to refurbish or re-format your website? I’m actually thinking of a refresh myself. Just don’t know what yet, but I’m looking to see what I can do different.
So what’s your evaluation of your own website? Please share and why you think you might need a refurbish.