By Robert Stitt
Websites have advanced a lot since the early days of the Internet. Today, it is not about fancy graphics, Flash, or catchy images. With over a billion (that’s billion with a B) websites, the secret is not about having a fancy page, it is about being found in the first place. After all, nobody cares how great your page is if they can’t find you to begin with.
If you manage to get people to your site, how do you get them to stay? Internet statistics tell us that over half of web surfers will spend less than 15 seconds on a site. What causes them to leave one site and stay on another. In today’s world, the most critical element is navigation.
Navigation: Mistake number 1. If your website is not easy to navigate, nobody is going to waste their time there no matter how good your product or information is. If your site does not make your content immediately available and easy to find, people will leave. Your site must be laid out practically and be highly functional.
Hidden Links: Mistake number 2. It doesn’t matter if you intended to hide your links or not, if a visitor cannot find a link to what they are looking for quickly and easily, they are gone. In the time it took them to ask “Where is it?”, they are already typing in another search query. Make sure your pages are well laid out and the content is easy to find. If you have multiple pages, make the links clear and easy to find and use. Make sure the labels accurately describe what is on the page.
Lack of Clarity: Mistake number 3. What do you want your visitor to do? If they have to guess, they are going to leave. If you want them to click a button to download a pdf – say so and make the button large and clear. People are wary of “click here” buttons. If you want them to click, you have to clearly tell them what to do and why.
Shoddy Looks: Mistake number 4. You don’t want a house with orange shag carpet and wood veneer walls. You also don’t want one with an unfinished cement floor and no drywall. The appearance of your site matters. If the font is hard to read, if there is too much scrolling, if it is too busy, people will leave. You have to consider the look and impact of your colors, graphics, layout, etc. as compared to your competitors.
Lack of Mobility: Mistake number 5. Black Enterprise notes that “It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s population has access to a mobile device. This means most people will visit your site from their phones and tablets. If your site’s not optimized for mobile devices, you may lose that potential business.” Enough said.
It’s a hard world and Internet competition is fierce. If you manage to get somebody to your site, be sure you have a site that will keep them there.