Keeping Visitors On Your Web Page
Hi, it's Warren Here. Welcome to part 3 of "The Insider Secrets To Web
I've got 2 secrets for you today, and they're both to do with keeping
visitors on your website, or rather to stop them clicking away from a
website that's just too hard to use. In a nutshell, make your pages
easy to read and don't make your visitors jump through hoops to find
what they want. Otherwise you'll lose them to your competitors.
Secret No 4 - User Friendly Page Design
A website doesn't have to be ugly to put visitors off. Even a beautiful
website designed by a graphic designer can have visitors hitting the
back button because it's just too hard to read. On the other
hand, a website can be a bit ugly or even have some design faults and
it keeps visitors on the page because the information is just so good.
It's best to have a site that's attractive and easy to read to keep
your visitors happy.
Design Faults That Repel Readers
There are some design faults that just put some of your visitors off,
and they're possibly exactly the visitors you want to convert into
This is really nice looking but the small white text on on the blue
background is hard to read. Why annoy the very people you want to sell
Poor Contrast Between text And BackgroundThe first common fault is poor color choice with too little contrast
between the text and the background. Have a thought for your more
mature visitors. Young visitors may have no problem, but you can assume older visitors don't have great eyesight.
White text on a
blue background is bad, but unfortunately not rare. The lighter the
blue the harder it is to read. Even white text on a black background is
hard to read after a while. Black text on a white background is the
easiest combination to read, but black text on a light colored
background is usually fine as well.
Another mistake with poor contrast is having an image as the background
for your text. The image may be a company logo or just a textured
background, but it can make reading hard for your readers with less
than perfect eyesight. Result: They click away to your competitors.
Your Page Will Look Different On Different MonitorsYou
can't judge by what you see on your computer. The colors may look fine
on your monitor but when its seen on another monitor they can be quite
different. What may be a good contrast on your monitor can be very hard
to read on another. The background may well look different - darker or
lighter than you see it. And if your visitor's monitor is smaller than
yours or set to a different resolution the text may be smaller for them.
Text That Is Too Small
Once again have pity on your older visitors. Yes, it's possible to make
text larger in your browser, but a lot of your website visitors don't
know that and just as importantly don't want to have to do it.
Small white text on a colored background can look fantastic, but it
will have many visitors hitting the back button.
Page Lines That are too Wide
You still see it occasionally. The text stretches right from one side
of the monitor to the other. That was okay when monitors were 15 inches
wide, but with modern wide screens and high resolutions it can make
reading a real chore.
Make Your Pages Scannable
People read differently on the internet. They tend to quickly scan a
page to see if it has what they want, so use plenty of headlines to
make it easy to scan the page. I must admit, this in an area I need to
improve in, and as I work my way through this website improving it I
will improve the scannability as well.
Use Plenty Of White Space
White space is the area between paragraphs. Make your paragraphs short,
and leave a line space between paragraphs. It makes reading on a
computer monitor much easier.
Use A Readable Font
Sans Serif fonts are easiest to read on a monitor, and verdana is one
of the best sans serif fonts. Not every computer has every font though,
so it's best to specify a few in your style sheets. I specify "verdana,
geneva, arial, helvetica, sans-serif".
The Home Page Mistakes
Visitors are fickle. You have just a few seconds to make a good
impression before they hit the back button. They don't want to wait for
a full page graphic to load, they don't want video or audio starting
automatically, they don't want to have to click to another page to find
out if your site is what they're looking for.
If they enter your website via the home page they want to know
immediately what your site is going to do for them so tell them.
Secret Number 5: Make Your Navigation Obvious
Your visitors want to be able to find relevant pages on your website
easily. They've come to your site to find information or to make a
purchase, and if you make them jump through hoops to do that that they
will click away to your competitors.
Navigation should be obvious and easy to follow. A left hand navigation
bar is fine, linking to your level 2 pages. Text links in your level 2
pages then link to your level 3 pages. That is a proven formula that
works so it's well worth considering. Text links on pages need to
obviously be links, or not many people will follow them. Using the
default link colors is a safe option.
Don't Use Unexplained Icons For Links
One major mistake that still happens, though luckily it's not too
common, is having icons or images for navigation with no explanation as to
where they lead. Your visitors have to take pot luck! After a couple of
attempts to find what they want (if you're lucky) they click away to
So make your page easy to read and your navigation obvious or you will
lose visitors. if your web designer want to do something "because it's
cool" think twice.