Website Suicide

Website Suicide

Why do people abandon a site?

Before delving into this topic, it is important when building a site to address the needs of the target audience and their level of proficiency with web sites in general. In many cases the needs of a first time visitor differs from that of a repeat visitor, yet both must be included in the site design. Ask a less experienced web user to test your site.

1. Bad Navigation
Nothing is more frustrating than having to search the site for the desired content.
Include visual elements that clearly indicate where the user is located on the site.
Keep navigation logical and in a central place, such as the header or side bar.
For large sites, include a site map in the footer.
Keep link text clear and easy to understand.

2. Pop-ups
Whether the pop-ups are ads or calls to action, such as sign up for a blog, the content should be unobtrusive and include an option to close them! Similarly video content that plays automatically should include a clear exit. For people that do not watch video, include a text summary.
Running ads is a legitimate way to monetize a site. They should not

  • cover the content that we want the visitor to see.
  • take up more space than our content, or
  • be the first thing that the user sees on the site.

3. Bad content structure
There should be a natural flow to a site that makes it obvious what the visitor should look at and what she is being enticed to do. The content should be concise, similar pages should be grouped together, and the contact information should be clear.

Many sales are lost when visitors fail to find what they are looking for.

4. The Registration requirement
This is a barrier between the content and the visitor. Much like a pop-up, this can deter the visitor. Registration should be optional. Where possible a demo or preview should be offered. If you use a registration form, keep it as short as possible.

5. Design Matters
The site should attract the visitor with interesting content that is easy to find. Minimalistic sites can be effective if tastefully done. Interactivity in the form of blogs or forums may enhance the user experience.

6. Poor Legibility
Illegible, small fonts, faint colors that make the content difficult to see with poor contrasts will increase your bounce rate.
On the other end of the scale, avoid too many bright colors and pop-up objects will have a similar effect.

7. Outdated Content
Most visitors do not check when you last updated your site, but they can tell if it has not been updated and the content is irrelevant. A blog or newsletter is a good way to constantly keep content fresh. This will encourage site traffic and return visits.
8. Mobile Responsiveness
I am told that today 40% of web visitors view a web site on a mobile device, rather than a desktop or laptop screen. Scrolling back and forth in the same line is not on.
The flow of the site needs to include all devices. Some actions will be triggered from a mouse and some from a finger or thumb. The calls to action should be large enough to be manipulated by a thumb!

A web site entails a significant investment of time and money. The topics included above are a sample of the factors that need to be considered when building or updating a site. Consider hiring a professional like me to take care of presenting your web visitors with a user friendly, easily accessible, and attractive site!

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