The internet is many different things. It’s not just an incredible business tool, it’s also the perfect place for people with short attention spans to get information. With thousands of websites just a click away it’s incredibly easy to bounce from one to the next in a matter of seconds. Even people who would have a longer attention span reading books or magazines speed up when they start an internet search. If you like to skim as much information as possible this might seem like a good thing but if you have a website of your own then this is a problem.
Website owners have understood this principle for decades and have worked hard to come up with strategies for keeping visitors around. Lets look at how proper linking, navigation and design can convince your visitors to stay on your site and give it a chance.
Keep Links To Outside Sites To A Minimum
If you were opening a physical business would you put advertisements for other nearby stores all around your walls? You might put up a few fliers as a community service but you wouldn’t do anything that would likely convince your customers to leave your store and head somewhere else before you’ve had a chance to seal the deal, and yet that’s exactly what many website owners do. When you link to another website you are giving visitors an instant exit route from your site to someone else’s.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t reasons to put these kinds of links on your site. If you are using facts to back up your claims you might want to link to the source so people know you aren’t just making things up. You might also make a connection with another site owner and by promoting each other’s work both of you can grow your readership. Finally, running ads on your site means putting up links to other pages but you get money when they are clicked so it can be worth it. The rule isn’t that you can’t have any outside links, just that you want as few as possible. Whenever you’re thinking about adding a link simply ask yourself what you have to gain from it.
If you do put links to outside sites on yours make sure that when they are clicked the site opens up in a new window or tab. This means that your site will still be open, so even if it is no longer front and center at least it hasn’t gone anywhere and the visitor could come back at a later time.
Make Navigating Your Site As Easy As Possible
While linking with outside sites can create problems one of the best ways to keep people on your site is linking your different web pages together. There is only so long a person can stay on even the best webpage, eventually they will want to go somewhere else and they will have two choices, they can see more of your site or see if some other site has what they want. You always want them to pick the first option and that requires clear navigation options.
The best way to help people get around your site is having a clear and consistent navigation bar that can help people get around your site. If you look on just about any site there will be some sort of bar on the top or the left side of the page with links to major sections of the website. Using these links a visitor should be able to get to the page they are looking for in as few steps as possible, so this is both a design and organization issue.
Besides from navigation bars you should also look into search boxes and suggested posts. Search boxes allow people to search for what they’re looking for using an engine much like Google, except instead of searching the whole web they are just searching your site. Suggested posts are listed at the bottom of web pages and blog posts, where you link to another page on your site that may be of interest to visitors based on the topic they just read about. You can either decide on suggestions yourself or use certain plugins to automatically generate suggestions, although the effectiveness of the second option can vary widely.
Get Your Website Professionally Designed
Nothing drives visitors away faster than a poorly designed website. With a practically endless stream of websites available people are looking for any excuse to move on and try something else. Many people assume that if a website has a poor design then it probably has poor content, instantly clicking away if they think your site looks cheap. You might think this is unfair but remember that all the top websites run by big corporations and publishers are professionally designed so it makes sense that people would make these sorts of judgements.
When you have a well designed website you benefit in the short term and long run. To start off a good design will make people want to give your site a chance, if your site looks poorly designed people are more likely to click back and try another site. Even if you were able to convince someone to stay on a cheap looking site they might have trouble sticking around for long, well designed websites are easy on the eyes and lend themselves to long term use. You’ve probably been to a site where you wanted to read what they were saying but the site was so ugly that it almost hurt your eyes to stare at it for too long, you don’t want that to be said about your site.
If you’ve done research on web design you may know that there are now a variety of free tools that can be used to create a website. This can make it seem like hiring a professional is unnecessary but that isn’t the case. If you want to stand out in a crowd where many people are using these free templates you need something unique. If you use a template and stick too closely to it you’ll look generic, if you try and make changes you could end up with something that looks amateurish but if you hire someone you’ll get a website that is both personalized and professional.
Making The Most Of Every Visitor
An article of this length can only scratch the surface of these matters, professional web designers work all day long on making sure that visitors stay seconds longer on websites. You may not be in a position where it’s worth spending thousands of dollars to get visitors to stick around a few seconds longer on average but if you’ve never considered the matter you might be amazed by what you can do by being proactive.
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IG Webs, an award winning Huntsville Web design firm is a premier web designer in Huntsville, Alabama known for super client care. You should choose IG Webs if you want personal attention, low rates and dedication to you. We can respond to you quickly. Client care and service is our top priority and we’re small enough to be able to do just that, yet big enough to meet all your demands. And we do not charge for on page SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we design it in.
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