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Today’s typical website visitor is busy.
They are more than likely accessing your site via a mobile device while on the way to work or between appointments.
If they are at home and have a few spare minutes, it is likely between cooking dinner, running the kids to after school activities or watching TV on the couch.
You have about three seconds to grab the reader’s attention and keep it.
A bad web design or slow site almost guarantees you’ll lose that hard-earned site traffic.
In fact, according to the New York Times
People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds
* That is 1/4 of a second!
In addition to making sure your site is not slow, visitors also expect that:
An annoying site distracts from capturing your readers’ interest.
However, there are five things that you should avoid to make sure people stay on your site.
Newspaper and magazine editors know that white space in a publication is just as important as the black text.
The reason is that our eyes need to be able to skim content to read it easily.
Imagine an article without paragraph breaks, headers or any separation of content. It would be pretty difficult to read, right?
Busy graphics can create the same effect and make it difficult to read the content on your site.
If it hurts your eyes to look at it, your site visitors won’t hang around very long.
Here are some samples of the worst “busy” web designs I could find:
According to KISSmetrics, loading time is the top reason for people leaving your site.
If your site doesn’t load in under three seconds (and maybe even less than that for some people), the site visitor will move on.
47% of Internet browsers said they expected a site to load in under two seconds.
To make your site load faster:
You can test your website’s speed for free at Pingdom. It will even offer you a breakdown of which items are loading fast, give you a grade between zero and 100 and other analysis tools.
Is your site ad heavy?
Do you enjoy lots of ads when you visit a website? Of course not.
You visit a site for content and information, or perhaps interaction with others.
While you probably don’t mind an ad or two, because the site has to pay the bills, too many ads are annoying.
In addition, if your site has too many ads, you will take a hit from Google and your page will not rank as well as it should.
Google AdSense even limits you to three ads per page otherwise you could lose your AdSense privileges.
If your site visitors can’t easily navigate back to the home page after reading an article, why would they stay around to read more?
Make your navigation simple, close to the top of the page and offer links at the bottom as well.
Keep it uniform on all the pages as well, so that the site visitor always knows where to find the menus.
Here are some other things to avoid in site navigation:
Pew Research Internet Project estimates that 90% of adults in America own a cell phone and about 58% of those are smartphones.
A 2013 survey by Pew showed that out of those using mobile devices, about 60% use them to access the Internet.
If your site is not mobile device friendly, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential to reach new readers or customers.
There are some inexpensive tools that can help you turn your site into a mobile friendly site:
Or perhaps consider a responsive web design. Many modern WordPress Themes solve this problem easily.
If you need help choosing one, check out this post.
If people are leaving your website before you can convert them into customers, it may be because your web design needs an overhaul.
By focusing on a few basic design elements that other high-powered websites utilize, you can increase the amount of time visitors stay on your site, reduce your abandonment rate and improve conversion.
Why not take a good look at your website right now?
Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism but she's hardly the stuffy professor type. She enjoys writing romantic comedies, such as Finding Ms. Right, gets excited over a good comedy and has even seen one of her books turned in a Manga comic. When she isn't working on fiction, she is writing articles and designing websites on her LoriSoard.com