Can you remember the last time you entered a store that made you turn away within a minute or two and just leave? I can. Ironically, it was a store for home organization. Lots of shelving and containers and stuff like that. It was also the most disorganized and overcrowded space I had been into in a long time. I could barely navigate the aisles. It was just too chaotic for me to handle. Sometimes our websites get like this, and without intending to turn away customers, we overwhelm them and they click their way to more organized spaces (the virtual equivalent of walking out).
Since we want our websites to make money for our businesses and attract customers, it is a good idea to take a step back once in a while and look at it with new eyes. Carrie Hill contemplates the issue of overwhelming your customers in her article “Are You Overwhelming Your Visitors”, providing her own insight coupled with the observations of her followers on Twitter.
Her basic advice is to avoid over-stimulating your customers. Although you might be nodding your head and thinking “Of course! That makes perfect sense…” your website may not reflect your intentions. Thanks to Carrie Hill, here are a few basics to think about as you look at your website again:
– What is the ultimate goal of your website? Can a customer find that information readily? Be clear to them where to click and what to look at. Crowding out your main point is going to drive customers away.
– Keeping your visuals and audio to a minimum drives down distractions. Multi-colored text, blinking or scrolling banners and autoplay video distract your customers from the goals of your site, even if they are pretty and entertaining.
– View your pages in 1280 x 769, just like most users do. Your savvy web users will likely use 1280 x 1024, so check your site out from that viewpoint too. Either of these angles may change what you see and how you navigate the site.
If these tips don’t really give you a clearer idea of what your customers may find off-putting, then consider some of the things that Carrie’s Twitter followers complained about, including: popups, music or noise that the customer cannot turn off easily, running text ads too close to the content of the site and making it so it is hard to distinguish between the two, items that look like they are links and are not, and never-ending flash load are some of the items that were complained about.
Most of the time I talk about driving customers to your website through social marketing and SEO, but remember that getting your customers there is only half of the battle. Once they are there, you’ll want to keep them there too!