Studies done by Jakob Nielson the man touted as the, “King of usability” by Internet Magazine showed that people do not read on the web like they would normally read offline.
So what does this mean to you and why should you care?
Visitors to your web sites are in a rush, they want the information you promised and they want it NOW.
If they don’t get the information they want they will leave and this means you lose the sale, the opt-in or whatever action you want the visitor to take while at your site.
The following 3 tips will help you give your visitors what they want and in a way that will increase your web sites usability.
1. Concise Text
By keeping your paragraphs down to one single idea you can help speed up how your visitor absorbs your information.
For example, instead of:
“In today’s market place many people tend to become overwhelmed with the over hyped and highly charged writing that most web sites employ to gain visitors business. This causes people to be turned off by the sites language and ultimately they will click the back button on their browser and leave.”
Why not say,
“Today more than ever people are turned off by over hyped marketing language of websites they visit and because of this frustration they will end up leaving your site.”
See how that short, to the point paragraph says the same thing but quicker?
Go through your home page first and take out long, multiple thought paragraphs and edit them down to be precise. One idea per paragraph once you finish your thought (in 3-4 lines) start another paragraph.
2. Scannable Text
Web site users do not read online text. They scan it.
Use short bold text, for example in the form of a hyperlink, to make important information stick out from the page.
Bullet lists are an invaluable tool as well. Put your important sets of words in bullets. For example instead of,
“You will learn how to create your own web site, design pages that load faster, pick the right color scheme, and improve your sites navigation.”
“You will learn:
How to create your own web site
Design pages that load faster
Pick the right color scheme
And improve your sites navigation.”
Use Subheadings through out the page.
As you go through your pages pick out the important points and put them in heading tags. Heading 2 and 3 work the best but the heading 1 tag will also work.
This will break the page up for the reader and they will be able to get the information they want simply by scanning your pages.
3. Be Objective
Far to many web sites are “me” oriented. In other words your site is about making money for you and you want your visitor to stay at your site and buy from you.
So what do you do?
You force them to stay at your site even if they are not interested in your product or service any longer.
Doing this only serves to damage your reputation and cause visitors to leave with a bad taste in their mouth.
Being objective means putting links to other related sites through out your web pages and allowing the visitor the free will to either stay at your site or leave and find the information they are looking for somewhere else.
In the end this is not a bad thing because you, as the site owner, can direct them to the sites you want them to go to.
However, seeding your pages with a bunch of recommendations to other sales sites is not the smartest way to do this.
Offer them free information along with sites that you receive compensation from as well.
This way you are being objective and offering your visitor valuable information they can use at the same time.
Take a few days and walk through your web site and find the long paragraphs and make them more concise.
Bold important text, create subheadings for extremely important points and create more bullet lists where needed.
Finally, add more out bound links to your information and show them you are objective and care about their needs.
Internet users are getting tired of the hype and they are speaking out with their browser’s back button.
By taking the time to make these changes you will improve your sites usability and your visitors will thank you for it by doing business with you.
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