You’ve finally done it: after weeks, maybe months of planning, design, brainstorming, and proofreading, you’ve put together a fantastic website for your product or service, complete with a flawless landing page and a stellar layout. Yet, all your site statistics show that the second visitors arrive at your page, they’re leaving just as quickly or rarely staying long enough to appreciate your comet tail cursor or listen to the entire midi of Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” Brace yourself, because the fault may lie with you—or at least with the way you’ve set up your page.
Rocking Out the Wrong Way
Image via Flickr by Paul Sableman
If you want to force your customers to click right away from your site, there’s one thing that will guarantee it: loud music. Whether it’s a discordant midi version of your favorite song or the latest brokenhearted ballad, loud music sends people running. Surely you’ve experienced the sudden shock of visiting a page, only to have your speakers blaring at you unexpectedly. People don’t like loud surprises; they’re scary. Remember, this is your landing page, not a rock concert.
Majorly Misleading Headlines
Image via Flickr by Christopher Woo
A misleading headline is like a death knoll. With headlines, the idea is to come on strong but then follow through on what you’re promising. People visit your site based on your headlines. If you’re promising them a revolutionary way to lose weight or promising some extreme fact about dandelion greens that will blow their mind, you have to make good on your claims. Sharing the same old information or, worse, engaging in a bait-and-switch, will create mortal enemies on the Internet.
The Crime of Irrelevant Content
Image via Flickr by auntjojo
If the content on your landing page doesn’t match your headlines or fit in with your subject, you’re toast. People don’t visit a site about celebrity gossip to read about mundane topics, nor do they visit tech related sites to learn about weight loss gimmicks or political news. You may thread different topics into your subjects, but remember, always tie everything back to your central theme.
Similarly, you must make sure all the content on your blog is relevant to your target market. Don’t target an audience that includes Apple users only to display a clear bias towards Android products, or vice versa. Know your audience and make them happy. They’ll return the favor in sales, leads, and revenue.
A Plague of Pop-Ups
Image via Flickr by Pascale PirateChickan
So you click over to a website you’re really excited about, and suddenly everything gets dim. For a second you’re worried that your browser’s crashing, but no, turns out that you just encountered a pop-up. The old-school pop-ups are more or less extinct, however, there’s a new breed of pop-ups. They’re insidious, obnoxious, and like Kryptonite to visitors and potential customers.
It’s bad enough when a pop-up ad appears out of nowhere. Worse, however, are those sneaky advertisements and videos that suddenly start playing, sometimes in the middle of the page and sometimes along the sidebar. They’re making you money, all right, that’s fair. The problem is that you give your visitors no choice but to watch them, or frantically search for a way to pause or close them. Videos that highlight your content are awesome; surprising ninja videos designed to sell something random are not.
Obnoxious Color Palettes
Image via Flickr by David J
At all costs, try not to burn your visitors’ retinas with your site. Customers can’t buy anything if they can’t see what you’re selling. Instead, follow this tried and true DIY design tip: memorize the color wheel. Hot pink, purple, and lime green might sound like a fun trio in theory; in practice, it’s like looking directly into the sun. If you’re dead set on an unexpected color, use it wisely, as an accent. Keep everything else clear and easy to read.
Big Boring Blocks of Text
Image via Flickr by William Brawley
That includes the actual text you write. What do you think when you see a huge wall of text with no spaces, breaks, or bullet points? It looks boring, right? You could have the most interesting insight in the world—the key to time travel or teleportation, or a fantastic cheat code for the latest GTA incarnation—but if readers can’t scan it, they don’t want it. If you want to keep your customers’ attention, remember the three S’s:
- Short paragraphs
Death by Disorganization
Image via Flickr by Noliv
How is your site organized? Where is the navigation bar? Can visitors search easily for what they need? Where do you have your contact information? On your landing page, especially, you need to cleanly arrange all your information.
Make the most important things the most prominent. Include your contact information near your social media links, make sure any price points are right out front, and always display your logo in an easy-to-see spot. Customers don’t want to feel confused; confusion makes them click right off your page. Then they’ll probably talk about you on Twitter, and who wants a bad tweet on their record?
Luring Visitors with Lies
Image via Flickr by Alexa LaSpisa
Never, ever lie to your customers. Lies are bad; they’re mean-spirited, even when they’re about a product or service. If you lie to a customer and he or she discovers it, then you’ve lost a customer forever. Furthermore, if you have to lie to your visitors, either to get them to visit your page or to buy what you’re offering, is it really worth it? This is Business Ethics 101: don’t tell lies.
Be upfront about everything, whether you’re offering special deals or have to admit that results may vary among different customers. This is the Internet; everything is here forever, and it gets around fast. It’d be incredible if your site went viral—but not for being known as the biggest Liar-Liar-Pants-on-Fire site out there.
Keeping customers happy and on your page really isn’t hard, but it is the key to success. What’s the biggest mistake you ever made that sent your customers screaming into the cosmos of the Internet?
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By Jon Correll