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Site Readership and Loyalty Must Be Earned

After several decades in marketing, I continue to be astounded at how many businesses do not have effective websites. They may be visually appealing, and they may even garner a lot of inbound clicks, but they don’t have “stickiness”—folks don’t stay around long. Sometimes, they never get there at all. Following are some of my top offenders.

Ineffective design: Three long-standing site killers that we continue to see are content that starts “below the fold,” (out of the visible viewing area for the average browser), sites that are too slow to load, sites that are visually confusing, e.g. having too many special effects and other tricks executing at once.

Crappy content: It’s amazing how many beautifully designed sites have content that is disjointed and amateurish, full of errors, or insufficiently informative. Folks in my industry don’t say “content is king” for the fun of it. While visuals may draw your customers in, good content will keep them there.

Mechanical failure: Dead links, images that are missing, scripts that don’t run and blurry type (usually part of an image rather than type on the page) are prime examples of mechanical issues that frustrate visitors.

Lax attention to security: Security is becoming all encompassing, and most organizations understand they should keep hackers out and secure their ecommerce transactions. However, far more innocuous issues can keep site visitors away. Here’s an example.

I recently clicked on a link to a marketing blog that looked interesting. When I arrived at the site, I was greeted not by profound marketing advice but rather by a warning message from McAfee, my security platform. Upon exploring McAfee’s reasoning, I learned the blogger had allowed an ad on her site that McAfee considered dangerous.

The blogger may not have known this — she may have signed up for a service that posts random ads on her site and pays her a few cents each time someone clicks through. Ignorance may be bliss, but in this case, the promise of a few pennies in revenue lost her a potential subscriber.

Final Analysis

To ensure receiving the maximum number of eyeballs, websites must be well designed, well built, and well written. All components – including third-party or sponsored content — must be carefully tested and vetted. Getting visitors to stay on your site is hard enough. When they are warned they shouldn’t even go there, you are reducing more than traffic. You are diminishing your reputation.

Contributed by Jennifer Farwell, Content Manager

 

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