I was on a website today (I won’t say which)…. but I left the website probably before I wanted or needed to. Why? I just plain got lost. And the problem was linking… way too much of it! I know, I know… it helps your SEO, but there’s a point at which you’re degrading user experience by leading them on a wild goose chase for what they want.
I’d get to one page, wanting to read about products, and I’d follow one of the page links, which had more links and soon I couldn’t remember what the heck I was looking for to start out with. I got tired of this quickly, so I just left.
So, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to offer a few ways to think about your website when you’re putting it together or planning the content.
- Think linearly. When gathering information, people usually want to follow a linear and logical path to get that info. Sometimes it’s from big-picture to details. Sometimes it’s being led through the process your company takes with its customers. Sometimes it’s a look at groups of offerings. Whatever it is, think about how to lay your site out in terms of information-gathering.
- Make sure the internal link makes sense. Don’t add a link for the sake of adding a link. It doesn’t do any good to be having your readers move between disjointed pieces of information, as it makes it more difficult for them to put the whole picture together. From a technical standpoint, having your readers feel disjointed will also likely increase your exit rate (in other words, the leave your site!).
- Make it very easy for your readers to get back to the original page they were viewing. Much in line with #2, your readers came to a particular page to read about that facet of your company. If they came to your services page, they want to know what you have to offer. They probably want to know about everything you’ve got before moving on, and of course you want them to know that too. Make sure they can get back there to get that info.
- Don’t forget your blog and/or your social media assets. Directing someone towards a blog post or two can be a great idea. Ideally (if you’re blogging right) they hang out there for a little while, engage in your contact, and get to know your company more. Without overdoing it, this can be a great way to add an internal link that follows the above guidelines, but also has the possibility to really hook your viewers and supplement your content.
- Think about lead conversion while you’re at it. When you’re putting together a logical path for your readers to follow through your website, think also about how that goes into converting them to customers. Would adding a particular internal to your services page add the “right” type of info for them to get out their chequebook?
Any other tips for people to think about?