“Your website isn’t an onion. You shouldn’t require visitors to peel away layer after layer to reach the information they want to consume.”
5 Reasons Why Your Website Design is Hurting Your Credibility
It’s funny how quickly we form opinions. Seven seconds after meeting someone we’ve already sized them up. Add a handshake into the equation and you can subtract two seconds. Websites are no different. You only have a few seconds to engage your audience. If your audience doesn’t find fulfillment immediately then they’re gone. Friendly websites intuitively get people to the information they want. Those that don’t frustrate visitors. That frustration ultimately hurts your credibility. If you’ve failed to meet your client’s expectations during their first encounter with you, how likely do you think they are to hire you?
Lose The Secret Decoder Ring
Your navigational structure is what connects and “makes sense out of” all of your content. Not surprisingly, a common roadblock to user fulfillment is poor navigation. If you’re selling a service or a product it should be crystal clear and easy to find. Your website isn’t an onion. You shouldn’t require visitors to peel away layer after layer to reach the information they want to consume. Unless your website’s about ciphers the menu shouldn’t require a secret decoder ring.
Menus should be clear, concise and intuitive. A good way to do this is to use keywords, whenever possible, which will also help your website rank. If you’re a furniture store, try not to have “our products” as a menu item. Consider “Comfortable Seating” instead. Likewise, avoid the temptation to be cute. “Nuts & Bolts” shouldn’t be a menu item if you’re a mechanic. There’s lots of appropriate places in your content to be clever and cute – your menu is generally not one of them. Likewise, menus should be standardized, i.e., located horizontally along the top or vertically on the left – or both, depending on how much information you’re organizing. Bottom line, have menus located where people expect to find them. Having them elsewhere causes a mental hiccup in your clients. Organized and thoughtful navigation will help you convert visitors into paying clients.
Too Many Choices
We’ve all experienced websites with dozens of menu items. Menu clutter has been proven to overwhelm visitors. It’s almost a visceral reaction that has to do with visual perception and memory. “Keep it simple stupid” is a great principal to apply to navigation. Try to simplify your menu as much as possible. If you can limit your menu to four or five items you’ll make your visitors very happy. Space gives people room to relax and breathe easy. In fact, clutter causes disinterest the way space attracts interest. One thing is for certain, anything over seven menu items has been proven to makes visitors uncomfortable. It’s like when everyone is talking at once and no one can be heard. All you want to do is leave the room. In short, clutter causes people to bounce out of your website.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
I was stunned the other day when I arrived at someone’s “Our Services” page. Immediately bothered by the menu item I was surprisingly met by a long list of everything they didn’t provide and what I shouldn’t expect. At the very bottom of this tedious and negative list was a link to a page entitled “our services.” Presumably that was their primary sales page. I say “presumably” as I never clicked on it.
“Content is King” is only true when it’s engaging and meaningful. Menus are supposed to lead to fulfilling content. If you have easy-to-follow menus but they lead to disorganized or irrelevant content, your visitors will leave. After all, you’ve just demonstrated you’re confusing, disorganized and disappointing.
Website Design & The Carewright
The Carewright’s custom website design utilizes intelligent navigation and silo strategies to make your content highly intuitive and digestible. Is your website throwing up roadblocks to client conversion? Let’s find out together! Redeem your free website analysis and see what kind of job your website is doing for you. Our free website analysis also comes with a free phone consult to help you understand how you can improve your website’s performance.
Read part five in this Series: Why Being Ugly Hurts Your Credibility.