Have you ever wondered why some people leave your website so quickly? Just because you spend time and money building a website doesn't mean anyone is going to visit it, let alone stick around long enough to read anything. It’s not easy to continually churn out good content which is well laid out, with good graphics and good user experience to create a beautiful website. Avoiding some common pitfalls will help make your website become a 'sticker'.
I define a sticky website as one where your visitor's average stay time is longer than 2 minutes. If you don't know how to find this information out, then I recommend installing Google Analytics. Unless your website has an exception, anything less than two minutes is bad and anything less than one minute is terrible. Another good indicator that your website is working is when you get fan mail on a regular basis. If your content is good, people will go out of their way to tell you how good it is, or how helpful it is. If you find yourself with a low average stay, then the tips below may be able to help you improve things.
1. Crap Content. Let's be honest, most of us visit a website for a reason. We want to know something, learn something, buy something. On this site, people mainly come here to learn things, so my aim is to write tutorials in as simple a manner as possible. Personally, I hate it when you want to learn something, but the writer's being too flowery, tries to cover too much in a single article, trying to show off their superior knowledge with too much jargon or technical fluff. The biggest aim when writing content is to engage with people. What this means to you and your audience, will be different than mine. Fundamentally, write good content and leave the bullshit alone!
2. Forced Registration. The first time I visit a website, I don't want to be immediately presented with a big notification that prevents me from doing anything until I give you my email address. You wouldn't go up to a stranger in the streets and randomly ask for their email address, so why do it online. The worst offender of this offense, in my opinion, is Groupon, it annoyed me so much I stopped using the site completely.
3. Slowness. As a technical bod, making website's performant is a big part of my job. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, the research claims your conversion rates will drop 7% per second. We have access to more content than ever before. With so much content available to us now, don’t make me wait, otherwise I'll be hitting that back button as fast as possible. Making your website quick can be technically very challenging. If you need technical advice about improving your website's performance, you can get in contact with me from the 'Contact Me' link.
4. Typos. Anyone who reads a lot of my writing might think this one ironic. I've had spelling difficulties since childhood, but I haven't let that stop me from writing. At the time of writing, this website averages over 15,000 page views a month.. not bad for someone who can't spell! If, on the otherhand, you're not like me and you don't have an excuse... typos and poor grammar send bad signals to the visitor. I've had people email me saying they love my content but get too frustrated by the typos. If your website has too many typos then you will end up alienating your visitors.
5. Sound. Have you ever opened a website at work and then noise suddenly starts blaring out of your work PC, the whole office stops and looks at you while you're desperately trying to turn the sound off... it's annoying! I think video content is a trend that will continue gaining momentum in 2017 and onwards, however, let the user start the interaction.
6. Pagination. Have you ever clicked on a link from Facebook to see the '10 Best Christmas films' and then you're forced to click hundreds of times through a completely unnecessary next button to see the whole list. These systems are designed to make more ads and inflate page impressions, but they make the user experience terrible. DON'T DO IT!
7. Ads. I think we all understand, running a website costs money and people need to make money to fund it... ads help website owners achieve this. I think we can all live with a few ads... too many ads that take priority over content is a very easy way to stop people visiting your site.
8. Make It Easy For People To Find Your Content. This website started off as a simple blogroll. After the first 100 articles, I found it increasing difficult to find the information I was looking for. To help make this process easier, I started to refine the design. I added category pages, improved navigation processes.
9. Saving your best content for later. When I started writing I didn't want to give my 'best' advice and tips because the plan was to write an ebook and make money (the book is still in the works!). This idea is silly, there's so much content out there, someone else will do it eventually. Don't hold your best content back, waiting until your blog is popular to publish your best ideas otherwise you'll more than likely never get there. The thing about writing your best content now, it will force you to come up with new, better ideas later on!
Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge