How To Drive Traffic Away From Your Website
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Why Web-Users Are So Impatient
While watching a Toronto Raptor basketball game I saw T.J. Ford, one of the
fastest players in the league, rush down the court like a man possessed and
proceed to throw the ball behind his back to a trailing Andrea Bargnani. The
trouble was the ball sailed over the head of the seven-foot Bargnani into the
second row of seats. Ford, himself, ended up with a beer and popcorn facial
after landing in the lap of a front row patron. So what does this have to do
with website design and marketing you ask? A lot.
As talented as Ford is a basketball player he sometimes plays out-of-control,
and his major asset, his speed, becomes a liability. When this happens in a
basketball game the answer is to slow the game down and get back in control.
Don' Speed-It-Up; Slow-It-Down
Website visitors are like the speedy T.J. Ford; they are so intent on getting
what they want as quickly and efficiently as possible, that they often surf the
How many times have you sat in front of the computer with your hand resting
on your mouse searching for some desired product, service, or information, when
all of sudden you find what looks like what you want, but before you even have a
chance to discover exactly what it is, your hair-trigger finger decides it's
time to move-on. It's like your finger has a mind of it's own.
Speed Kills Marketing Efforts
All the talk and discussion about short attention spans caused by people
raised on video games and quick-cut-edited music videos is very misleading.
What website visitors won't tolerate are websites that waste their time, and
many websites are guilty of exactly that. Contrary to popular belief, the job of
a website designer, who understand marketing, is not to speed up website
visitors, but to slow them down so they can absorb the marketing message.
If you want your audience to remember you, if you want to make an impression,
if you want website visitors to understand why they should give you their
business, then you have to slow them down long enough to absorb your message.
And that message better be worth their while or they will never come back.
It isn't about how fast a page loads; it's about delivering an appropriate
payoff for the wait.
Now I will admit there people who absolutely, positively will not wait more
than eight seconds for anything to load. You know who you are. And I say, the
hell with them. These are the same people who won't wait their turn in a brick
and mortar store either, they demand to be served before everyone else - it's
just not possible to satisfy these people, so why design your entire website
marketing around them. They are never going to hang around long enough to grasp
your message and learn why they should be giving you their business, so forget
The people you should be worrying about are the ones that really want to find
out more about what it is you do, and are prepared to invest a little time and
effort to give you a chance to explain yourself. These are the important people;
this is your real audience, and you disappoint them at your financial peril.
The Reasons Why Web-users Are Impatient
The real reason website users are so damn impatient is not that they have
such short attention spans, it's because most websites are designed to meet
perceived company objectives, rather than audience needs.
How To Drive Traffic Away From Your Website
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why your website visitors may be
leaving your website before they've had a chance to hear what you have to say;
or to put it another way, if you want to drive traffic AWAY faster than you
attract it, here are some of the things you should do.
1.Give Web-visitors Too Many Options and Choices
Social scientist and Swarthmore College professor, Barry Schwartz, has coined
the phrase, "the paradox of choice." His studies have concluded the more choice
you give people, the less likely they are to make a decision. Some choice is
good, but too much choice creates confusion: it's a case of diminishing marginal
A well designed website explains, directs, guides, and focuses visitor
attention on the things that are of real benefit to your visitors and to your
Every business provides a variety of products, services, and information to
their customers, but these things are not all of equal importance. Your website
is a place to focus attention on your core marketing message, not a place to
provide a shopping list of everything you are able to do and every product or
service you may be able to offer.
2. Give Web-visitors Too Much Information To Process
Architect, author, and information designer, Richard Saul Wurman, in his
book, 'Information Anxiety' talks about, "the ever-widening gap between what we
understand and what we think we should understand."
Good website design is about more than technology and aesthetics; it's about
deciding what information needs to be presented and what information needs to be
left out. If you are truly an expert in your field, you should know what
information is important to your customers in order for them to make a decision.
Too much information is like too much choice, it confuses rather clarifies.
Focus on delivering meaningful content or risk having your visitors hit the exit
3. Give Web-visitors Too Much Non-relevant Content
The only thing worse than overloading your website with more information than
visitors can absorb is confusing them with useless and non-relevant content.
Non-relevant content is content that doesn't advance your major purpose: to
deliver your marketing message in an informative, engaging, entertaining, and
memorable manner. If it isn't relevant, dump it.
4. Give Web-visitors Too Many Irritating Distractions
Websites should be designed to direct visitors to the information they want
and that information should be the content you want to delivery.
You cannot sell someone a product or service they do not want. A real
prospect is one that needs the same information you want to provide; the art of
sales is directing potential clients to relevant information, and presenting it
in a way that visitors see your product or service as fulfilling their needs.
On the surface, third-party advertisements and banners may seem like a good
way to make some extra cash from your traffic, but these ads become so
distracting, visitors either get feed-up or click on one of the links that takes
them away from your site. Whatever few bucks you earn from these ads, you are
loosing by chasing real customers away; this of course assumes you are a real
business with something legitimate to sell and not a website that's an excuse to
Other nonsense like favorite links and silly fluff-content merely distracts
visitors from investigating your site to find what they are looking for.
5. Give Web-visitors Too Many Red Flags
Website visitors are constantly looking for red flags that tell them that the
site they are visiting should be skipped as soon as possible.
If you want to make sure visitors won't deal with you make sure you don't
provide any contact information: no contact names, no phone numbers, and no
mailing address is a sure sign that you won't look after any problems that arise
from a website transaction.
Your website must be designed to build trust and foster a relationship, not
scare people away.
6. Give Web-visitors Too Many Decisions To Make
How many decisions do you demand from your visitors in order for them to do
business with you?
Take for example the seemingly simple task of purchasing a new television. Do
you purchase the inexpensive but old tube technology, the newer Plasma
technology, or the LCD technology? How about all the various features to choose
from like picture-in-picture, commercial skip-timers, and on and on? All you
really want to do is relax with your spouse and enjoy a good movie - is that on
a VSH, DVD, Blu-ray, or HD-DVD?
7. Give Web-visitors Too Many Stumbling Blocks
Do you make people go through the order processing system before they can
find out how much something costs, or do you demand potential customers read a
ridiculous amount of small print legalese that only a lawyer could understand?
If you want to drive traffic away from your site make sure you build in as
many stumbling blocks as possible.
8. Give Web-visitors Too Many Forms TO Fill-in
Do you attract your visitors with special offers or free white papers and
then demand that they fill-out complex forms, surveys, and questionnaires before
you give them access to what they came for? If you do, you are probably losing a
lot of people you attracted, and you are guaranteeing that your next email
promotion will end up in the trash.
9. Give Web-visitors Incomprehensible Page Layouts
Good design, proper page layout, consistent navigation, and well organized
information architecture that promotes serendipity, helps visitors find what
they're looking for and provides a pleasant, efficient and rewarding experience
for the website visitor.
Website designs that rely on technology, databases, and search engine
optimization rather than focused content, coherent organization, articulate
presentation, and a memorable, rewarding experience are designs designed to
chase traffic away.
10. Give Web-visitors Too Many Confusing Instructions
One of the most frustrating experiences website visitors encounter is
confusing instructions and incoherent explanations of how your product or
service works or how to order what you are selling.
11. Give Web-visitors Too Many Reason To Click-out
If you really are determined to fail, make sure you provide website visitors
with as many reasons as possible to leave your site: irrelevant links to your
favorite sites, links to your suppliers because you're too cheap to put their
information on your own site, or any combination of the reasons mentioned above,
all contribute to driving traffic away from your site.
About the Author
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that
specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit
Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (905) 764-1246.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-10-14 22:45:39 in Computer Articles