DELIVER BETTER EXPERIENCES
By Marc Schenker
Bad content can ruin a brand and make expensive marketing efforts a total waste. That's because content is often the first interaction a consumer will have with a brand. So if the site is sub-par, the impression of the brand will be too. P.S. These impressions can last for years. Your content is supposed to be a high-converting, lead generation machine! Don't get weighed down by a bad first impression. Here are 5 tell-tale signs your site makes a bad impression (and what you can do to fix it).
1. You have a lack of white space
White space is the part of a page that’s blank or left unmarked. Also called negative space, it helps the viewer’s eye focus on the areas of the page containing content. A lack of white space on your site contributes to bad first impression because it doesn’t break up the content, making it difficult for visitors to read and understand what to focus on. Break up web page content by making the white or negative space a different color than the main content. Merriam-Webster’s definition page for “white space” does exactly this.
With so many elements on a page, white space makes the content easier to see, read, and absorb, making site visitors more likely to stick around. Plus, when visitors see a page framed by white space, they can more effectively hone in on the main focus of your page. As a result, they’ll be more receptive to your marketing messages and on-site branding.
2. Your content is too bunched together
The majority of Internet content is text. As the Information Architects so famously declared, “Web design is 95 percent typography.” It stands to reason why web copy must be presented in an readable and legible way. Sites that fail to include elements like bullet points to accommodate readers’ scanning behavior are working against themselves. By including these elements, your content becomes more appealing. In addition, it makes it easier for visitors to pick up the most important information on the page, increasing the value they’ll get from the content!
For ecommerce sites, bullet points help product features stand out more and easier for consumers to absorb and recall.
3. You offer no social sharing options
Social media is all about social proof (aka, how many people think your content is share-worthy). The more shares you gets, the more site visitors believe your content is actually credible, which can help drive conversions. People expect your site to have a slew of social sharing buttons, or at least the major ones (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). Why? Because:
- 26 percent use them to voice opinions
- 25 percent use them to provide personal recommendations
- 49 percent use them to encourage action on products
You can also format your social sharing buttons as fixed elements so that the option to share is always there as visitors scroll through your site.
With the social media buttons prominently displayed, your marketing efforts get more bang for their buck as your visitors can share your site with their friends and followers.
4. All your images are stock photos
Web surfers are visual creatures. Accordingly, they want to see sharp, high-quality images on your site. Studies show that images can in fact boost conversion rates, but there’s a catch: Not any image will do. As a rule of thumb (pun intended), steer clear of dreaded stock photos like these:
Stock photos are mostly low-quality images of common places, people, landmarks and events that are available on a royalty-free basis. They're a major turn-off for your site visitors, so do your best to exclude them from web pages. Instead, invest a little extra in a professional or quality camera. When you include real pictures of real people on your company site, you can actually increase your conversion rate. If this isn’t possible, at the very least, use high quality stock photo sites like Unsplash or Superfamous for your images. And Canva offers a helpful resource of 73 free stock photo sites.
5. Your on-page goal is confusing
Each page of your content should have a specific user goal in mind. For an ecommerce site, that’s usually securing a purchase, but can be as simple as inputing information in a web form. Confusion about the on-page goal is frustrating to visitors. They shouldn't have to think twice about what you want them to do. To fix this, you must understand the purpose of every page of your content. If it’s a product page, call to action buttons like “add to cart” should stand out, contain big, readable copy, and feature signifiers that let shoppers know they can click there. Kohl’s espresso machine product page is a great example of how to make this clear. Shoppers can read about the product, see it in action, and add it to their digital shopping bag.
When on-page goals are crystal clear, your marketing efforts will prove much more successful.
Some first impressions suck, but yours doesn't have to. Luckily your content is something that can be salvaged! All it takes is understanding the basic principles of web design and identifying the areas that require fixing. You can recognize a bad-looking content by the tell-tale signs mentioned in this article:
- Inadequate whitespace
- Large blocks of text, or crammed content
- Absence of social media sharing buttons
- Low-res, low-quality stock photos
- Confusing on-page goals
Image from Merriam-Webster
Image from Copyblogger
Image from Shareaholic
Image from Kohl's
5 Signs Your Site Makes A Bad First Impression
Marc Schenker Marc Schenker is a writer and expert in business and marketing topics like e-commerce, B2B, digital marketing and design. He is a regular contributor to various, highly ranked publications such as Shopify and Web Designer Depot. To find out what really makes him tick, head on over to his website and don’t forget to make his day by liking his Facebook page.
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