Why I Won't Make It Past the First Page of Your Website

There are many reasons visitors make it to your website only to decide they’re better off elsewhere.

Think about the last time you did a Google search. If your query was unusually specific or complex, you likely had to press the back button a handful of times and try a few different pages before you found the information you were looking for.

Why didn’t you make it past those first pages? The website probably had the information you needed somewhere, right?

I bet you left because the site wasn’t helpful.

There it is. The magic word. The reason I won’t make it past the first page of your website: Your website isn’t helping me.

Sure, maybe you do have the information I need on your website, but pointing me in the right direction with your middle finger is sending me mixed signals.

You don’t mean to be rude, but I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to think about your intentions. My intent is to find what I need and get on with my day. And now you want me to sign up for your newsletter?

A website must serve its readers quickly, competently, and compassionately. It (read: YOU) must understand why the visitor is visiting that particular page and connect with them – not an easy task with today’s attention spans.

Although extensive essays and books can (and definitely have) been written about engaging website visitors, here are three quick fixes you can implement right now to get me clicking to the next page.

Fix 1: Tweak the Typography

Have you heard of typography? You may think it’s all about choosing fancy fonts and other frou-frou concerns. I assure you, it’s not.

You do not want a website visitor to hesitate – ever. If I make it to your webpage and the font is small, or confusing, or weird, I’m going to hesitate. Few websites are worth straining my eyes over.

Choosing the right fonts, line spacing, kerning, and weight is its own discussion, but if you need a fix now, here’s what I recommend:

Serif: Garamond and Palatino
Sans-Serif: Neue Helvetica, Open Sans, and Raleway.

Line Spacing
At least 1.5 (150%), and no more than 2 (200%).

Font Color
Dark Gray (Hex: #444)

It’s important to note that the overall design should play a large part in deciding which fonts are best. If you need a starting point, however, the above will work.

Fix 2: Make it super simple

Pretend I’m a brain dead zombie (who can miraculously navigate the internet). I’ve made it to a page on your website and am ready for the next step. Do I know what to do?

All links should be a distinct and noticeable color, and the main action (i.e. the main link you want you reader clicking) should be very noticeable. The bigger, the better.

Orange and red are two of the best colors for telling visitors what to click. Make sure the text itself is clear and actionable, too. If clicking a button will take the visitor to the next page of your blog post, good text might actually be “Read Page 2”.

Fix 3: Get back to the basics

Unless your website is just a logo, white space with some words, chances are you have some clutter on your webpage.

If I arrived at your website to accomplish one specific task (very, very likely), anything else on that page is just getting in my way.

No, I don’t want to sign-up for your newsletter before I’ve even read the page title. No thanks, I’m not interested in your upcoming events (do I even know who you are?).

Take a look at your website’s top pages and see what you can remove that will help me get to your main content faster.

Helping your readers accomplish their goals should be your number one priority. Once you’ve proved your worth as a helpful resource, you’ve earned the right to ask their email address.

Written by Bobby Kegley

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