What drives success on the web? Often, success is measured by how quickly and effectively you communicate your content to the user. Every aspect of your site – including the content, layout, visual aesthetics, and interactive behavior – can potentially hinder web traffic and more specifically user retention.
Visual communication is perhaps most important on the web as the eyes are the primary sense we use to absorb, understand, and act upon web content.
Tips to Tweak Your Site
Let the content drive the development of your site.
There is a reason why a user comes to your site, to solve a “problem.” You must first define whether they are searching for entertainment, information, transaction or a combination. Once you understand why the user has come to your site, you can utilize your content in an organized manner to solve their problem. In your main navigation area, create 4-7 headings from your most informative and accurate content that will likely provide an answer to the user. Make sure the user can access these headings at all times. Check out Cheyenne Dental Group for a good example.
Use different font types and sizes to differentiate headings and subheadings. A short heading in a slightly bigger or bolder font can clearly communicate the information contained within – creating visual convenience for the user and increasing likelihood of web retention. Don’t go overboard, your site will look unorganized and chaotic. A good example is Shana Insurance – with just two font variations they display a ton of information in an organized manner.
Heatmaps from user eyetracking studies of three websites. The areas where users looked the most are colored red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue areas.
Where Are You Looking Right Now?
There have been many eye-tracking studies that show the first place a user will look when they land on your page is the top-left corner. Next, they will start scanning down the page, either going back and forth like a “z” shape or just start to scan downwards like a rollercoaster drop. Our theory is that the eyes will start their focus on the left side of the page (just like how we read a book!) and look for the first focal point that can anchor its attention. Try it yourself on a random webpage and see where your eyes go.
The top-left corner is often a good place to display your company logo. If you’re hungry for conversions, then place your call to action (i.e. your 800 number or mailing list form) on the right and “above the fold”. Above the fold refers to the top half of your web page.
Conversion stats show that having an image looking directly at your call to action can actually increase conversion rates. The eye will tend to follow where the people in the picture are looking. What happens when you’re out on the street and you see two people looking up in the sky? It is a natural urge, you can’t resist!
Keep your forms sweet and short. Research shows more than 90% of prospects bail out on the average online registration form. It doesn’t take much to reduce such content; it could prove very valuable in kicking up your conversions.