|You remember sites like this. I hope you've updated yours|
to fit into the 21st century a little better!
To be fair, some people had really beautiful sites. But they are in the minority. I must have looked at over a hundred different blogs and websites last night, and I was plagued by slow load times, an excess of 3rd party widgets and plugins, gigantic headers, ridiculously confusing navigation, poorly arranged photos and widgets that didn't fit the content/sidebar areas of the site, and things that were just plain ugly, like background images, colors, logos, poor quality photos, etc.
I worked at a web design company, so I probably notice this stuff a lot more than the average person, but, especially with the slow load times, I don't know how these people have so many page views and so many followers with a site as disorganized/ugly/confusing as that!
Because of all the problems I found, I'm going to break the analysis and advice into two parts. Part 2 will be up tomorrow.
1) Some of these people had gigantic headers, like took-up-almost-the-ENTIRE-screen big. Most of them were really pretty, and often, these were some of the better designed sites, but as far as attracting new visitors go, gigantic headers like that are one of the worst things you can do, no matter how pretty is it. Why? People spend the majority of their time on a website homepage ABOVE THE FOLD (i.e. the part of the webpage you see when you first arrive on a website without scrolling down at all).
|Apparently these guys specialize in gigantic headers. Which might work for some products, |
but for most sites, a big header is taking away from all the other great stuff you have to offer.
2) Confusing navigation was another issue. The majority of the sites were book blogging sites that published book reviews and accepted review requests from authors and publishers. The majority of them also had a review policy page which explained what types of books they accepted, among other details like whether they preferred print or ebook format.
However, I would venture to say that at least a third of the sites I looked at had hidden this page somewhere on their site. If it's a big part of what you do, it should be ABOVE THE FOLD, and it should be easy enough for someone to find if that's what they're looking for. This means it should be in the navigation menu or in a widget or text box at the very top of the page. Some people had them hidden in "about" pages, "contact" pages, or profile widgets, and some of them were just little links hidden halfway down the homepage in between two other garish images or flashy widgets.
That's it for today. Consider your website or blog and ask yourself if you commit any of these faux pas that can wreck your new visitor stats. Make sure to check back tomorrow for the rest of the list!