1 Guaranteed Way to Website Failure

I watched someone loading their car at IKEA. They put several small boxes in first to “try and fill the nooks and crannies”. Having packed a car many times in the past, I envisioned a large stamp reading “Failure” stomped onto their attempt. Even before it was completed. You have to start with the large boxes first and fill around them.

May people build websites today with the “Failure” stamp all over them. Website Failure.

Why are we building websites that just don’t work? Do we have extra time on our hands; so we invest hundreds of hours guaranteeing that very few people will use our website? It seems like madness to me.

We overwrite pages. As soon I call up a website and see a large paragraph of content; I know the website will be a disaster. People aren’t going to websites to read paragraphs for the most part. And they certainly aren’t expecting the homepage to contain a lot of content.

The average American reads about 300 words/minute. And spends about 10 seconds/page on most websites. That means people scan about 50 words/page. And the more the paragraphs go over 50 words; the less people will want to stay on the page. When was the last time you “decided” to ignore reading an email because it was far too long? The same thing happens on websites.

More and more, people are reading less and less.

The solutions?

  • Edit. Make sure that a short headline contains the reason to browse the content.
  • Write a short introductory sentence for the content. Then several bullet points to attract browsers.
  • Make sure there’s a call-to-action at the end.

It’s rarely a design that kills a website, it’s often the content. Or that the design doesn’t allow the content to be delivered well. Stop the madness!

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