You pony up hours every week, tweaking, adding, taking away from your website. You yearn for it to be as awe-inspiring as Ronaldo on the pitch because you became an entrepreneur for a reason, passive or not.
Yet all that sitting around behind your screen hasn’t earned you nearly what you thought it would.
And it’s so frustrating to watch everyone else score while you’re still parked on the bench.
But have you looked at your site through the eyes of a user? Steal a minute to do that now.
What You May or May Not Have Discovered
Where did you look first when you called up your own .com?
The middle of the screen? Nope. The footer? Probably not – unless you normally scope the boots of an outfit first.
Chances are, you, like most other users, looked to the top left of your site. Then, predictably, you scanned to the right.
Way back in 2006, the Nielsen Norman Group discovered this predictability of reader usability. Their study found that most users follow a pattern when scanning about pages, e-commerce product listings, and search engine results. (Can you say Google Authorship?)
The Letter F and You
Starting at the top left, they scan to the right. Then, they drop a bit and their eyes follow another left to right horizontal track. Finally, sweeping down the left side of the page, they finish devouring your content.
It’s called the F-Pattern. And, the odd thing is, it looks just like, well, an F. Imagine!
So, as amazing as your site may look, putting calls-to-action, your navigation, or your branding a NON-F format is the same as shooing away customers – in most cases, of course.
Putting the goods, the stuff you really need them to act on outside of their habitual vision range means you lose since they aren’t likely to scour your site for your “Subscribe” or “Buy” buttons.
Don’t Lose Another Reader
You’ve spent loads of time and effort perfecting your offer and your give. And your Paypal account isn’t growing, but your fatigue is. But don’t give up!
You don’t have to be a designer to tweak your site for maximum profits. Follow the tips below and shift your online results to the black.
Drop The F-Bomb:
- Logo and Branding. Keep your logo and tagline top and left. Don’t make them search for who you are. If your logo is awesome eye candy that begs to be consumed, stick it where it will be seen first. Let them know who you are as soon as they land on your site.
- Offerings. If you’ve got a special product for sale or you want your readers to subscribe and have some amazing offer for them if they do, put it on the right. But make sure it’s top or second row. Don’t put your “Recent blog posts” section above your Opt In box. For shame!
- Ads. Be aware of banner blindness and make sure you test often. If you’re not getting returns, don’t burn your real estate with content that’s ignored.
- Sidebar. Sidebar content pushed below the fold has two likely fates: 1) To be scanned or 2) To be ignored altogether. In other words, put your hot copy above that fold or risk it not being seen.
- Rock your site. Don’t bore your user to death. Layout predictability doesn’t have to be boring. Nor does your content. Your design should be your Pop Rocks and your content should be the Willy Wonka of your eye candy factory – always amazing and amusing.
Make the layout changes outlined above. Amp up your content and copy. And watch your balance bleed from red to black.
What layout is your content in on your site right now?
Tania Dakka, aka Copy Fiend, delivers personalized, powerful, profitable content and copy for entrepreneurs who want to make a lasting impression on their customers. Join her in the Google+ EntreFiends community of action-takers to bring wickedly awesome to your business.