Graphics, animation, ads, content…oh my! The complaint I hear most often about websites is that they are too busy, too cluttered.
Sometimes we have the urge to try to fit everything on a page, even cramming a lot of material in the sidebar and in the footer. There’s a sense that we have to get it all out there to make sure visitors don’t miss anything. Sadly, we end up doing just the opposite.
I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to visit at least one site like that. What did you do? Chances are you quickly clicked away, especially if it was your first time on that site. Just like you and I, website visitors have a lot of demands for their time and they simply aren’t going to waste it trying to overcome your website clutter.
Web visitors scan pages looking for something to connect with before they decide whether to read the content on your page. It could be a picture, a headline, an ad or a skillfully placed animation. The secret is to use these to your advantage instead of your disadvantage. Everything that is on your website should be there for a reason.
Here are some tools to help clear out the clutter:
- White space-This is probably the most important tool to use. It allows you to break up long pieces of information into bite-size pieces.
- Bullets, block quotes, and subheadings also help draw the eye down the page, making it scan-able.
- Pictures-Images definitely add life to a page. Be judicious. Do they contribute directly to the content around them or do you just think they’re cool or pretty? If it's just the latter, choose a better pic.
This tip is excerpted from her most recent free report End Website Shame. If you missed other tips or would like the entire report, click here.
© Teresa Cleveland, The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox
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