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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gimme Three Steps towards the Door

As in the Lynyrd Skynyrd Song, except you need three clicks within nine seconds.

From the time someone lands on your website how long do have to catch their attention?

Three minutes? Two? One? Or only seconds?

Research shows you have three to five seconds to catch that person’s interest before they click away to the next site. That means something has to catch or hook them in mere seconds of viewing your site or they are gone. You need to show them what they are looking for fast and efficiently. People are looking for something particular, a particular book, a savings, or a discount. Maybe they are looking for Author Information? Maybe they are interested in your book? Maybe they are looking to see if they would be interested in your book?

One of the things Wed Designers look at is where do people look when they land on a web site? Some of them have equipment that actually maps where people’s eyes move to one various sites as they view them to determine what works and what doesn’t. When you are having a person design a site for you, you might have people look at the sight for three seconds and then turn it off. Ask them what they saw? What do they remember from three seconds of viewing?

The newest area that web designers are moving into is sites being interactive with the web surfer. If in that three seconds you can entice the person to interact, click a button on your site that shows them something else, takes them to another page but still on your site, you can hold them there past that initial three to five seconds. The trick is to entice them to what they want and where you want them to go within three clicks and all on your site.

As an author that translates into I want a website that that is attractive and possibly reflects my personality or the theme of my books or a series of my books.

My first choice would be to entice the visitor to purchase one of my books!

My second choice would be to entice the visitor to download a sample of one of my books for FREE to see if they like it.

Then other options on the site would be to interact with the visitor, provide updates about upcoming projects or books, book signings, and maybe appearances at Writing Conferences. To share Bio information about myself as the author of the books and to show and display past books or other series the visitor may not be aware of. Create ways for the visitor to interact, make selections and move around within your site. Maybe a button to add your site to their favorites, links to other sites you may have, or to your blog, widgets to allow them to connect to you on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or Google +.

The middle section of your website is the prime real estate and where most people initially focus. If the text is too small and it looks like you just opened a page of a complicated text book you will lose the visitor. If it is too crowded, too loud, too flashy, and the first impression reminds of standing in front of an arcade game you may lose the visitor.

In this case LESS is really more. You need attractive and inviting colors of text and graphics, easy to make an initial choice very quickly, that’s your hook on the website. Keep them there and show them you have what they want. Three click or less and entice them to make that first click on your site within three seconds of viewing it!

This is part of an ongoing mini-series of posts on Web Design and SEO.

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