How to Design Your Website Content for More Clicks.

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December 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm #284

Key Master

Want to get more users to click on links in your San Diego website? Want to get them to stay on your site longer? Part of the solution is in how you design your website. The physical design of your site, in terms of where you put certain information, matters because of how people’s eyes scan the Web.
Eyetracking research from Nielsen Norman Group studied how people’s eyes moved as they scanned thousands of website pages. They found that users consistently scan Web pages in an “F” shape.

  1. First they read horizontally across the upper part of the page (the top bar of the F). Generally, they go all the way across.
  2. Next, they scan down the page and read across in a second horizontal movement, typically shorter than the first (the second bar of the F).
  3. After that, they scan down the left side of the page vertically (the “stem” of the F). They may skim fast or slowly.

What does this mean to your website design?

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with your site. There’s a reason why most websites follow the same general design, which is why Web templates are so widely used. Users have been trained to look at the top, the middle and the side of Web pages because that’s typically where the key information is.

Don’t expect users to read every word. Web users don’t read as thoroughly as print users. They are generally skimming to find information they need. Keep your writing short and to the point. This is why you’ll see bulleted lists (like this one), numbered lists (like the one above) and white space between paragraphs used on most websites.

Put the key information in the places people look. As you design your website, think about what you want people to read, click on, learn or do and put that information in the parts of the “F.” For example, your company’s contact information, a link to sign up for your enewsletter, a “Buy Now” or “Learn More” button, and other things you want users to act on should not be relegated to the bottom of the home page. Most people never page down that far. By the same token, you should put the most important words in the beginning of your paragraphs, bullet points, headlines and subheads.

Once you’ve designed your website to follow the F principle, use analytics tools such as Google Analytics to see if what you’re doing is working. You can tell whether people are really reading what’s on your site by looking at how much time they spend on each page. If there’s tons of content on a page but people are only spending 10 seconds there, you can surmise they’re not reading it all, and you should probably streamline or redesign the content so it’s more appealing to the eye.

Following the F principle can lead you to a grade-A website that grabs viewers’ eyeballs and keeps them reading, clicking and buying!


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