Make It Visitor Friendly!

April 19, 1999 -- You probably think that your site is visitor friendly.

But is it friendly enough?

Think about all the sites that you have visited over the last week or month that left you with a nice feeling of being able to go anywhere within the site without becoming confused or just losing your patience.

Now . . . that is what I call visitor friendly sites.

And while it is very critical on how content is worded and presented along with the use of supportive graphics to further illustrate the intended message, poor navigation can truly make a good message site come up considerably short of being visitor friendly.

Remember . . . never assume your target audience is made up of technical wizards or mind readers who just love a challenge to figure out what a site is really all about. Making it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for is fundamental in the reinforcement of a concise and compelling mission statement and commercial message.

Navigation buttons and text links . . . need to be very visible and easily read with images having alt text tags that describe the purpose of the link. They can be listed under a header or down the side (preferably the left column). And while a pull down menu for site navigation might be necessary when there are too many key pages, do not forget that a site map and table of contents should be incorporated with a noticeable link.

The bottom of each page . . . should have at least key text menu links that allow the visitor an option to continue with your site's presentation and possibly another reason to purchase. It makes no sense to have anyone hit the "back" button or scroll up to locate menu links.

Don't forget . . . that a "contact" or e-mail link needs to be a part of the menu or navigation bar including at the bottom of each page. It is very difficult to be completely visitor friendly if one has difficulty locating the link that allows a visitor to communicate with your company.

Of course . . . you need to do what is necessary to attract the target audience to your site so they can find out how visitor friendly it is!


David G. Bancroft
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