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#5.05: The “Less Clutter” Issue

Make your web page much more effective by clearing out the clutter and deleting the distractions.

1> Fewer Banners, Better Results
2> Eliminate Extra Links
3> Clean Out the Checkout
4> Check It Out: Red Alert

1> Fewer Banners, Better Results

A boatload of banner ads on a web page will cancel themselves out and distract your visitors. Try sticking to one ad to increase your clicks. Many marketers are finding improved click rates when they limit the number of ads on each page. Similar improvements are found when you repeat a single banner in several locations and sizes on a single page (which seems to reinforce the impact). If you’re selling ads, you get to charge more as response rates improve. If you are advertising your own stuff, you’ll get more impact in the same space. If you haven’t yet noticed this trend, check out sites like CNN.com and ESPN.com. These pages used to be full of ads; now they keep it simple with just a banner or two.

THE LESSON: More ads = more distraction. And fewer clicks. Focus traffic on a single strong offer.

2> Eliminate Extra Links

Every link on a web page will distract the eye and draw people away from your main objective — closing sales. Study links that get the most clicks and links that lie dormant. The unused links are hurdles and should be removed. Every extra link on your navigation bar makes it harder for visitors to find what they need and get to the right place. Even worse, those extra links distract from your main marketing objective. Eliminating junk links will make your site smoother and more informative. We eliminated half the links from the main menu of our homepage and got a significant boost in visitors who went to more than one page on the site. (Visitors were also much more likely to get to the pages that we wanted them to see.) Amazon uses a similar technique by showing you only the few tabs that they want you to focus on.

THE LESSON: Too many choices confuse and frustrate visitors. Show them only what you want them to see.

3> Clean Out the Checkout

Your customer is on your shopping cart page and a sale is imminent. Keep them there! Don’t risk anything that prevents them from completing their transaction. Delete the navigation bar. Remove links to other products that may tempt them away from their pending purchase. Compare Buy.com to Amazon. On Buy.com’s shopping cart checkout page, they offer a lot of links to other products. They also include their full navigation bar, search form, and more. Amazon.com keeps their page bare. The menus, links, and choices go away. You only see a 4-step guide to completing the order and necessary links — privacy policies, customer satisfaction guarantees, and account information. Finishing the sale gets center stage.

THE LESSON: Don’t distract when success is in sight. Strip everything from your checkout pages to increase sales.

4> Check It Out: Red Alert

The secret history of the homeland defense alert system, from noted creative wiz Ze Frank.
http://www.zefrank.com/redalert/

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