Visitors don't stay.

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#1
Since the implementation of Statcounters "Visit Length", I have been very interested to learn just how little time most visitors spend on my site ... none!!

It is only a small personal site and so I don't expect a lot of traffic. I only average a couple of dozen hits a day although I am surprised sometimes by just how well I do in the search rankings. But my concern isn't the low volume of traffic ... it is the fact that most visitors do not hang around above a few seconds.

In asking for your opinions and suggestions I ask you to be brutal if necessary .... I can take the criticism. My own guess is that my site content is simply of no interest to most people who stumble in. But even if I accept that, there might still be things I can do to grab their attention for a little longer. Any comments will be well recieved.

Thanks
 
#2
My own guess is that my site content is simply of no interest to most people who stumble in.
100% WRONG


But even if I accept that, there might still be things I can do to grab their attention for a little longer.
100% RIGHT

emphasis in
things I can do to grab their attention
And here is my explanation:

1.- Your site content is great, search engines thinks that and that's why you are "surprised sometimes by just how well [you] do in the search rankings"

2.- Your home page needs to be redesigned, so there are "things that [you] can do to grab [your visitors] attention for a little longer".

3.- You goal is to "grab their attention for a little longer"

-Proteus

P.S
Let me repeat step number two:

2.- Your home page needs to be redesigned, so there are "things that [you] can do to grab [your visitors] attention for a little longer".

P.S.S. I hope I was not so brutal...
:wink:
 
#3
Scouser ... I respect your candour. Thanks for your honesty.

Proteus ... thank you for your encouraging words and for providing a positive way forward. I had been reviewing everything on my site, but I'll concentrate on my home page instead.

for2kids ... Your comments are very constructive, thank you. I take your point about the small font used for the Flagpin story. I had tried to reduce overall page size, and minimise scrolling, but I can see that I have compromised readability in doing so. I've now increased the font size and would like to know what you think. Should I change the colours also? By the way, welcome to Statcounter :D

Thank you all for your help ... it's much appreciated.
 
#4
I love your work

All I know is I love your work. I love your colors. I love the stirrings of peace your landscapes bring me. I love the fact that the viewer is given an insight into the artist's mind prior to the execution of his art.

I used to want to paint and express myself with colors. I never learned and soon gave up.

I am not a pro on websites therefore, I cannot critique it as others could. I like your site but as a typical visitor and as a regular art enthusiast, your art comes first before your site (although I do not see anything wrong with it). I can say with all honesty, that there is a simple, elegant and pure tone to your art that is quite refreshing.

I also like your collection of poetry . . . I like Comparisons and I found your "I'm Tired" very informative and humorous - the latter because I too, am soooo tired!

I will definitely visit your site more often and start on your "Inspiration" section.

Good luck and more power!

China Tea
 
#5
Thank you for your very generous words.
I used to want to paint and express myself with colors. I never learned and soon gave up.
That is a shame. As I say on my site, Anyone can paint and I hope one day you have another go. I know you'll enjoy it.
I am not a pro on websites therefore, I cannot critique it as others could.
Well I've had a look at your site and you could have fooled me. Your site exudes an 'elegance' and air of restfulness, given that it's prime function is as a shop. I love the quotations on every page ... a nice touch (and good for the search engines :) )

Good luck with your sales, and thanks for your comments.
 
#6
I am not sure which website you wanted me to review, so I did the one in your signature.

I think the home page needs to be a little more interesting. My first impression was "I don't want to read all that" and left. I actually have no clue what your webpage is about, since it looked like I would have to read a bunch of really long narratives which I wasn't in the mood for right now. (As you may have guess, I didn't even finish reading the names of the links, much less click on one.)

That is probably where you are losing a bunch of your traffic. People like me who don't want to have to spend 5 minutes just figuring out what your website is about. From reading other people's posts, it looks like I missed out on some great content though.

Here is what I would recommend: add things to you home page that make it more visually interesting such as images, and make it more obviously visually what each section is about. I has a similar problem with the home page of one of my websites, and when I redesigned it to add images in addition to the text, usage of the home page soared. Prior to that, noone used it, after that, it is now the top 5 pages on the website as far as page views go (most people click in from search engine directly to specific content, that's why).

Hope that helps, and hope you didn't mind me being straight forward about it. My purpose to help you see what people really see but won't tell you. That way you can do something about it to improve your website.

I must note that your web design is very clean, which is a plus. Just a little too plain.

Good luck. :)
 
#7
Thank you for your 'straightforward' observations. That is exactly what I wanted ... honest criticism that points me in the right direction.

As you have probably realised, you are not the first to suggest that I need more interest in my home page, and that is something I am working on right now. I had deliberately tried to keep it clean and uncluttered, but I guess it's a case of finding the middle ground between clutter and bland.

I'm still not convinced my site content will be of very much interest to the majority of visitors, but the first task is to get them past the home page ... right?

Thanks again.
 
#8
Thank you for your 'straightforward' observations. That is exactly what I wanted ... honest criticism that points me in the right direction.

As you have probably realised, you are not the first to suggest that I need more interest in my home page, and that is something I am working on right now. I had deliberately tried to keep it clean and uncluttered, but I guess it's a case of finding the middle ground between clutter and bland.

I'm still not convinced my site content will be of very much interest to the majority of visitors, but the first task is to get them past the home page ... right?

Thanks again.
 
#9
Some design issues

Dear John,

I didn't really take much time to find out if the content of your website is of any interest whatsoever - because I believe that's not the point.
Since - as you say - visiters only spend a few seconds on your site, I'd agree with for2kids, you have to find ways to:

- use the few seconds you have the user's attention to show them immediately what you have to offer

- once you have it, make them stay by making your contents easy to view.

The most important thing: The width of your website's content equals the width of the window. Are you using tables?
If not, you should. Using tables isn't hard to master, there's lots of online resources about that.
If you are, set the width to something user-friendly:

As Statcounter user, you know the screen resolutions of your users (keep in mind: screen size does not nessesarily equal window size). So, if most visitors to your site have a 800x600 resolution, you should make your content-"collumn" about 650 pixels wide. There's another benefit from that: Your texts are far easier to read. Stick to about 60-80 characters per line.

Take a look at your fonts. You might have heard that serif typefaces (the ones with the little "feet", like Times in contrast to Arial) are better to read. That is true on paper, but not on the screen. Use Times and the like for headlines, if they're big enough in size, if at all. Stick to Arial, or better Verdana for texts longer than a few words.
Set the font sizes in pixel. This ensures sites to look alike on different systems. Try 10-12 pixels. Try changing the line-height
(<p style="font-size 11px; line-height:15px">)* - if there's some space between the lines, texts are easier to read.
*Play a little with these numbers to find the combination you like best.

Be consistent in the design of your site. Set one text style (face, size and colour), set one headline style, stick to the same background/ foreground-appearance throughout your site. This applies to the "Flag Pin" story especially.

For the home page, try the following:
- set the links in two or three collumns (using tables), add images, if possible, and differenciate better between the headline and the descriptive text.
Try to find out on other websites what you'd want to click on if you'd follow a link - the headline? the text? or a "more..." link? Maybe one or two of them, maybe all. Change your links' system to that.
Try to find categories for your links to better sort them (maybe "Watercolours", "Writings", "Misc." or something (English is not my mother tongue, so maybe you can find better words)) so your visitors can get an idea of what kind of site they're at.
In my browser (IE 5.1 under Mac OS 9), the first link overlaps the image. I'd recommend against that. The other links are better readable.

So much for now - these are some basic things I experienced when dealing with webdesign (and there's a lot I still have to learn as well) - if you work on these issues, I guess some of your visitors might stay quite some time longer. Other's won't, of course, since they'll find out even sooner your site isn't for them...

I hope I could help you a little.

regards, Per
 
#10
Thank you Per,

Many of your comments are changes that I already have in mind, in particular, Tables. I am looking at them at the moment. I have used simple tables on a couple of my pages, but I'd like to do so much better with the Home page. I've also decided to change my navigation method, which is extremely poor at the moment. Some of my topics can be easily augmented with an image which will hopefully make the page a little less bland.

Your comments with regards to differing screen resolutions is very interesting. I had not realised that some of my links might overlap the graphic on some systems.

I take on board all of your suggestions and thank you very much for taking the time to help me out.
 
#11
JWJ said:
I'm still not convinced my site content will be of very much interest to the majority of visitors, but the first task is to get them past the home page ... right?
You would be surprised what people are interested in. Also, when people are bored, you'd be surprised what they read. And if something looks interesting, they usually check it out even if that wasn't what they were looking for. People are curious.

Don't discount the value of your content. Somewhere, there are hundreds, even thousands of people like you looking for exactly what you have. Of course, getting them to find you is another story.

I have learned so many things by stumbling upon websites that I wasn't even searching for, but something on it caught my eye and I decided to read.

For example, I may not have been looking for a young Japanese pianists personal website, for example, but when I heard her music, I was happy I found it. And I wasn't even looking for music at the time, much less Japanese or pianos. Her website caught my eye and I stayed long enough to listen to her music. If you do the same, make your website eye-catching enough to keep someone there, you'd be surprised how many people stay who weren't even looking for what you have.
 
#12
Think of your home page as your store front. What would make you stop and take a look in the window or go inside? Thumbnails at each of the topics are a great suggestion. How about a picture of you?

Speaking as an artist myself, the resolution for the opening page of your paintings is not as good as it could be. Maybe cut down the number of paintings per page, or arrange them in collections, or maybe add a description to them. Your section on Northhampton is excellent. A nice travel journal. You definitely have the content, it's just a matter of adding some spark and polish to your pages.

Chris
 
#13
How about a picture of you?
Now that really would send the punters away :)

Hi Chris, and welcome to the forum.

Your comments are much appreciated and I take on board your suggestions. Your site is an absolute inspiration for me ... not only is it clean, structured and flowing, but your watercolours are out of this world. I am in awe at your talent and have the greatest respect and admiration for your skills. I shall return to view your work often.
 
#15
idea

Maybe you can put in things for fun such as polls (e.g. How much sex is normal :lol: ) or games people can play so that they will stay longer and return.
 
#19
Taking on board everyone's comments about my site, I have now re-designed my home page. I still have a lot to do and will also be standardising on colour, fonts, format throughout the rest of the site. However, before I do too much more I would very much welcome your further comments just to see if I am on the right track or not. The new page is at http://www.JWJonline.net

Thank you all
 
#20
JWJ said:
Taking on board everyone's comments about my site, I have now re-designed my home page. I still have a lot to do and will also be standardising on colour, fonts, format throughout the rest of the site. However, before I do too much more I would very much welcome your further comments just to see if I am on the right track or not. The new page is at http://members.aol.com/JWJarts/newpage.htm

Thank you all
Wow!!!! :shock: What am improvement!!! :D

You caught my attention this time! I'm even compelled to check out your website and check out the watercolors.

One thing though, the underlined text needs to be clickable. I was trying to get to the watercolor section by clicking on the underlines heading "Watercolours" and it didn't work.

I like the new look! :)
 
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