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Just like there are things that help people decide to stay on your site, there are also things that make them quickly leave. It's not hard to work out what these things are; you're probably been frustrated with them yourself in the past. The biggest issues are the things that stop visitors from finding the information they are looking for. It's amazing how many sites hide the information that visitors want to find. The hiding happens in several ways. One is using nonsensical or technical product names in navigation. Who knows the difference between an XY200 and an XY300, for example? Another is using puns or teases in your link text, so the visitors don't know what they will get if they click through.
Another way to hide information is by using technical jargon instead of plain language. Remember, even if you're running a site for specialists in a particular field, those specialists all start off as newbies at some point. If you present visitors with a wall of text, they won't be able to quickly scan it and work out how relevant it is. If instead you split it up with headings, subheadings, and bullet points you help people to quickly read through the important parts to see if they are where they need to be. Another big turn off that users report is overly distracting advertising. This is obviously a big trade- off for you as the site designer.
On the one hand you might want to make money from the content you produced, on the other you need to ensure that people stay around on the site long enough to create the ad impressions you need. The balance will be different depending upon what kind of site you have. Remember, your visitors are looking for information. The content you give them needs to make sense to them, not just to you. They might not have the same level of knowledge about the topics you cover or the same level of interest in them as you do. You need to make sure that your content speaks clearly to people right from the beginning. The Back button is only one click away and you don't often get a second chance.
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