Don’t Make Searchers Reach For New Silverware

The Conversion Chronicles blog mentions that web users hate coming across PDFs while browsing, and that’s certainly true for me.  I liken it to the experience of coming across a giant chunk of meat or chicken in my soup. (Should I put down the spoon and reach for a knife and fork?) The PDF format breaks readers’ flow, explains Conversion.

Let me add something here:  If you’ve found the perfect example of a concept you’re trying to get across in your blog post and that example just happens to be in PDF form, you can still use it.  You attribute the statement or the example to its proper author, and faithfully quote the excerpt – just leave out the link.

There’s one of the Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design that I’m not sure I agree with.  Conversion says it’s bad practice to set up links in such a way that they open in a new browser window. The reason behind Conversion’s aversion to links in new windows? "Most current operating systems have miserable window management", and readers, according to Conversion, have trouble backtracking to your blog post, anyway.
That hasn’t seemed to be a problem for me, and, far as I can tell, my readers seem to have no trouble returning "home" to my blog post following a romp in other windows.  (Try that following the link above, and let me know how that works for you, OK?)

The most important website mistake Conversion mentions is one I’ve also mentioned in my Say It For You blog posts, one that really is a big mistake for websites and especially for blogs – failing to answer readers’ questions. "Users are highly goal-driven on the Web," says Conversion.  "The ultimate failure of a website (ditto for blog posts, I’d add) is failure to provide the information users are looking for."

Above all, in each blog post, first tell ’em valuable information on exactly the topic they searched on.  That way, readers are reassured they’ve come to the right place.  Then, go ahead and tell ’em why YOU are the right guy, the right gal, the right company to provide what they need! Stay on topic, not off on a tangent. As your readers enjoy their soup, they should have no need for a knife and fork!


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