I have a client that I launched their on December 31, 2014 only 19 days ago. They have an ad based site that features buying and selling horses. They are coming to me and want to change the menu structure because they aren’t seeing a huge customer base coming to their site. I need help knowing what is the average best practice for waiting to see if its a design issue or marketing issue before you re-deign. And I provided the url so you could see if there is follow issue www.pphmatch.com. Their original request was to feature buying and selling horses. now they are wanting some more specific ideas because they feel the customer is getting lost. I can’t see what they mean as it fairly simple. Help with some best practices and thooughts.
I found the site very confusing!
At first glance it doesn’t look like a buying/selling site, just a tangle of content, dark and forboding.
Navigation is hidden away bottom right, hard to find
The floating social media icons are distracting
No easily visible facility to search/filter
Why is an “Edit profile” link visible when I’m not logged in (ditto for other member links)
As it’s essentially a “classified ads” site I’d suggest revamping the presentation more akin to that sort of site.
The main Navigation is one the right side. They didn’t want to be like every other classified ad site. They wanted a look more polished and the darker due to the horse world colors. Where would you suggest putting the login links?
Rather than the “Welcome” heading, you need a little intro to explain crisply what the site is for and links to key features. The current design forces visitors to try to work out what it’s for and what to do, and most people will not bother but just move on. The traditional menu across the top may seem boring, but when it’s missing, one realises how useful it is!
I wouldn’t have guessed that was a navigation section, TBH. It really doesn’t stand out as such. It’s kind of lost in the blackness and the difficult contrasts with background images etc.
Personally, I find white text on a black background unreadable, too. I’d say at least lighten the dark colors if possible.
While changing the menu structure is a good idea IMHO, that won’t get more people to the site, but it will help those who come stay around a bit longer. Getting people to visit at all is a different topic altogether—a more marketing-related issue.
While right navigation works for things like blogs the site isn’t a blog. There’s a reason why many classifieds site “look like they do” because over time designers have found out the optimal way of presenting things like navigation and content. You don’t have to follow these general methods but if you want the site to work for its visitors then navigation is critical.
If it were my site I’d have key top task links at the top of the page as the main navigation, such as Browse, Submit, key service pages and so on, plus a login button/link and search box in a prominent position. Account related links (eg edit listing) you don’t really need to show until the customer has logged in. Other lower value links like “About” put in the footer.
If they want to make changes to their site in order for more people to visit (for the first time), it sounds to me like they need to think about SEO, in addition to UX.
One easy win would be to have landing pages for “buy a horse” and “sell a horse”, then link to those in the sidebar menu. Those pages should be optimised for Google, as should the home page.
There’s three issues here, finding your way around – not easy, design - that’s an ugly site! (I’m hoping you didn’t design it, seems not), it would put me right off even if I was interested in what they have, it doesn’t make you want to stay, difficult to read small serif fonts don’t help, and then thirdly time, launched on the 19th of December is why hardly anyone is going to the site. Major SEO needed, and content and/or some other form of advertising if they want results sooner rather than later.
As for navigation, I would expect it to be at the top or top of the right-hand side, the names of the links aren’t obvious to me, why is the word “Account” floating there? I don’t have or want an account so I ignored those links which I then realised aer possibly the most useful ones.
You seem to be talking about two different things…
1.) Site Traffic
2.) Site Usability
Does this site have any kind of “metrics” add-on? For example, can you/they track…
- Number of visitors
- Where people are coming from
- What pages they visit
- Time spent on a given page
- Time spent on site in total
If the problem is no one is visiting the site, then it is not an issue of the site’s design. It is a marketing issue.
If the problem is no one stays on the site or ever returns, then it is a web design and web content issue.
Nothing personal to whoever created that site, but it is UGLY and has horrible content.
Ralph was right in implying, “Get to the point and make me want to stay” when people land on the home page.
Nobody wants to navigate an ugly site, with hard-to-read font, and boring content.
So, what is the real issue?
Nobody visits the site, or nobody stays or returns?
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