Dead Ends: Web Pages Without Pictures

Kerry Wall says: “My colleague just came back from your seminar in AZ and informed us that we Havelock too many split-ends on our site. Huh?”

Kerry, “huh” is right. 
Not sure exactly what a split-end is from a web perspective but I do know that I spent some time discussing “dead ends.” Considering your colleague’s, er, fanciful attention span (read: that of a flea) and your site, I think she was probably referring to DEAD ENDS.
Users see things in pictures, not in text.  So, when your page doesn’t have any sort of photo, graphic, or visual, it’s a dead-end.
SEO’s (THEY ALL MUST DIE!) often destroy websites, like yours, by adding pages and pages of random, non-sensical text; linking to everything under the sun; taking away all the navigation because they say it’s not useful (to whom?  Rat finks.); and committing other such atrocities.    
If you have a good SEO (one of the three on the planet), their strategies will work TO BRING IN TRAFFIC.
Unfortunately, the boatloads of traffic don’t necessarily equate to anything but, well, traffic.
If you want sales — you know, MONEY – your site needs to have just the right balance of all the stuff your SEO wants AND more important (yes, I said MORE important), all the stuff that the user wants.
What does that mean exactly?

  • Users see things as views, not as pages. So, when you’re SELLING* something, EVERY view needs its own picture/graphic AS WELL AS the relevant next action buttons. (Yes, buttons NOT just links.)
  • After the first page of your site, the user typically looks down the middle of the page to make their decisions.  It’s critical to have photos/graphics in this area.
  • If you have an ecommerce site, multiple visuals really do make quite a bit of difference.  Look at an eBags product page for a good example of how to use multiple visuals.  (By the way, the whole zoom-in-zoom-out thing does not count as a multiple visual.)  If you don’t have an ecommerce site, do you still need pictures?  I am afraid so.  (Yes, I know.  It’s not easy.)

By the way, feed that girl a cookie.  She might be a little nicer if she actually ate this novel thing called FOOD every so often.
* Everyone SELLS something online.  Even if you are collecting e-mail addresses, getting someone to sign-up for a podcast, or gathering information for a quote/RFP.  The reason why it’s all SELLING is because there is a market value to every transaction that occurs online.  If you want my e-mail address, you have to give me something of value in return.  Even if no money changes hands, it’s still a “sale” from the user’s perspective.

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