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Page Preview: Looking Good Before People Even Get to Your Website
21 October 2010
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Page Previews and Website TrafficIf your website is unappealing in a thumbnail view, people might ignore your site before they even click on a link to it. But with an effective preview of your site, you have an opportunity to increase your website traffic and the dollars that the traffic generates.

How good does your website look in miniature? That may seem like a silly question, but it’s an important one to consider. Why? Well, a few years ago, Ask.com started showing “previews” of websites, and now it looks like Google is about to do the same thing.

In the past, people used the “bounce rate”—which measures the percentage of people who leave your site after viewing just one page—to get a sense of how visitors reacted to their websites. If you have Google Analytics (a free tool) installed on your site, you can determine the bounce rate for your website overall or for a specific page on it.

Based on the bounce rate information, you can make changes to your website, in hopes that you entice visitors to spend more time on your site and thus increase the profitability from your site traffic. In the same way that people are more likely to buy something when they spend more time in a retail store, their presence—and their wandering around—in an online store is a pretty good indication that they’re invested in the buying process.

Unlike with the bounce rate scenario, however, people might completely bypass a visit to your website when they see a miniature version of it, because many of the elements that need improvement become strikingly apparent.

So what factors should you consider when it comes to a page preview? Let’s look at three of them:

  1. If you sell products on your website, you might need to use a larger image of your top product to gain a person’s attention.
  2. If you sell branded items, you might want to check with the brand owner to see if you can use a trademarked image.
  3. For websites in general, the need for more effective colors and fewer gradients may become obvious, especially if a shrunken version of your site doesn’t appear to be crisp.

To see how compelling your site pages look when they’re reduced in size, you can take screenshots of your pages and then reduce the size of the screenshots. If you have Microsoft® Word installed, for example, you can screenshot a page by pressing the “Prt Scr” button (to the right of the F12 key on most keyboards) and then “pasting” the screenshot in a Word document. From there, you can click on the image and change its size to approximate what a page preview would look like.

When it comes to your website design, it’s important not to underestimate the impact of a page preview. Just a few years ago, people were willing to spend more time window shopping by physically visiting a number of sites listed in search results. Today, however, they’re more likely to stay on a search engine until their desired results appear.

It’s also important to note that for every 100 searches on your site’s keywords, only a handful of people are going to end up coming to your site, even if you have the #1 ranking for a particular phrase. So as a business owner, you can take advantage of the impact of page previews by making sure that your website stands out.


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