Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What makes your readers click through?

Reading the Newsweek article about a study on how being right handed or left handed affect our decision making process had me thinking about placing buttons and links on a website so people click. There is a reason why people click on certain links and not others. Take a moment and think of those annoying pop-up ads. Have you ever clicked them by accident then realize a moment later and go, "DOH!" -- that's when your brain automatically takes over because you're so used to clicking certain messages on your computer. Of course, the word that you're linking counts, too. Read this Copyblogger post to know more about that.

When I took over the newsletter department for a job, increasing clicks was one of the biggest challenges. I had been managing blogs and knew nothing about email marketing. Our boss wanted a huge increase in clicks, my immediate boss, a veteran in the industry thought it was near impossible. Both of our jobs were on the line. I had a theory that colors played an important role in click psychology, not just words. For the demographic I was working with it was easy to know what colors will get most amount of clicks, all I had to do was look at magazines like Martha Stewart Living. Proving my theory to both my bosses was another challenge. Working with a legacy template, I had to literally cajole tech to track individual links so we knew what each link was doing. Or else we would be flying blind for any changes done to the template, no matter how subtle it seems to the end user. I went under the radar, hand coded each newsletter, stripped legacy junk coding that got the email stuck in filters. Sometimes you have to fly under radar to get the job done.

Once the figures came in though everyone was happy. Clicks increased, some weeks better than others but it was an upward slope. Eye balls and clicks means dollar signs in Internet marketing. Your content writer or web editor should be aware of what's going to bring in clicks and more visitors whether you're writing a web copy, email copy, or a simple blogpost. And if they make it work, they can not just recover the cost of your email marketing operations but can literally float their own salaries.

Same thing goes with social media buttons, where are you placing them so that you get more tweets, bookmarks, and eventually more traffic? Is it on the right hand side or left hand side? Bottom of the post or the top, or both? Are the colors, font, and images recognizable or is it becoming noise to the reader? Think carefully but don't put buttons everywhere and over do it. Sometimes too many buttons and too many ads can be a turn off.

Photo by: Jared

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