Turkeys are wonderful stuffed. Ecommerce websites are not good stuffed, and not just because you can’t eat them. You can stuff a website with virtual goodness (a.k.a. content), but too much of a good thing is still–well–too much, even for a website.
Recently we’ve been looking at what makes ecommerce site content exceptional–for both static and dynamic/interactive varieties. We even took a look at what makes ecommerce site content bad. Now we’re going to take a look at how much content is too much content.
“Is there such a thing as too much content on my ecommerce site?” you ask.
Not usually–but sometimes. As you know, exceptional content is useful to the customer as well as to the search engine crawler, but sometimes, enough is enough.
Consider the following sites. (Note: URLs are not provided for any of the following examples and as much identifying information has been removed as possible as my intent is not to mock or point fingers, but provide illustrations that there are limits to the amount of content a website can successfully hold.)
Here’s the first site:
To be honest, I can’t even recall how I stumbled on to this site. Whatever I was doing when I landed on this home page dissolved into a stunned mist. There’s a LOT going on here: a multitude of languages, a host of images and graphics and no clear organizational structure. I went further into the site, half expecting the whole thing to be a joke or a demonstration of some sort. But no…this appears to be legitimate business (and I called the phone number to be sure). Here is a sale page:
Still a lot going on, even though there are fewer links. Here is another page I found that is clearly an online business, from an unrelated site:
This one follows more of the ecommerce site “norms”–the navigational structure is clearly laid out and your eyes have a sense of where to go, but there is still alot going on. My eyes sort of get lost in all the widgets and logos. Here’s another page from the same site:
The amount of copy on this page, plus the frequent changes in font color have me not knowing where to look. While there are lots of links on the page, I don’t instinctively know what to do next. I clicked on a random link and was taken to this page:
I am not sure where to look first on this page, and while I would wager that all of the information on the page is important, I don’t have a clear sense of the call to action. As a user, what am I supposed to do next? When I clicked on the image of one of the products, I was taken to this page:
And then there was nothing. Nothing but a price and a picture.
Apparently, there is a fine line between too much content and not enough. On this page, I would expect to find a lushly written product description that would leave me tasting the coffee or a beauty shot of product, but instead this page is surprisingly bare in comparison to the previous pages. A definite plus? The call to action is clear and the button is prominently displayed.
So, what does this have to do with your ecommerce site? Remember:
- Sometimes more content is not the best choice.
- The more content you have on a site, the more critical a consistent and clearly laid out navigational structure becomes.
- Focus on one topic per page–one product, one idea. This will result in more pages, but will make your site easier to navigate and digest.
- Your site design should drive the visitor to the most important content on the page and direct the visitor where to look next.
- Clearly state your call to action. There should be no question as to the answer to “what should I do next?” Lead your visitor down the sales path.
- Question all content that you intend to add to your site. What will this content do for the user that is different than the content already on the site?
- “White space” is just as important in the design of your site as the content. Make sure your white space enhances and calls attention to your content.