Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don't do it! How to avoid link soup & ice cream bars.

Ever go to the grocery store when you're hungry? If you're like me, you wind up spending a fortune and taking home more food than you can eat, plus not fewer than three calorie-laden impulse-buy snacks.

Basically, you want it all.

Your only choice, as you careen out of the parking lot with your trunkful of groceries, is to snarf down the chocolate, go home, and flounder around in misery because you still don't have anything for dinner.*

Guess who else wants it all? 

Results-starved marketing managers. Look, when you're hungry, stay away from the grocery store.** When you're desperate for results, stay away from writing creative briefs for landing pages. Stay away from evaluating first-round landing page designs. Stay away from the phrase "can we add a link here?" Avoid that phrase like the plague.

Just as it's not particularly helpful, when you just need one simple meal, to have a trunk full of Trader Joe's Bite-Size Everything Crackers and the family-pack of ribs and two whole chickens and a dozen pears and a watermelon and a mini-wheel of Président Brie and some Haagen-Das bars, it's likewise not real helpful to wind up with a landing page containing half a dozen links.

You want results, but users want to know what to do. When faced with buttons here, buttons there, and a few text links thrown in "just in case they want to register for the site right now," they're likely to panic.

Users do not want link soup. They want one single, perfect, delicious link to click. Do yourself a favor and give it to them.

*P.S. You also forgot the coffee and your spouse is going to be pissed.

**Check out The Oatmeal's cartoon about the "minor differences" between grocery shopping when full and grocery shopping when hungry.