This is the third in a series of blog posts based on the “5 Website Improvements to Make in 5 Minutes (or Less)” I co-presented with Maggie McGary at the ASAE Membership, Marketing and Communications Conference in June 2014. Each of these posts will cover one of the elements we discussed in more detail and today’s topic is adding relevant links to other pages in your association’s website. To get a sneak peek of future posts, view the slides from our session on Slideshare.
Everyone struggles on a daily basis to find the best possible solution for each situation in the least amount of time. Whether looking for training, dealing with technical issues or just trying to keep up with a growing information tsunami, web searchers often find themselves going for the “satisfice” option when it comes to linking.
What is “satisfice?"
Satisfice is a combination of “satisfying” and “suffice” – which is exactly what happens when web users don't choose the best option but instead choose the first reasonable option that they come across (much like trying to choose a box of cereal among all the choices that are out there).
Why do they do this? Usually, for two reasons:
- They're in a hurry (“Hmm.... this looks about right.”)
- There’s a low penalty for guessing wrong (“I can always hit the back button.”)
Curb Satisficing with an “Off Ramp” of Relevant Links
However, isn't it better to put in a little more effort and go for the best user experience rather than simply settling for the “satisfice”?
That’s why it pays to go for the highest quality you can when placing links in your association website. The reality is you can achieve better results for your members and website users with a little more strategy and thinking about the content on your site.
Easy Ways to Add Relevant Links in your Content
The key to providing that “off ramp” is to consistently add links to other pages in your site (or even other industry sites) that help your association's members and site users know were to go and then click on the highest value links. Here are three easy ways to do that:
- Use in-line HTML hyperlinks within the content on the page (much like the one earlier in this sentence). The key is that you don't want to link pages to poor-quality because it's a quick fix. Be sure to link to quality, relevant pages within your association website, which users will be glad to follow.
- Recommended/Related content links are another fantastic way to drive traffic to high-profile, high-priority pages in your site by providing a series of links based on the content on the page. Whether directing users to news articles, sending them to a specific blog post or linking to training opportunities, recommended or related links lead your members to the other key areas of your association's website that they might not know to visit.
- “Trending” content links help members (and non-members) quickly identify the most popular topics in your industry or for your organization. It’s a good opportunity to connect the casual site visitor with a collection of content (e.g. blog posts, articles, releases, documents, etc.) about important topics.
We know that updating your content frequently has numerous benefits, and the same process should be applied to your links. Don't let them stagnate – make sure you know the linked pages (or external sites if you linked there) are still relevant and worthy of the link. For each new piece of content you upload, try to add relevant links to dependable pages and sites for best results.
Association website users satsifice - just like picking out cereal at the grocery store.
(Photo credit: Flickr/Ben McLeod)