The Internet is a treasure trove of free tools, add-ons, widgets, themes, and other great plug-ins that can do a number of amazing things to your blog or website. If you use a content management system (CMS) or blogging platform like WordPress, installing themes and plug-ins only takes a couple of mouse clicks.
While a few plug-ins and add-ons can give your site the extra functionality it needs to really pop, don’t over do it. The more bells and whistles your vistors have to scroll through or click past to get to the content they’re looking for, the less likely they are to come back.
Don’t harass your vistors with tons of ads and plug-ins that crowd the top portion of your site. Don’t overly distract readers from your content with a sidebar clogged full of widgets that flash every affiliate program known to man. There’s nothing wrong with a few blocks of advertising. But when your site looks like the classifieds to a trade magazine, that’s a problem.
Keep a nice clean header with easy to follow navigation links. Use your sidebar to introduce yourself to new vistors, provide links to other content on your site, and display your social media links so vistors can connect with you. Keep it simple and let your message shine through.
Think of it like going to the electronics store to buy a new mouse. You know what mouse you want. You just want to buy it and get out. You don’t want to be bothered by three different employees all trying to sell you a mouse that costs three times as much. When you finally get to the check out the cashier wants your phone number to put in their system, then badgers you to sign up for a store brand credit card. Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more of a hassle the cashier wants you to buy the 2-year replacement plan for your mouse.
How likely are you to shop there anytime soon? Not very, unless they’re the only place nearby that has what you want in stock. When customers have to wade through all of your widgets and advertisements to get to the content they originally came for, you’re giving them the high-pressure electronics store treatment.
Don’t chase away your traffic by making visitors work to get to your content. Keep it simple and let your content stand out.