July 14, 2009
Its okay to let people leave your website. Seriously, they’ll find their way back via search, bookmarks, or links if you have anything at worthwhile to offer. Link out to other useful/entertaining sites, news articles, social media profiles, or what have you, and trust that your customers are capable of remembering your brand and returning of their own free will.
To people who think of their audience as sheep who must be herded into purchasing, I’d like to ask you a question. Do you seriously have that low of an opinion about your customers? Common usability considerations aside, why are you catering to the lowest common denominator?
There are a host of reasons why people leave websites, but most of them boil down too is that they can’t figure out what the site is all about (communication fail), that something doesn’t work (usability fail), or that they are bored (engagement fail). The first two are simple to avoid with proper design, communication, and optimization. The last one is a little bit trickier.
Hat tip to Hugh MacLeod and this cartoon.