I know that this sounds counter-intuitive, especially given the extremely sound advice that search engine and marketing experts have been saying about how the more links you have the better.
The thing is, the links they’re talking about are known as “Inbound Links”. These are the links that point to your site from other domains and it’s absolutely true that with few exceptions, the rule of “more is better” applies.
This is not even close to the case when it comes to links from one part of your site to another. Think of your website as a journey. Potential customers arrive at some part of your site and what you want to do is make it as easy as possible for them to reach the sales page and the point at which the are converted into paying customers.
The harder it is for them to make this trip, the more of them will drop out of the trip and go somewhere else. When you have too many links the clear path to the sales page becomes muddled and littered with distractions that will cost you conversions. The same can be said for links that lead off of your site. If you’re seling blue widgets, then you will probably want to reconsider a link off site to a discount furniture site because it’s not something that’s going to make it easier for your customer to see the path to the checkout.
You want to design your site navigation so that it’s as easy as possible for them to learn as much as they need to about your product and proceed to the sales page.
Make sure that the only easily visible links are the ones that return to the home page or to a sales page.
Every link that doesn’t help a visitor make progress towards completing a sale is a potential leak that you need to seriously consider removing immediately.
Technorati Tags: distractions, linking strategies, sound advice, checkout, clear sales path, path to sales, landing page design, off site links, on site links, inbound links, landing pages, exceptions, search engine, conversions, marketing
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