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Tips To Decrease The Bounce Rate


Ahsaniqbalkmc

Lately, I was reading a newsletter about potential use of bounce rate values by Google to reorder the SERPs. A very beautiful illustration was quoted in the newsletter, in which the author asked to imagine the readers to be in a position where they are given the job to rank pages for a search query. He said, if you find two websites getting the same number of clicks in the search results, but users tend to return from siteA back to search results, however, they don't return from siteB to search results, which one should be ranked higher?. Obviously site B should be ranked higher than site A. Although google has a huge asset in the form of Google analytics, to see these values for almost all website, Matt Cutts has clearly said that currently Google is not taking this into account. However, Google's panda update suggests that it would not be long before bounce rate values will be taken into account for calculating the SERP.The bounce rate of pages of my website is on a higher side. I know that the main reason for high bounce rate is the niche to which my website belongs. In such niches, people tend to look only for certain type of knowledge and don't view related pages. But I still want to know the tips or minor adjustments that I can make to my pages to decrease the bounce rate.


evought

The bounce rate of pages of my website is on a higher side. I know that the main reason for high bounce rate is the niche to which my website belongs. In such niches, people tend to look only for certain type of knowledge and don't view related pages. But I still want to know the tips or minor adjustments that I can make to my pages to decrease the bounce rate.

One way is to have good navigation aids prominent on the page. If your page contains, as you say, quite specific information, maybe too specific for the search which brought the reader there, letting them easily navigate back up to the general topic or to closely related topics may keep them within the site instead of bouncing back to the Google (or other engine) search page.

 

I know I have this problem with some of my technically oriented content. Pages From An Ozark Herbal ( http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ ) is a prime example--- when a reader comes into the page for a specific plant from a search engine, they often do not get the frames-based navigation. Conversely, if they navigate to a page through the frames, it is hard to bookmark the specific page. So, yes, high bounce-back rates. In this case, it is a limitation of the tool I used to create the content and export it as HTML, so I am working on changing toolsets and doing a version which will be better organized in HTML, PDF, and print versions partly to reconcile this. So take that site as an example of what not to do.

 

The new version will be done with LyX 2.x which will then generate the different formats and do all the cross-linking. I have also worked with DocBook XML ( http://docbook.org/ ) for this kind of thing, but the DocBook tool chains either tend to be very buggy or very expensive, sometimes both (e.g. Oxygen - http://www.oxygenxml.com/xml_editor/docbook_editor.html - mainly problems with bad stylesheets). LyX ( http://www.lyx.org/ ) is a free and fairly stable LaTeX-based toolchain, runs on Mac/Linux/Windows, and they are redoing and improving their HTML export in their recent releases. In a setup like that, you essentially write your content as a book and create the website from that, adding semantic information like cross references, glossary definitions, index topics, and so forth. You can see a preview of what the new ebook/printed version looks like at https://www.scribd.com/doc/51838055/Pages-From-An-Ozark-Herbal-2nd-Edition-Draft . I would be happy to show people the LyX source so they can see how it is put together to help them with their own document production. Hopefully I will have a snapshot of the new HTML up in the next week or so.

 

If you have the option. just using a simple server-side include with navigation links in each page would help and you can do that in most hosting setups with simple PHP. That will let you improve the site quickly while looking for a long-term solution.


mahesh2k

How much is your bounce rate ? if it is less than 90% then you don';t have to worry about because google adsense clicks are likely to be cause of this high bounce rate. But if your bounce rate is more than 90% then chances are there that you're getting less clicks as well as exits are high. I don't know what to do in case of 90+ bounce rate. But as far as my observation goes, design change and more navigable interface helps to reduce this bounce rate. You can also verify with other users if they find it less boring to navigate your website, if the do then surely that is one good signal that your bounce rate will be balanced soon. As for bounce rate between 50-90, it is normal bounce rate if you're running too many ads on your site. Because of ads many web surfers exit the site. So keep the ads minimum and see if tht helps. Avoid placing ad banners (bad idea for monetization) on annoying areas to see if it helps bounce rate. I don't know your CTR and ecpm(which supposed to be not revealed in public) and that's why i can't suggest you anything on that front. I know you can make changes based on the data given in this reply. Let me know if my suggestions help in any way.


Ahsaniqbalkmc

One way is to have good navigation aids prominent on the page. If your page contains, as you say, quite specific information, maybe too specific for the search which brought the reader there, letting them easily navigate back up to the general topic or to closely related topics may keep them within the site instead of bouncing back to the Google (or other engine) search page.
If you have the option. just using a simple server-side include with navigation links in each page would help and you can do that in most hosting setups with simple PHP. That will let you improve the site quickly while looking for a long-term solution.

Well, I am using wordpress and as you know, it is a very popular CMS which keeps the style and content separate from one another. The navigational links, are a part of the style of the page and are repeated on every page. Thus I can rightfully say that I am not having a high bounce rate because the navigational menus are not present or are not visible. In my opinion, there are two possible causes of this high bounce rate. One, that I am using a good number of ads so people who find it annoying, bounce back to search engine results. The other is that because the information is very very specific, there are very little chances that a person looking for a specific bit of knowledge is going to click any other link in the navigational menu.
May be making the navigational menu more prominent helps a bit but I don't think it will drop the bounce rate by more than 3-4%. I need to know the root cause.

Ahsaniqbalkmc

How much is your bounce rate ? if it is less than 90% then you don';t have to worry about because google adsense clicks are likely to be cause of this high bounce rate. But if your bounce rate is more than 90% then chances are there that you're getting less clicks as well as exits are high. I don't know what to do in case of 90+ bounce rate. But as far as my observation goes, design change and more navigable interface helps to reduce this bounce rate. You can also verify with other users if they find it less boring to navigate your website, if the do then surely that is one good signal that your bounce rate will be balanced soon.
As for bounce rate between 50-90, it is normal bounce rate if you're running too many ads on your site. Because of ads many web surfers exit the site. So keep the ads minimum and see if tht helps. Avoid placing ad banners (bad idea for monetization) on annoying areas to see if it helps bounce rate. I don't know your CTR and ecpm(which supposed to be not revealed in public) and that's why i can't suggest you anything on that front. I know you can make changes based on the data given in this reply. Let me know if my suggestions help in any way.

The actual bounce rate of my website in the previous month was 76%. According to your discussion, this must be a good number, however, when I search on the internet for looking about average bounce rates of normal website, i find that 76% is a very high value. It should be about 65% at most. That is why I have a little concern about it.
I am displaying a number of adsense units. This might be one cause of high CTR values and most likely if I remove the ads altogether, I might be able to get a bounce rate of around 60%. But the main goal of my website is to earn revenue from google adsense. Therefore I have to find a way to make the bounce rate as low as possible with my site displaying adsense ads.
You mentioned that boring navigational menus can be a cause of it. I don't understand what is a boring navigational menu. Every navigational menu must contain lots of links. It can't contain videos or images to make it entertaining. So what actually do you mean by a boring nav menu.

evought

I am displaying a number of adsense units. This might be one cause of high CTR values and most likely if I remove the ads altogether, I might be able to get a bounce rate of around 60%. But the main goal of my website is to earn revenue from google adsense. Therefore I have to find a way to make the bounce rate as low as possible with my site displaying adsense ads.

It might be worth removing the ads for several days to gather statistics, though. It will at least give you an idea whether you have room to improve elsewhere. Then you can figure out whether you need to make adjustments to your main content or better target your ads. One of the things which makes me click away from pages without even reading them is if the ads cause the page to load very slowly. I have satellite, though, so my link is temperamental--- High bandwidth but very high latency; takes awhile to establish lots of connections for individual content elements and for certain communication-intensive scripts to run. Either that or I run with NoScript and a lot of the ads simply do not display.

Ahsaniqbalkmc

It might be worth removing the ads for several days to gather statistics, though. It will at least give you an idea whether you have room to improve elsewhere. Then you can figure out whether you need to make adjustments to your main content or better target your ads.

That sounds really nice. However, I will try this only as the last option because currently I am in some sort of financial crisis and don't want to loose even a single penny. Once I make all other things clear that can possibly cause a high bounce rate, I will try removing the ads for a few days only if I haven't achieved my goals.

One of the things which makes me click away from pages without even reading them is if the ads cause the page to load very slowly. I have satellite, though, so my link is temperamental--- High bandwidth but very high latency; takes awhile to establish lots of connections for individual content elements and for certain communication-intensive scripts to run. Either that or I run with NoScript and a lot of the ads simply do not display.

In my opinion, most of the people try to gain knowledge. They are even willing to work hard for it if it is not easily available. If you need to learn something that can benefit you, there is no reason you won't spend a good amount of time looking for it. I am sharing my personal experience with you. Sometimes when I really need to know something and especially when that something is not very popular, I spend huge amount of time looking for it in the websites. In the process I visit websites that are not designed to be very user friendly, but I spend a good 4-5 minutes on it to look what I am looking for.The main power behind users looking for content is their own need. No matter how luxurious your website is or how easy you make for users to move through your website, if they don't need to look for something, they simply won't visit the website. For the same reason, websites, which target very specific content on every page tend to get a higher bounce rate. The reason is that all other content presented in well designed navigational menus is not what the user is looking for and he simply would go back after getting what he came for.

imjjss

I don't know the technics, I can only speak from a user's experience.When I open a web page, if I see lots of ads, or it doesn't show the contents that showed on search results, I immediately close it and go somewhere else.If a web page has lots of stuffs crowded, I lost patience and leave. Most of sites that keep me digging through are those who offer clear idea about what's in this page. The are mostly simple, and normally provide a noticable button for me to click, and this botton is most related to what I am searching for.To guide user click through, you may try a test. Imagine that the user come to do a task. The task has several steps. Each step is one click on your site, so, after serveral clicks, the user will complete the task. So, try to design your nav system to guide the user to the final thing he wants.


mahesh2k

You mentioned that boring navigational menus can be a cause of it. I don't understand what is a boring navigational menu. Every navigational menu must contain lots of links. It can't contain videos or images to make it entertaining. So what actually do you mean by a boring nav menu.

Navigational menus which are less accessible are likely to cause that effect. Oh and wordpress does allow you to add images and videos on your navigational menu. It's just that we don't use it to make site more simple. Most of the sites are also not worth to implement that idea. If navigation menu has enough links to let user access whole site or some important areas then it's fine. Some navigational menu also contain outgoing links, so there are chances that it causes bounce rate as well.
In your case the menus are simple so i don't think this the reason behind the bounce rate. I know that there are some texts on bounce rate that explains about 60% value. But in case of ads on site, 90% value is also fine because some good ads convert well. But anything above 90% is pure leak and is sign of visitor dropping. Your site seems to be doing good (which is again really good thing) and you don't have to worry about this bounce rate anymore.

Ahsaniqbalkmc

Navigational menus which are less accessible are likely to cause that effect. Oh and wordpress does allow you to add images and videos on your navigational menu. It's just that we don't use it to make site more simple. Most of the sites are also not worth to implement that idea. If navigation menu has enough links to let user access whole site or some important areas then it's fine. Some navigational menu also contain outgoing links, so there are chances that it causes bounce rate as well.
In your case the menus are simple so i don't think this the reason behind the bounce rate. I know that there are some texts on bounce rate that explains about 60% value. But in case of ads on site, 90% value is also fine because some good ads convert well. But anything above 90% is pure leak and is sign of visitor dropping. Your site seems to be doing good (which is again really good thing) and you don't have to worry about this bounce rate anymore.

So if Google or any other search engine starts taking bounce rate into account, then according to our discussion, my site will be in a more positive position than current. Do you want to say this? If so, it is very good news for me. However, since you have been helping me from the very starts, I would like to take your suggestions on decreasing the bounce rate. You mentioned that the navigation is clean enough to not cause any bounces but what about some drop down menus. I read a lot of articles quoting drop down menus as a "no no" stuff. It was mentioned at a lot of places that search engines don't like pages having links cluttered at one place (a necessary effect created when CSS is used to manufacture drop down menus). What are your thoughts about it. Do you feel the same or you have to say something else.
I think that with the addition of drop down menus, the users will have more choices to make and thus potentially it can decrease the bounce rate. I would quote an illustration here. The page "body-systems" of my website has 12 children including "skeletal-system", "muscular-system", "nervous-system" etc. Each of these pages has numerous other children. For example the skeletal system has children: arm bone, leg bone, hand bones etc and muscular system has children biceps, triceps quadriceps etc. Now if you are on the page "leg-bone" which is a child of "skeletal-system" and you want to study the "quadriceps" muscle, you will have to click at least three times that is you will have to go through at least three intermediate pages. This is a major problem in my site design. The only I idea I can think of to reduce the number of clicks required to go to target pages is CSS drop down menus. However, I am reluctant to implement them into my website because I have heard alot about them being NOT very SEO friendly.
The javascript menus are also stated as not SEO friendly by many bloggers. So what do you think I should do.

evought

I think that with the addition of drop down menus, the users will have more choices to make and thus potentially it can decrease the bounce rate.

It can, if they see where they want to go more quickly than they can hit the "back" button. So there has to be a balance between enough links to go where they want and not too many that it becomes cluttered.

 

I would quote an illustration here. The page "body-systems" of my website has 12 children including "skeletal-system", "muscular-system", "nervous-system" etc. Each of these pages has numerous other children. For example the skeletal system has children: arm bone, leg bone, hand bones etc and muscular system has children biceps, triceps quadriceps etc. Now if you are on the page "leg-bone" which is a child of "skeletal-system" and you want to study the "quadriceps" muscle, you will have to click at least three times that is you will have to go through at least three intermediate pages. This is a major problem in my site design. The only I idea I can think of to reduce the number of clicks required to go to target pages is CSS drop down menus. However, I am reluctant to implement them into my website because I have heard alot about them being NOT very SEO friendly.

The javascript menus are also stated as not SEO friendly by many bloggers. So what do you think I should do.

CSS menus and especially Javascript menus are not necessarily SEO-friendly, no, but neither is any other alternative, really. There are at least several other alternatives for the kind of navigation you are talking about, each with their own problems:

 

1) Have a "Site Map" page with all of the links expanded or possibly with an image-map in your case. That means any page is at most two clicks away. I would work very hard to make that page accessible and convenient, with text links (possibly a CSS drop down that will fail gracefully if CSS isn't doing what it should) to back up the image map and careful use of alt attributes and such to let screen-readers and so forth work well. I would probably do this regardless and use a "rel" tag to tie it to the main page (for the handful of browsers that know what to do with it) and so spiders know what it is for. Just explode your "Quick Navigation" menu or something.

 

2) Do a TOC in a separate frame, pane, or inclusion. This is not SEO-friendly either and causes problems with bookmarking, etc. Frames are a real problem (again, look at the Ozark Herbal site I inked to as an example of what not to do). HTML5 is providing some better ways to do this and to tell search-engines/browsers what it is for so they can process it properly... but HTML5 support is not yet universal either in spiders or browsers. Quite a few spiders have some idea what to do with rel tags at least to the point of being able to ignore external content they do not care about, so if the links are all in another page they can ignore there are potential advantages there.

 

3) Put more of your text content into single pages with anchors for the sections. This replaces cross-page navigation with internal page navigation. You can put a lot of text in an html file without increasing its size and download-time markedly. I am playing with a new version of the Herbal where almost all of it is in one file. Then the problem is to reduce the size of the images which are initially loaded. You can do this with thumbnails (with CSS overlays if the browser supports it), with incremental JPGs, or other tricks, all of which the search engine will just ignore. You actually have a lot of text and detail outside of the diagrams, so you might be able to remove a level of HTML-chunking and still do well. Good internal cross-references are a must to avoid scrolling all over, but if someone is navigating within the local structure, it will speed up page loads significantly. It will also allow quick browser-searches within more content.

 

4) A combination of #1 and #2, letting CSS or HTML5 tricks display the site map for browsers that can do it properly and single-layer fallback/noscript links in the pages themselves (in case it does not work). Search engines should just ignore it.

 

 

Your site has a lot of rich technical content that an interested reader might want to sit and sift through. Something else you might seriously consider is presenting a PDF-download option so that people can go through it locally either on screen or on the increasingly-popular e-readers. That then gives them bookmarking, navigation, faster following of internal links, etc. Let people access the advertising-supported online content or pay for an ebook. You can either set something up to take payment and allow download or use something like scribd ( https://www.scribd.com/ ) to do it for you (you can either post content free or charge-to-view/download and the preview is customizable). That is the direction I am trying to go with the 2nd edition of my Herbal (very similar highly-technical content), so take a look at how Scribd allows people to preview mine: https://www.scribd.com/doc/51838055/Pages-From-An-Ozark-Herbal-2nd-Edition-Draft . Constructive feedback is appreciated as well. Calibre ( calibre-ebook.com ) is a free book-organizer/e-reader application which has built-in conversion from website-to-ebook. I find it either works really well or not at all depending on the website, and it costs you very little to see what yours looks like as an epub (free format supported by most portable readers).

 

LyX ( http://www.lyx.org/ ) also has some html-import capability (same thing: either works or it doesn't) and can then produce e-reader-friendly PDFs as output (supposedly it can be made to produce epubs but I have never figured out how--- the PDFs look nice on my Nook).

 

Anyway, hope some of that helps. I like your site and will probably go through it more at some point. We home-school, so we are always looking for in-depth educational sites and so are the folks in our organization.

 

By the way, you should probably know that, with NoScript running in default-deny mode (how I see most sites) I don't see any ads on your site at all. The navigation links and CSS work fine in Firefox 4 (OS X) but no ads are visible and no in-site search. I don't mind that, but you might :-)


Ahsaniqbalkmc

It can, if they see where they want to go more quickly than they can hit the "back" button. So there has to be a balance between enough links to go where they want and not too many that it becomes cluttered.

CSS menus and especially Javascript menus are not necessarily SEO-friendly, no, but neither is any other alternative, really. There are at least several other alternatives for the kind of navigation you are talking about, each with their own problems:

In my case, there are lots of links to be contained in the sidebar. Sometimes, the sidebar becomes even longer than the main content of the page itself, really unprofessional. So I have to find some solution for it. In my opinion the CSS dropdown menus are the best solution I can have. By using the drop down menus, the sidebar will become much shorter and in addition to the benefit of getting a professional look to my website, I will have more space for adverts. Links belonging to one category will be placed under one heading and when a user hovers his mouse over the heading, the complete list will drop down and then he can select any of it. It seems a nice idea but the SEO implications might not be very beneficial. I have read a lot of posts saying that because CSS drop down menus have to essentially clutter the links over one another, it gives a false impression of being a link farm to the search bots. I am really afraid of this and its the only thing which is keeping me from creating these menus for my website. I really care about the SEO perspective because about 80% of the traffic to my website is search traffic and this hugely depends upon the SEO factors.

1) Have a "Site Map" page with all of the links expanded or possibly with an image-map in your case. That means any page is at most two clicks away. I would work very hard to make that page accessible and convenient, with text links (possibly a CSS drop down that will fail gracefully if CSS isn't doing what it should) to back up the image map and careful use of alt attributes and such to let screen-readers and so forth work well. I would probably do this regardless and use a "rel" tag to tie it to the main page (for the handful of browsers that know what to do with it) and so spiders know what it is for. Just explode your "Quick Navigation" menu or something.

I don't get this. You say have a sitemap. I already have one. In fact everyone has a sitemap. How can I use it to simplify the navigation of my website. I think you have mistaken my explanation of the links of my websites too far from one another. When I said that to go to a target page, often three or even four clicks are required, I meant this for the users, not for the search bots. So even if I create a very expanded sitemap, which I already have, this doesn't make any difference in the user experience of my website. It will only facilitate the search bots to index my website more correctly.

I am not familiar with image maps. Please explain them to me if you can.

Also explain the statement "and use a "rel" tag to tie it to the main page". I don't get this.

2) Do a TOC in a separate frame, pane, or inclusion. This is not SEO-friendly either and causes problems with bookmarking, etc. Frames are a real problem (again, look at the Ozark Herbal site I inked to as an example of what not to do). HTML5 is providing some better ways to do this and to tell search-engines/browsers what it is for so they can process it properly... but HTML5 support is not yet universal either in spiders or browsers. Quite a few spiders have some idea what to do with rel tags at least to the point of being able to ignore external content they do not care about, so if the links are all in another page they can ignore there are potential advantages there.

Well, as I stated above, about 80% of the traffic coming to my website is from search engines, I really care about the SEO perspective. It is crystal clear that search engines don't like framed pages. So there is no way I am going to leave my current navigation and go for framed ones. And even if I go for framed pages, the problem still remains. I still have to do something to shorten the length of the sidebar because of great number of links. So that is not a solution at all.

3) Put more of your text content into single pages with anchors for the sections. This replaces cross-page navigation with internal page navigation. You can put a lot of text in an html file without increasing its size and download-time markedly. I am playing with a new version of the Herbal where almost all of it is in one file. Then the problem is to reduce the size of the images which are initially loaded. You can do this with thumbnails (with CSS overlays if the browser supports it), with incremental JPGs, or other tricks, all of which the search engine will just ignore. You actually have a lot of text and detail outside of the diagrams, so you might be able to remove a level of HTML-chunking and still do well. Good internal cross-references are a must to avoid scrolling all over, but if someone is navigating within the local structure, it will speed up page loads significantly. It will also allow quick browser-searches within more content.

Now this is something I should really care about. I have researched a lot about the impact of links exactly within the content. All the major search engines don't give much weight to recurring link patterns such as the header, sidebars and the footer. On the other hand, they do give a lot of weight to links in conspicuous positions within the content itself. Not only this has a hugely positive impact on the SEO, it also increases the Pageviews per visit of the website, which in turn increases the chances of making good revenues. This is something I should really study about but still, I can't ignore the sidebars. Although search engines don't give much weight to them, users still do. Almost all users are accustomed to navigating through the sidebars. So an effective sidebar could simply mean more pageview per user.

Your site has a lot of rich technical content that an interested reader might want to sit and sift through. Something else you might seriously consider is presenting a PDF-download option so that people can go through it locally either on screen or on the increasingly-popular e-readers. That then gives them bookmarking, navigation, faster following of internal links, etc. Let people access the advertising-supported online content or pay for an ebook. You can either set something up to take payment and allow download or use something like scribd ( https://www.scribd.com/ ) to do it for you (you can either post content free or charge-to-view/download and the preview is customizable). That is the direction I am trying to go with the 2nd edition of my Herbal (very similar highly-technical content), so take a look at how Scribd allows people to preview mine:

Anyway, hope some of that helps. I like your site and will probably go through it more at some point. We home-school, so we are always looking for in-depth educational sites and so are the folks in our organization.

Thanks for the appreciating words my friend. I am trying really hard to make my website a masterpiece. I know the content is very technical, but I can't make it private. In such case, I will have to face a lot of competition. People are already paying money to more sophisticated sites for such technical content and it may be harder for me to compete such websites. On the other hand, the websites, which provide free technical content are not of much competence and thus it is easier for me to get famous. Once I am firmly established in the field, I can think of charging people to view the technical content, but for the time being, I am not going to even think about it.

However, I would like to know more about Scribd. I have never heard about them before. So if you can, please discuss more about their service and what exactly do they do.

By the way, you should probably know that, with NoScript running in default-deny mode (how I see most sites) I don't see any ads on your site at all. The navigation links and CSS work fine in Firefox 4 (OS X) but no ads are visible and no in-site search. I don't mind that, but you might :-)

That's a bit concerning to me. Not because you are not viewing my ads, but because I don't have any technical information about what you are saying. What exactly did you mean by the statement "with NoScript" running in default-deny mode, I don't see any ads". What is NoScript and what is default deny mode. Please explain these to me because I really want to know about them.

evought

I don't get this. You say have a sitemap. I already have one. In fact everyone has a sitemap. How can I use it to simplify the navigation of my website. I think you have mistaken my explanation of the links of my websites too far from one another. When I said that to go to a target page, often three or even four clicks are required, I meant this for the users, not for the search bots. So even if I create a very expanded sitemap, which I already have, this doesn't make any difference in the user experience of my website. It will only facilitate the search bots to index my website more correctly.

When I am saying "sitemap" here, I am saying an expanded index page for the reader to navigate quickly to other parts of the website. Instead of having to go from A to B to C to D, just go from A to the index to D where the want to end up. If you have such a page on your site, I am not seeing it. But if you have that and it is easy to see, you reduce the number of links on your leaf pages. When I read complex sites like that, I usually have the map/index/trunk page open in one tab and open leaf pages in separate tabs so I don't need to keep going back and forth. Many web sites are designed around a linear route through the site. Many technical users open tabs and navigate in a more parallel fashion, the same as we would do with a book and a good index.

 

I am not familiar with image maps. Please explain them to me if you can.

An image map is an image where clicking on different parts of it go to different places. So, for instance, I have a diagram of the nervous system, can move my mouse over the brain, click, and go to the brain page. With status bar feedback, the reader can see where they are going as they hover the mouse over the image, so you can have fairly fine-grained navigation. There is a quick page on how to do it here: http://www.pageresource.com/html/imap1.htm . Notice the status bar change (in Firefox, at least) when you hover the mouse over "Tables" and "Frames" in the example at the top of the page. They are not too hard to do, but you need to test thoroughly in a couple of browsers.

 

Also explain the statement "and use a "rel" tag to tie it to the main page". I don't get this.

I should have said "rel" attribute, technically. "rel" is an attribute on the anchor (<a>) and link (<link>) tags that tells the browser (or the search engine) what the purpose of a link is. You put link tags in your page header (with the title and so forth). Example:

 

<head><title>Nervous System</title><link href="contents.html"><link href="muscular.html"><link href="respiratory.html"></head>

and...

 

<ul> <li><a href="muscular.html">Muscular System</a></li> <li><a href="nervous.html">Nervous System</a></li> <li><a href="respiratory.html">Respiratory System</a></li></ul>

The rel attribute is telling the spider what the meaning of the repeating links are so it can figure out whether to pay attention to it or not. It also allows the browser to give clues to the user (some do, some don't, slowly getting better). Some details here: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/links.html%23h-12.1.2 . As browsers get better, the result will be that the browser will create the sidebar from the link relationships instead of relying on clunky CSS; this is especially important on new devices like phones and tablets where the CSS might flat not work, anyway.

 

However, I would like to know more about Scribd. I have never heard about them before. So if you can, please discuss more about their service and what exactly do they do.

They are basically an ebook-publishing service. You can post your ebooks with them, they provide search and navigation, users can broadcast ("readcast") what they are reading or what interests them and build collections of books which they can share/recommend with others. So it provides the word-of-mouth advertising which is effective to get your work in front of people. They let you choose whether to allow readers free access or to preview and buy before reading and downloading your work. You can even control how many or what pages the reader can preview. You can also choose to use DRM to restrict their ability to copy or cut and paste from the document and so forth. I prefer not to because I think DRM just annoys customers and makes them less likely to come back and buy more.

 

When a user buys a book, it gets credited to your account minus their commission and they cut you periodic checks (minimum of $100 in your account before they start writing checks). There are several services like it now. Scribd is just, in my opinion, one of the better ones and they have a lot of readers. It would probably not be hard to put a PDF of your site up on there (or a similar service) and, if it does not sell, no loss--- you still have your web site and ad revenue.

 

That's a bit concerning to me. Not because you are not viewing my ads, but because I don't have any technical information about what you are saying. What exactly did you mean by the statement "with NoScript" running in default-deny mode, I don't see any ads". What is NoScript and what is default deny mode. Please explain these to me because I really want to know about them.

NoScript is a Firefox extension and a fairly popular one ( https://noscript.net/ ) which blocks execution of flash, javascript, silverlight, certain kinds of redirects or iframes and similar content. People use it to protect themselves from malicious scripts, particularly malicious scripts in ads. It has very sophisticated control of which scripts can run and which cannot. For instance, I can choose to allow scripts from Xisto.com but not scripts from anywhere else that this web page might load (from external content or ads). I may trust a website to not have bad content, but I don't necessarily trust everybody else they load scripts from, and I know that the webmaster cannot possibly check advertisements served to them by 3rd parties such as google. I don't mind ads, necessarily, but I don't want them executing scripts or flash---they are a serious source of malware and a source of cross-site scripting attacks. People also use NoScript to prevent cookies and scripts from being misused for tracking purposes (e.g. with GoogleAnalytics).

 

"Default deny" means that any website I have not explicitly said I trust gets no scripts or flash at all until I say otherwise. That is how most people use the tool. What this means to you is that when I go to your website from a search engine, I won't see any dynamic content at all. Only if I decide that I like your site and trust you will I turn on script support for it and if I cannot see enough without scripts to make it worth my while, I won't do it. I will often check the site's reputation with services like WOT ( https://www.mywot.com/ ) to see if they have had malware problems. There is an extension for Chrome now that does something similar to NoScript now, too. I would imagine it is going to become a standard thing over time.


Ahsaniqbalkmc

When I am saying "sitemap" here, I am saying an expanded index page for the reader to navigate quickly to other parts of the website. Instead of having to go from A to B to C to D, just go from A to the index to D where the want to end up. If you have such a page on your site, I am not seeing it. But if you have that and it is easy to see, you reduce the number of links on your leaf pages. When I read complex sites like that, I usually have the map/index/trunk page open in one tab and open leaf pages in separate tabs so I don't need to keep going back and forth. Many web sites are designed around a linear route through the site. Many technical users open tabs and navigate in a more parallel fashion, the same as we would do with a book and a good index.

So you mean that in addition to a search engine readable sitemap, I should have a user readable sitemap as well. Although creating such a sitemap shouldn't be much of a problem, but if I apply this to myself, I don't remember going through a website through its sitemap. And because I don't use it myself, I think others won't use it as well. That is the main reason why my site currently has no such sitemap.

After reading the above paragraph, I can now conclude that there are some users who do go through a website by sitemaps and I should create one because there is nothing to loose and a lot to gain. But again, I have to do something with the links in my sidebar. In the previous post you mentioned that such sitemaps can be an alternative to CSS menus. I ask how? Even if I create a very sophisticated sitemap, it still can't take the place of my sidebar and I should do something to make my sidebar more user friendly than just being a long list of links. I need your comments on that.

An image map is an image where clicking on different parts of it go to different places. So, for instance, I have a diagram of the nervous system, can move my mouse over the brain, click, and go to the brain page. With status bar feedback, the reader can see where they are going as they hover the mouse over the image, so you can have fairly fine-grained navigation. There is a quick page on how to do it here: http://www.pageresource.com/html/imap1.htm . Notice the status bar change (in Firefox, at least) when you hover the mouse over "Tables" and "Frames" in the example at the top of the page. They are not too hard to do, but you need to test thoroughly in a couple of browsers.

That sounds really nice. The image maps would be perfect for my website. I will certainly try to learn more about them and create them wherever I can.

I should have said "rel" attribute, technically. "rel" is an attribute on the anchor (<a>) and link (<link>) tags that tells the browser (or the search engine) what the purpose of a link is. You put link tags in your page header (with the title and so forth). Example:

 

<head><title>Nervous System</title><link href="contents.html"><link href="muscular.html"><link href="respiratory.html"></head>
and...

 

<ul> <li><a href="muscular.html">Muscular System</a></li> <li><a href="nervous.html">Nervous System</a></li> <li><a href="respiratory.html">Respiratory System</a></li></ul>
The rel attribute is telling the spider what the meaning of the repeating links are so it can figure out whether to pay attention to it or not. It also allows the browser to give clues to the user (some do, some don't, slowly getting better). Some details here: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/links.html%23h-12.1.2 . As browsers get better, the result will be that the browser will create the sidebar from the link relationships instead of relying on clunky CSS; this is especially important on new devices like phones and tablets where the CSS might flat not work, anyway.
So this is one way of making the menus more SEO friendly. What I got from reading the above paragraph is that by creating rel attributes for links, I will simply tell the search engines the class to which the link belongs. The available classes for me are "section", "subsection", "chapter" etc. Let me first tell you a little detail about the pages of my website. If you visit the Skeletal System of my website and see the sidebar there, you will see that it has a lot of links. The links are divided into categories like "Bones of Upper limb", "joints of upper limb", "Bones of Lower limb", "Joints of lower limb" etc. Each of these categories has its own list of links. What I can do with CSS menus is that only the categories "Bones of Upper limb", "joints of upper limb", "Bones of Lower limb", "Joints of lower limb" would be visible in the sidebar in normal state. When the user hovers his mouse over say "Bones of upper limb", the list of links containing clavicle, humerus, radius, ulna etc will drop down and user can navigate to any of them.

Now what rel attributes should I use here for the child links of main categories. Should the be "chapter" or "subsection" or "section".

They are basically an ebook-publishing service. You can post your ebooks with them, they provide search and navigation, users can broadcast ("readcast") what they are reading or what interests them and build collections of books which they can share/recommend with others. So it provides the word-of-mouth advertising which is effective to get your work in front of people. They let you choose whether to allow readers free access or to preview and buy before reading and downloading your work. You can even control how many or what pages the reader can preview. You can also choose to use DRM to restrict their ability to copy or cut and paste from the document and so forth. I prefer not to because I think DRM just annoys customers and makes them less likely to come back and buy more.

When a user buys a book, it gets credited to your account minus their commission and they cut you periodic checks (minimum of $100 in your account before they start writing checks). There are several services like it now. Scribd is just, in my opinion, one of the better ones and they have a lot of readers. It would probably not be hard to put a PDF of your site up on there (or a similar service) and, if it does not sell, no loss--- you still have your web site and ad revenue.

So you want to say that I should have a pdf version of my website for sale at scribd.com or other similar services. I seems a good enough idea but the problem is that my website is not complete yet. And in its current state, I don't think I am going to make much sales. Furthermore I have one other question. Users are very smart nowadays. To do research quite a bit before spending their money. So why would a user pay money for a pdf version of my website when it is available for free in the html format. If I were the user, I would never buy such a pdf.


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