I did a search for the origin of the phrase “buy the farm” (I’m prone to such curiosities, don’t ask why), and one of the first search results came from the site modernfarmer.com. Never heard of them, but they seemed to have the info I was looking for, so I clicked through to their content. Before I got very far below the fold, I was glad I did for three reasons.
Call me biased, but if I land on a page that looks like it was made in 1998, I’m out. Design is crucial in forming a first impression. In Modern Farmer’s case, theirs looked… well, modern, functional in its simplicity as it trained my eye where I should look without the trying to blow my away with how designed the page was. An interesting image scaled in the 16:9 ratio we can all thank the movie industry for perpetuating, a playful headline, and crucially, no distractions from the content well all contributed to a favorable first impression of a blog I’d never heard of. Which brings me to my next point:
2. No Ads
Where, oh where, are the ads on this page? Why are there no distractions from the content well? I’m convinced, no matter how imperceptible, that a direct correlation exists between our willingness to explore an unfamiliar site and the number of ads on its pages. What I do know in this instance is that the lack thereof subtlety contributed to a refreshingly engaging experience as I scrolled down the page.
3. Content Recommendations
Typically, we think of content recommendations being particularly useful at the end of a content experience, the “what do I do next?” moment. What I like about the Modern Farmer page I landed on is that, before, I read the article I had come for, they were already teasing me with more content they have in the bag. The “previous story” and “next story” module gives me quick insight into who Modern Farmer is. The topics spelled out in the headlines seem interesting and playful, and without so much as clicking on either link I feel like I understand Modern Farmer’s voice, what kind of content they invest in, and by extension, what their brand is all about.
All reasons to hang out on a blog I’d never heard of, sign up for their newsletter, follow them on Twitter, and come back for more at a later date.