Most businesses think about their websites in terms of their own goals. They spend a lot of time thinking about how to get their website visitors to do what they want them to do. And they spend very little time thinking about why those visitors come to their website in the first place.
That’s a mistake.
People come to your website with their own goals. There’s a specific task they want to accomplish, or a specific question they want to answer. Do you know what that is? And are you helping them do it?
No one has time to waste fumbling through your site. If visitors can’t find what they need within two to three clicks, they’ll click that back button in a heartbeat – and you’ll not only have lost an opportunity to achieve your own website goals, you’ll have lost an opportunity to gain a client.
Most Website Visitors Have Similar Goals
Think for a few minutes about why people come to your site. The majority of them probably are looking for the same things. In fact, as many as 80% of visitors to your site are trying to do no more than three or four things total.
That’s a meaty statement, because if you can identify those three or four website goals, and make it easy for visitors to achieve those goals, you’ll make 80% of the visitors to your site extremely happy.
Maybe visitors want to see if you offer a particular product or service. Maybe they want to double check your qualifications and experience. Or maybe they need to find out where you’re located.
Identify those goals, and devote the best real estate on your home page to helping visitors achieve those goals. Put the information your visitor want, or clear and conspicuous links to the information, “above the fold” — that is, make it visible without having to scroll down. Use the space “below the fold” for that other 20% of visitors.
Think About Where Visitors Will Look for Things
Imagine you’re looking through a print catalog to find a birthday present for your spouse. Most catalogs are laid out in similar ways. This isn’t by accident. Catalog printers know that it’s in their best interest to make information easy to find, and they do this by sticking with what their consumers are comfortable with and expect.
As a consumer, this is great news. No matter what catalog you’re looking at, you know the “rules.” You flip through the pages in a predictable fashion, and you know generally where to look to find product information, ordering instructions, the company’s toll-free number, etc.
Now imagine someone is looking for something online, and a Google search takes that person to a specific page on your website. Keep in mind, Google takes that person directly to internal page, NOT your home page.
Will that visitor immediately understand where he is in your website? Will he understand who you are and what you do? Will he know if you can offer him what he’s looking for? Will he know what to do next?
Or will the page leave him confused?
Related Content: Conversion Rate Optimization: Testing Tips for Low-Traffic Websites
Make It Easy for Visitors to Achieve Their Goals
Visitors aren’t interested in wasting their valuable time on your website. And really, getting around on your website shouldn’t be rocket science anyway.
Keep your pages simple and task-oriented. Your content should be about your visitor, not about you.
Make links clear and navigation menus intuitive. You don’t get bonus points for creativity, especially if it means your visitors have to stop and think.
Always tell your visitor what to do next. Use calls to action like “Click on the button for more information,” “View our data sheet here,” “Call our toll-free number today,” etc. Trust me, it makes a difference.
And always, always, know what website goals your visitors share, and make it easy to achieve those goals. You’ll end up with a website that makes your visitors happy, and you’ll convert window shoppers into buyers.
After all, making customers happy is just smart business.