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Your Visitors Need Guidance. Don't Let Them Down!

Mar 27, 2008
Not everyone how lands on your Website is an experienced surfer, and even those who are Web savvy often require some sort of direction to help them get the most of your presentation. Your results depend on whether or not your visitors understand clearly what you want them to do.

Have you ever landed on a Web page and wondered, "What do these people want me to do?" This is a very frustrating experience for the user and it is sure to result in lost sales, fewer registrations, and even bad publicity.

Whether you are using the Web to sell products, collect new leads, expose a particular message, or promote a cause it is of the utmost importance that your site visitors know exactly what you want them to do the instant they arrive. You should assume from the start that people are counting on you to direct them when they reach your pages.

Understand I'm not suggesting you give them clear, written instructions like "scroll down and click the order button"; obviously this would be a bit too cut-and-dry. What I am saying is that your layout and content need to work together to create the desired effect, whatever that is in your case.

Let's say you are selling a digital product online for example. You should be driving traffic to a well-written sales letter that gets their interest right away and draws them further and further down the page with a strong case for why they must have what you want to sell them.

In this case a great headline, subheading, and compelling content are a must. And you might drop your order links into the copy at multiple intervals and display it again at the bottom of the page.

But what you must not do if you are trying to create direct sales of a single product from a Web page is include a full navigation that presents a reader with loads of opportunities to click away from your letter. This would be poor direction on your part.

Or let's say your intention with a specific Web page is to inform your visitor with an important article. In this case it's not a good idea to have numerous flashing banner ads that might pull their eyes away from your content.

Of course if your primary aim is to collect contextual ad revenue (Adsense, etc.) then you'll want to insert your ad blocks strategically within your main article body so a reader can't help but find them.

Maybe what you want is for people to land on your page and register for your email list. In this scenario you should focus all your copy on bringing the reader toward your opt-in box and convincing them that your message is so great it needs to be appreciated when you have time to give it your full attention, hence the need to provide an email address where you can send the long version of the story.

On an opt-in page giving too much info is counterproductive, and certainly displaying a full range of navigational options should be avoided if possible. A reader needs to feel there is only one way forward; through your opt-in form.

This article has presented a simplified case for focusing your Web page layout and content so that your visitors are not confused with too many options. To really master the art of getting surfers to do what you want requires a solid knowledge of Web design concepts.

On the bright side, however, you don't need to be a super-techie to create awesome results with your Web pages. Within just a couple of hours you can acquire all the knowledge needed to leverage your design and content for greater sales, sign-ups, etc.
About the Author
Tim Whiston is a professional entrepreneur who enjoys helping other entrepreneurs achieve success. He has created hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit for his clients and owns many of his own Websites and products. Check out his Web Design Course for more great content.
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