Hockey © by Fikret Onal

It’s January, and you’re probably awash with advice on how to set goals for your business in the new year.  I’d like you to switch things around. I’d like you to think about the goals your website visitors have.

People come to your website for a reason. They have a specific task – a goal, if you will – that they’re trying to accomplish. Do you know what those goals are? And are you helping them meet those goals?

No one has time to waste fumbling through your website. If visitors to your site can’t find what they need within 2 to 3 clicks, they’ll click that back button in a heartbeat – and you’ll have lost an opportunity to gain a client.

 

Most Visitors Are Looking for the Same Things

Think for a few minutes about why people come to your site. That might sound like an exercise in mind reading, but really, it’s not as complicated as you might think; the majority of people probably are looking for similar things. In fact, you’ll find that as many as 80% of visitors to your site are trying to do only 3 or 4 things at the most.

That’s a meaty statement, because if you can identify those 3 or 4 goals, and make it easy 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 3-4 goals, and devote the best real estate on your home page to helping visitors achieve those goals. Put the information, 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 Individual Pages, Too

Imagine you’re looking through a printed catalog for something. Most catalogs are fairly similar. No matter what catalog you’re looking at, you know the “rules.” You flip through the pages in a predictable fashion. You have a general idea of where to find product information, ordering instructions, the company’s toll-free number, etc.

Now imagine someone is looking for something online, and Google turns up a product page from your site. The person clicks on the link, and thus enters your website through an internal page, NOT your home page.

Will that visitor know where he is in your website? Will he understand who you are and what you do? Will he know what to do next? Or will the page leave him at a dead end?

 

Make Those Goals Easy to Achieve

Visitors don’t have time to waste on your website. And really, getting around on your website shouldn’t be rocket science anyway.

Keep your pages simple and task-oriented. The content should be about your visitor, not about you.

Make links clear and navigation menus intuitive. You don’t get bonus points for creativity – only results.

Always tell your visitor what to do next. Use calls to action like “Click on the button for more information,” “View our online catalog here,” “Call our toll-free number today,” etc. It makes a difference.

And always, always, know what goals most of your website 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.