It’s been a while since I’ve written at length here…eek! Mainly down to being nice & busy with work, which can’t be a bad thing. Time to make up for it though… here are a few thoughts on something which is actually quite important – how to make the most of visitors once they’ve arrived on your website.
People invest a lot of time & effort in driving visitors to their website. It’s not always easy. So it’s ultra important that when you succeed in that goal, you then maximise the opportuity while a visitor is on your site.
It’s not quite as self-serving as it first appears. Remember, the user always has a back button, so whatever you do has got to be of use and valid in the eyes of your visitor. It’s not about making it really hard for the user to find what they’re looking for, so they have to search for ages – chances are, they won’t, they’ll use the back button and go elsewhere. But by the same token, it’s not just about giving everything away and not expecting anything back.
Their Goal or Yours?
Consider why people may be coming to your website. What are they looking for? Why are they there? You need to fulfil that need.
But also consider what your goals are for your website visitors. You need to fulfil that need too. Don’t assume the two sets of goals are the same.
Rather than going through the theory, let’s illustrate the point.
My goal for a gardening tips website might simply be to get people to sign up for a newsletter, so I can then stay in touch & publicise special offers & discounts.
A potential user may arrive at the site to find an answer to a gardening question. They have no intention of signing up to a newsletter.
One option would be to give them a chunk of an article, half answering their query, then make them signup if they want to read the rest. In my eyes: BAD IDEA. They’ve probably never seen the website before, don’t know who you are, and immediate demands for sign-up will make most people very uneasy.
A second, more effective option, would be to give them the article that answers their queries – make it worth reading and professional. Having answered their query, you’re then in a good position – you’ve earnt some respect. Make the most of it with some ‘signposts’ to, for example:
- other, related articles – linked perhaps from the bottom of the one they’ve just read. Lists of ’10 most popular posts’ or category lists are good here too. (What this does: visitor stays on site for longer, builds more respect points)
- downloadable guide/whitepaper/template/other resource. (What this does: builds more respect, visitor then has local record of your brand, website & contact details – assuming you put them on the download! Thus more likely to re-visit)
- Twitter feed, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile. (What this does: even if visitors don’t signup first time around, they’re starting to get more of a feel for who you are – and what other people think about you)
- Your newsletter signup form. Not everyone will sign-up on first visit, but the point at which you will get people to sign-up is when you’ve gained their respect. Add an incentive relevant to the user’s goal. (What this does: you’ve achieved your goal!)
Hmm… writing this has made me realise how much my own site could be improved in this respect 🙂