Imagine you’re a prospective client, and you’re looking at your business online. You’re looking at the website, you’re liking what you see, and you think you’d like to take the next step in utilizing your company’s services- or, at least finding our more information.
The problem is, you can’t figure out how.
The website looks super professional, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to “get the ball rolling”, so to speak. There’s a little basic contact info on the bottom of the page, but you’re not sure if that would connect you with who you need to talk to. There aren’t any “contact us” forms, no way to order or schedule services online, no personal profiles to reference, nothing. Just a nice-looking website.
After a minute, the client leaves the site and goes somewhere else.
It can be incredibly easy to forget this aspect of your online presence, especially if your business is niche or hard to explain to the average person. Between site design, content strategizing, SEO, ongoing maintenance, and maintaining your social media presence, it’s not hard to fall into the trap of focusing on look & feel over functionality. However, if the path to doing business with you is not immediately apparent to prospective clients, you will miss out on clients that you would’ve had otherwise.
People know what to do when they walk into McDonalds, for example. There are loads of subtle & not-so-subtle clues as to what’s going on, where you’re supposed to go, and what you’re supposed to do. There are signs hanging from the ceiling that say “order here” and “pick up here”. The menu directs your eyes towards the counter where you order, and grabs your attention by playing appealing, eye-catching graphics. Below the menu, you can see a glimpse into the kitchen where people are working. People are lined up in front of the counter. If you’re (somehow) walking into a McDonalds for the first time, you instantly know what’s going on, where to go, and what to do.
How do you accomplish this level of instantaneous understanding with your website? First, think analytically about how your site looks to brand-new visitors. The average person spends just 15 seconds looking at a website. Make sure your site communicates what you do, how to do business with you, and where on the site your client should go, all within ~15 seconds. Looking at well-established websites of businesses that are similar to yours for inspiration can be very helpful.
Next, use calls to action as directional tools. A button that says “Learn More”, “Schedule Now”, “Buy Now”, etc. is a clear indicator of where to go for new site visitors. Insert hyperlinks in your blog posts and in your text that direct visitors where you want them to go. Add a landing page with a special & a call to action to your site.
Finally, keep trying new things! Look at your site analytics regularly for insights on the path that your site visitors take. Are they heading in the right direction? If not, try something new. It’s an ongoing process - if you don’t get it right the first time, that’s alright! Just remember: the easier it is to do business with you, the more clients you’ll get. People crave convenience, and a business model that’s too hard to understand right away or a website that’s too tough to navigate will drive people away. Don’t assume that people will understand how to do business with you automatically. Make it easy!