Let’s talk a little bit about the journey for the visitor on your website. There’s a narrative order that people expect when reading a website’s words.
The journey – what do I mean by that? I mean where do visitors start and what path do they go down on your website. Where do they stop at, when they click from page to page on your site. Bear this in mind alongside some recent studies, that people can spend less than 15 seconds on a website before they close the tab. Some others say we get about 1 minute before people size us up or not.
Does this make all visitors speed readers? I fear not! As business owners hoping that our websites will translate to sales for us, we need to know if we’re sending people to the right page and then sustaining people’s attention.
If you haven’t made your website yet, what page do you think you need to send people to? For those with a website, how do viewers get to your website ? Where do you want to direct readers? Where does the story start?
Here’s another swathe of questions for you to consider:
Do you know if people are coming to you from a google search? If so, is your home page coming up or is google sending people to a particular product page or blog post?
Do people mostly come to you after receiving a business card? Or an email with a signature block that links to your site? What page is indicated on these?
Have you got a link to your online home across a number of different platforms, such as your Yellow Pages, Gumtree, Craigslist and other promotional platforms?
Are all those links taking people to your home page? Is there a better page to send them to? If they’re all going to your homepage, are you then sending them to another specific page to give them more, and onto the next logical segment of your story?
On Instagram you have the option to add a link to your site (or any site) but only in the Profile section. You aren’t given the option to have a hyperlink in the text of your post or even in the comments. Facebook still allows it but they do not like people to link outside of the Facebook site (it means they’re losing visitation), so it’s harder to link people specifically to a sales page.
On Instagram people get around this by linking their latest blog post url in their profile and suggesting interested parties “Check out the link in the profile” to read more about their latest offering. In Facebook, people can add more content to the Facebook post and then link to their chosen page. Increased post content increases the likelihood of you staying on Facebook longer, which makes the FB god happy.
So, it pays to think how people might come to your website, and what main links you have out there. Because this is where the visitor journey starts. This is how a potential customer may meet you. And to extend on this, your main ‘landing page’ then needs to explain where people should go once they’ve taken in the page they’ve arrived at.
Most people these days are pretty savvy and have a set sequence to whip around a website. Land on the linked page, hope to get a good sense of everything it’s all about, head to the products page, then read a story about the person behind the business on the about page.
If this was the journey people would take on your site, is there something on each page that encourages them to go from one page to the other? And importantly, to act on something at each stage? For example, to either pick up the phone, fill in a form or add something to the cart?
Is the ‘Homepage-Products page-About page’ journey the one you want people to take? Or would you rather they read a blog post, then fill in a form (maybe an opt-in offer to join your mailing list), and then read your about page?
Or would you like them to start with reading your About page, sign up to the list after that and then receive some autoresponders to get more blog posts sent to them…that also have subtle “Buy now” options for the products you sell?
It doesn’t really matter what journey you’d like your visitors to go on, but it does pay to write each page with this ideal journey in mind. Knowing this ideal pathway can help you to guide the order of what you say and how you say it for each page; it can help you to recognise which pages are more important than others and also where to have calls to action or links taking visitors specifically to other pages.
All of these extra, little written lines that are calls to action and ‘signposts’ are as important as the bulk paragraph copy you write. They entice people to turn the page.
The details can be tied up once the paragraph copy has been written and you have a web template and the right plugins to help with the design of the site, but I do feel that thinking about your landing page and the pathway you’d like to your readership to take will help you write better copy from the outset.
Otherwise it may feel like a stilted conversation for the reader. Would you start a conversation at the end, then go to the beginning and then the middle? The reader has got the punch line before they know who’s involved in the joke! They’ve been taken straight to an icky sales pitch that they’ve had no personable warm up for. It’s not how you talk to people, so it’s not right for a website journey.
To sum up:
- Where do you want people to land?
- Do you need to add that specific page’s link to the third party platforms you use to drive people to your site?
- What will be on that page, in order to indicate what path to take through your website?
- From the landing page (which could be the home page) where should your visitors go?
- How can words be used, perhaps with links and buttons, to help with taking people on a journey on your site?
Happy considerations… 🙂