10 Reasons Your Site Needs to Be Obvious for Users
There’s a fine line many web developers walk when designing their sites that toggles between coyness and pushiness. We don’t want to beat people over the head with our pitch, yet we fear losing visitors if we don’t make that pitch effectively. By pitch, of course, we’re talking about the message or intent of your website – telling the visitor what you want them to know. Answering the question your site is meant to answer. There are very good reasons why your site needs to be obvious to users, and we’re going to look at ten of them here:
- First Impressions – We all know the old adage about them, and it holds true as much online as anywhere else. If your visitor doesn’t get their question answered right away, or isn’t clear on what your site is about, they likely won’t come back to find out later.
- Distractions Lead to Detours – If there’s a lot going on all over your website, your visitor can easily overlook its import. You need to guide them to do what you want them to do and go where you want them to go before they get lost on a tangent that takes them someplace else.
- They Can’t Say Yes If You Don’t Ask – Visitors need to know what it is they need to do when they land on your page in order to get what they came for. Your site should be easy to navigate, and action buttons or windows should be prominently displayed above the fold.
- Short Attention Spans – Remember, more often than not your visitors will be coming from a search engine link. This means your site will be one among many options they have to find what they’re searching for so you need to tell them quickly and clearly why your site is the one they should use.
- Web Surfing = Channel Surfing – There’s a reason the terminology has been carried over to internet browsing: the psychology and methodology of the two are very similar. Web surfers are looking for a reason to stay put. If they don’t see one right away, you’re history.
- If You Lead, They Will Follow – People respond to clear instruction, and even prefer it. If you tell them exactly what to do, visitors are more likely to do just that and will appreciate the uncluttered, direct approach.
- Too Many Options = Too Many Wrong Choices – One of the wrong choices we’ve mentioned already is that they will leave your website. However, it’s also confusing and unnecessarily complicating your purpose to offer a visitor too many options. Provide the shortest path possible to your objective.
- Inspire Confidence – A website that asserts its message and establishes itself as a concise source of whatever the visitor is searching for tells them that they’re in the right place. They are less likely to continue their search if you make it plain that it isn’t necessary.
- Keep It Simple – Don’t put a lot of speed bumps or roadblocks in your visitor’s path. Have them click as few buttons and follow as few links as possible to arrive at their destination and your objective. Any extraneous action is just another opportunity to leave before they arrive.
- Page Ranking – When your content is relevant, high quality, and answers the visitor’s search query, your website will rank more highly in search results. That means more traffic coming to your pages, instead of turning them away.