Website Entrance (part 1 of 2)
by Chris Genge
Where a customer enters your website an important component to the overall success of your website. The best strategy is to quickly get them to the part of your website that contains the information/ products they are looking for. Make this process easy for them, and they will actually look forward to exploring your website. In part one of this two-part series, we will look at the obstacles most visitors to a new site face and in part two we will look at a way to overcome these obstacles.
Too Much Clicking Turns Customers Away
Visitor stats reveal that in some cases up to 90% of visitors will EXIT a website even before entering it! That's not a misprint. The longer it takes for them to enter your site the more likely they are to NOT enter it. And if they are unable to quickly determine you have what they want, they will leave and continue their search elsewhere. The stats say it takes them just 10-20 seconds to make such a determination!
Keep that in mind when you are deciding where to let a customer enter your website. The more they have to look for what they want, the more likely they are to go somewhere else. Yet, the number of sites that require people to KEEP ON CLICKING is staggering. Ironically, home pages can be the biggest TURNOFFS for people. How many home pages have you seen that have nothing more than a company logo and force you to click on "enter" to access the website? Is this really necessary? Consider it from the viewpoint of the visitor trying to enter the website.
By forcing them to go through the 'enter' process, you are unnecessarily increasing the work they have to do to find the information they want. Remember, they probably came to your website by clicking on a link from a search engine or another website. Make the information they see relevant to what they are looking for. Instead, what happens is that they are usually taken to the home page, which seldom contains the information they want and presents them with a number of other options that they need to take in and decipher.
Depending on the design and layout of a website the number of clicks a visitor may have to go through to get the information they desire can be quite daunting. Here's a sampling:
·intro page with company logo and 'enter' link
·a Flash presentation that some people like and others don't
·navigation to various sections of the website or
·navigation and descriptions of various sections
·further subsections and subheadings
·or if they're lucky… to the exact content they require
The first one is nothing more than a doorway page that says to the visitor you have come to the door of my business, ONLY by clicking can you enter. The second is a presentation that most visitors likely DON'T want to see. Make Flash presentations an optional link inside your site... not the default. This way they can view it if they should so desire, rather than having it forced upon them. Do you really want, or better yet, should a visitor really have to go through all that clicking to find the information he/she is seeking?
Another entrance technique that was popular in the past involved building doorway pages to get better listings on search engines based on relevant keyword phrases for products/ services offered. Since most businesses and webmasters are reluctant to allow too much text or changes to their websites, doorway pages were considered a viable solution/ option. The days of using doorway pages are gone. Search engines now have the ability to not only filter them out, but may actually PENALIZE a site for using them. It is easy to understand why search engines hate doorway pages so much. The pages present no value to the search engine or to the visitor, who often had to make a few more clicks to actually find the content they were looking for. Some doorway pages contain no information except 'click here.' The death of doorway pages makes the relevancy of search engine results even better. And people hate doorway pages even more than the search engines!
Is There A Solution?
The problem with most websites is that they don't have the right kind of TEXTURAL CONTENT to tell people or the search engines what they have to offer. Your website is INVISIBLE on the Internet unless the search engines know what you are offering. It needs to be both people and search engine friendly! You should know what 'keyword phrases' people are using to find your products and services and incorporate them into your website. Sometimes it can be hard to integrate them. For example, "buyer of structured settlement" might be difficult to assimilate into the website, but the fact remains, people are still using it to search for your products and services. So you really should find a way to include it, and other 'keyword phrases' into your website. This is important because if the closer the text on a page matches the search query the more people are convinced that they have found what they are looking for. It gives them comfort to see the same or similar words on the page. One way to do that is through Product Introduction/ Information Pages (PIPs). They present information that makes both people and search engines happy. Product Introduction Pages will be the focus of part two.
About The Author:
Chris Genge is the President of 1st on the List Promotion Inc, one of the first and most respected search engine marketing firms in Canada. He writes on current and emerging search engine marketing theories. Chris has been involved in the SEO industry since its very early days, and has since 1997, focused on researching and implementing the most effective search engine optimization techniques. For more information visit http://www.1stonthelist.ca/
The author grants permission to reprint this article in all venues so long as it is not used in spam, and the copyright and by-line are included intact. Email notification of intent to publish would be greatly appreciated.
Copyright January 2004
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