Company Web Series #3 – Directing Traffic Within Your Website for Better Conversions
By Rock Paper Simple // April 8, 2012
Your traffic flows based on your navigation
You should always have in mind the three to five most important pages on your website… the pages you just must have your visitors see.
This is typically determined in the planning stages so that the proper layout and call to actions can be put into place during development. Again, planning ahead is critical. Knowing you need to think ahead about all these items will help your new website development move forward with ease. Once you have determined your three to five most important pages, you will need to find a way to use your website navigation (part of your functionality) to direct and “push” your website visitors (your traffic) to those pages. “How Rude!”, you say? Think of it this way… your visitors are coming to your website to find something. Help them as best as you possibly can while allowing them to click as little as possible to find it.
Time to talk about your website navigation.
Your website navigation includes all of your website links: your menu, your call to actions and any other links on your site. The primary navigation is typically achieved via a menu which is typically found horizontally laid out at the top of the website to the right of the logo. This menu contains the primary pages of the site, possibly with secondary pages within dropdowns.
It is important to structure this is a way that makes sense to your visitors and is very clear and easy for the visitor to understand. They should be able to find the pages they are looking for without difficulty. Avoid lengthy page names or menu titles and be as descriptive as possible. Also try to avoid dropdowns that go beyond two tiers or tabs that open multiple layers of tabs that are hidden otherwise.
Make sure you provide links to all of your pages… once you have done this it is time to put your call to action in place to direct your traffic to those three to five most important pages we discussed earlier.
Ok, so what are these calls to action and how do you use them? I thought you would never ask…
Call to Actions
A call to action is any element of your website that stands out above other navigation or buttons that asking the visitor for an action… normally a click.
A call to action is any element of your website that stands out above other navigation or buttons that asking the visitor for an action… normally a click. Call to actions range from large buttons to phone numbers to contact forms. Anything that requires action from the visitor is a call to action. A typical homepage may have these five call to actions: three primary buttons leading to the three most important pages, a large phone number asking the user to call and a contact form asking the user to enter their information.
On inner pages, the sidebar is typically utilized for one or two call to actions to continue to direct traffic, no matter what page the visitor finds themselves on.
Choose your call to actions carefully. These are extremely important and should be well-thought out. If you add too few, you may not be effectively directing your traffic and your conversions may suffer… while if you add too many then none of them will stand out to the visitor and again… they will not be effectively directed. Imagine if you had a dozen black marbles and you painted three of them red. Those will obviously stand out from the rest. But what if you painted six of them red? Now none of them actually stand out and a person may be confused as to why they are different.
Typical call to actions? “Contact Us Now”, “Free Quote”, “Our Services”, “Get Started”, “Call Today”, “Buy Now”, “Our Promise”, “Why Choose XYZ Inc?”, “Apply Now”, “Register for Free”, etc. These call to actions are designed to drive visitors to the pages that contain what they are looking for and ultimately to get them to contact you, send you their information or purchase something from you… this is called a lead or conversion. Without easy to understand call to actions and navigation, your bounce rate can be very high.
Conversions Vs Bounce Rate
Properly planning and developing your navigation and call to actions will increase conversions and keep your bounce rate low. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that immediately leave upon coming to your website without going to any other pages. You want this number to be low. Better navigation and call to actions will keep this number low while keeping your conversions high.
Be sure to discuss with your web developer or agency how best to lay out your call to actions and navigation to ensure the best conversions vs bounce rate ratio.
The next installment in our company web series:
The Way Your Website is Coded Matters
Written by Joshua Adams at Rock Paper Simple
Joshua lives and breathes web development and internet marketing and is passionate about not only providing quality service, but also educating fellow business owners about internet marketing and web presence.