Well folks, here we are at the end of our “rookie mistakes” series, and you’ve got a lot to think about. Maybe you’re rewriting some titles or re-outputting some photos. Maybe you’re rethinking that Flash animation or coming up with more compelling content.
If you’re on your way to a better, more professional and profitable website, good for you. But the magic doesn’t end there, because we’ve got one more mistake that can take all of your hard work and slam it headfirst into a brick wall.
Many sites miss the boat on this one, and it’s so simple and so subtle that you won’t want to overlook it.
Mistake #10: No Call To Action
This is so obvious yet at the same time so elusive. It’s a case of missing the forest for the trees. You’ve spent so much time planning your site down to the last minute detail, beta testing the navigational structure, agonizing over shades of gray and nuances of nouns, testing, validating, refining… and you’ve got this perfect piece of visual and technical art in front of you.
A lovely site, with terrific information, so tastefully cutting edge and easy to use… except… what, exactly, is a person supposed to do with it?
Buy It, Join It, Read It?
If you’ve got a website, chances are you want it to accomplish something, monetary or otherwise. Businesses want people to buy a product, call for services, schedule a consultation, or some other action that results in that person becoming a customer. Charities want people to donate or share the charity’s mission with friends in order to expand their donor base.
Even if the only goal of your web site is to share information, completely free, no strings attached, that’s still a goal, and chances are you want people to come visit more than once to keep up with new information as you share it.
The goal of your web site should be the underpinning of all your planning, and it should be apparent in the execution. There’s nothing wrong with multiple goals – maybe you want visitors to contact you for services and join your mailing list. Whatever the action, you need to make it clear, predominant and easily accomplished.
We hate to say it, but many times it’s not enough to simply place a “Contact Us” link on the page and assume it’s self-evident. Sometimes you’ve got to hit your visitor over the head with it. “Click here to contact us for pool cleaning” may sound lame-brained and cliché, but it might just get a customer to do it, when a contact link would not.
We’re all in a constant state of decision-making and interpreting, distracted from time to time by competing options. “Click here” is a direction that removes some of the burden from the customer and gives you a chance to capture that customer on autopilot. Click here? Oh, ok. No need to think about it, evaluate the options, figure out the best path. Just click here! It’s simple, if inelegant, psychology. Use it!
You can use the direct strategy for just about anything. Instead of showing a product photo with a price and assuming the customer will buy it, tell the customer directly to “buy this plastic penguin now!” Instead of offering an email box and assuming the customer will sign up for your newsletter, tell the customer directly to “Join our mailing list now!” From “Tell your friends” to “Join us on Facebook”, make it easy by making it obvious.
We’re not implying that people are too dumb to figure it out. We’re simply saying that nudging them in the direction you want them to go is more likely to get the result you want. So right now, before you change another thing about your web site, figure out what it is that you want a visitor to do and then tell them to do it.
We hope you’ve picked up at least a few good tips from this series and that your website is on its way to success.
Do you have any other rookie mistakes to share? Anything you’ve overcome, or noticed on another website?
Read More In The “Rookie Mistakes” Series
- Rookie Mistake 1: Annoy Customers With Your Contact Form
- Rookie Mistake 2: Use Bad Photography
- Rookie Mistake 3: Bad Links
- Rookie Mistake 4: Dead Links Pointing To Your Site
- Rookie Mistake 5: Forgetting You’re Not A Rock Star
- Rookie Mistake 6: Too Much (Useless) Information
- Rookie Mistake 7: Dizzy Background
- Rookie Mistake 8: Misusing Technology
- Rookie Mistake 9: Mangling Your META Data
- Rookie Mistake 10: No Call To Action