Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 10 Second Rule

It doesn't matter how you get the traffic to your site.  Whether by search engine or referral or direct link, there is one truth that still applies.  You have about 10 seconds to capture their attention and keep them on your site.  How do you do this?  Give them the information they need to know that they are in the right place and have found what they are looking for.

1.  Visitors want to know right away that they have come to the site they were looking for.  They don't want to spend time searching your site for the information that will tell them who you are.  Your name or your company name and your logo need to one of the most visible parts of your website.  They should be visible on every page, preferable in the header.

2.  Visitors are searching for your website for a reason.  They have a need and they are searching for a solution.  Again, it doesn't matter if they are simply using a search engine or they have been referred to your site from someone else.  When they get to your site, they will want to know one thing - how can you help fill their need?  Your website should make it obvious what types of products or services you offer and how it will benefit your visitor.  And this needs to be explained quickly and clearly.  Once you have captured your visitor, then you can provide him with additional information further into your site.

3.  Unless you are involved in a cutting edge industry, chances are you are not the only one able to meet your prospect's needs.  Your visitor will want to know - quickly - why he should stop here and do business with you instead of continuing his search.    Next, visitors to your site should be able to easily see why you're good at what you do.  Awards. recommendations, testimonials - whatever it is that proves why your visitor should choose your business over your competitor needs to be easily visible on your site. 

4.  You have his interest and he is ready to make his choice.  Don't lose him now by not telling him what the next step is.  Whether you want him to buy, or subscribe, or register, or download, make your call to action obvious and explicit.

5.  There are many legitimate businesses on the internet.  There are also a few rip-off artists.  Your visitor will want some assurance you are "real."  You can help set his mind at ease by making it easy for him to contact you.  At a minimum, you should display your business phone number, a physical address (not a post office box), and an email address.

6.  I still remember the day I was searching for some information and found a site that seemed to provide all that I needed.  I registered for their newsletter and within days, was inundated with so much spam that I had to close my email account and open a new one.  This is what prompted me to open an email account just for newsletter subscriptions and such.  Now I look for privacy policy information right up front.  And I am not alone.  So be sure your visitor knows right up front what will happen to the information he provides. 

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