We talked about overchoice – the strange phenomenon in which more options result in less action – in this month’s introductory post. Because this concept is absolutely crucial when trying to get customers to take action, we wanted to devote more time to the topic of designing your website with actionability in mind.
Thinking about web design in terms of actionability involves thinking about the consumer’s experience when he or she visits your website. It helps to think about the website as a kind of flowchart, where every step clearly leads to one or (at most) two other steps. There’s a reason flowcharts are so useful – they help to break complex processes into manageable steps. If you’re a traditionalist, you might want to think of the business funnel instead. You want your funnel to narrow slowly and lead customer to the end – the last thing you want is a beer bong-like contraption snaking the customer around.
Here are some tips on keeping your website lean, mean, and ready for action:
Work fast – The customer should be able to figure out what you’re selling within 15 seconds of landing on your homepage. This might seem like too little time, that is, until you find out that the average time spent on a webpage is a whopping 10-20 seconds. Play it safe and be perfectly clear about what you have to offer immediately, so even the most dense of your prospects will feel like geniuses.
Eliminate Redundancy – The modern WordPress-based site comes with a header, a sidebar (or two!), and a footer. While this might seem like a golden opportunity to cram your contact information in 8 different places, flood the screen with testimonials, and generally stimulate the senses to the point of saturation, please refrain. The modern consumer knows how to find you, where to look for reviews, and how to explore your services. Clean, minimalist design is in, and anything bordering on excessive or cluttered seems either too dated or too sales-y. Make it easy on the customer by sticking to the standard page types (Services, Clients/Portfolio, About Us, Contact Us) and cleaning up the rest.
Eye on the Prize – The Services or Product page is the most crucial, because it represents the last stage of the flowchart/funnel. This is where the customer makes the decision to either buy or bail. Keep the description short but effective. If you offer different plans, tables are a great way to represent lots of information in a quick and easy to understand way. Err on the side of simplicity – if the page begins to look cluttered with explanations, you should probably get back to the basic services and put the details on a separate “More Info” type page.
Remember, your website is your virtual storefront. Just like you wouldn’t pack your office lobby with random garbage, you should keep your website streamlined and professional, and so, always actionable.