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3 ways your web page can shoot itself in the foot

Think of a page on your website which has a specific outcome in mind – something you would like as many visitors as possible to do after having read the page. Perhaps it’s got a form on it, or even a downloadable document. Now take a look at that page and ask yourself: is there anything on the page which is getting in the way of visitors doing what you’d want them to? This could come in several guises.

The first is a distraction. If the page is about a product, and you want visitors to read about the product and then fill in the “request more information” form at the end, why are you surrounding the message with unrelated offers? (And “offers” can mean something as simple as sidebar menu items leading to other pages on the site).

The second is a barrier. Are you asking visitors to enter information they might not feel they want to give away, or are you presenting your documents in formats they might not be able to read?

And the third is giving them an excuse. As every good salesperson knows, the key to a good sales hit-rate is guiding people quickly to the end-point without introducing unnecessary get-out opportunities. How many forms are prefaced with messages such as: “complete the form below for more information …or click here for your local dealer”? The prospect then thinks: “I’ll have a look at the dealer list”, and before you know it, they’ve battled through a few more pages to find out that their local dealer is one the prospect knows will be at WidgetEx 2011 next month, and the prospect thinks: “oh, perhaps I’ll leave it until then.” Opportunity lost.

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