We’ve discussed having an objective for every page on your website, and guiding a viewer through the process to reach that objective. One of the critical elements in this is the visual one, often referred to as the eye path. There’s a lot of good stuff on this online, such as the presentation titled No Unsupervised Thinking on Marketing Experiments. In my opinion, the most effective page designs strongly encourage the reader to start with the headline at the top, look at an image, read the text and take an action. The most obvious way to do this is to position them one above the other, with nothing either side, making it highly unlikely that the reader will do anything out of order, or get distracted. However, it can also be done in a two- or three-column layout if the reader can see the bottom of the page at first glance. This is the approach we take with the simple (but effective!) landing pages which we often set up for clients whose AdWords campaigns we manage. The advantage of this is that while taking in the page, readers see the whole process they’re about to go through. It’s unlikely that they’d do anything other than follow the eye path we’d want them to, which is headline, picture, text, action. Your website designer might find such simplicity a little uncomfortable, but the website’s effectiveness is what counts, not the designer’s desire to make things look more complicated than necessary.