Getting web visitors past the homepage
Getting visitors to the website is rarely enough. If they stay on the homepage or landing page and don’t travel further into the site, the chances are they won’t convert and become active customers
If the objective is simply to get customers to visit company premises or telephone you, stopping at the homepage might not be a problem.
The homepage could simply give details of what your business offers, along with your contact details and a clear call to action — for example, “Visit our store on 1 High Street”.
However, if the intention is to get customers to convert — whether it’s to buy through the website, register their contact details, or sign up for a newsletter — they must find the homepage interesting enough to want to explore further. To help them do so, they will need clear directions towards their (and company) goals.
Analyse web traffic
Start by monitoring how web visitors behave. Use a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics or Clicky to find out where visitors arrive from and whether they go beyond your homepage.
If you see them bouncing off the site at the homepage, it may be because they can’t find the information they want, are not drawn in by the content or have to wait too long for a page to load.
Alternatively, the problem could be as simple as a broken hyperlink. Check the site’s basic usability every few days. A slow-loading page can be off-putting
Review the website
Crucially, the whole website — not just the home page — needs to be clear about what the business offers, so that visitors can quickly decide if it is relevant to them.
If they have found the site through a search engine, ensure that there is information relating to their search terms on the landing page, whether this is the home page or another page. Failing that, make sure to include hyperlinks and tabs leading to specifics. If they don’t quickly find what they need, they are likely to leave your site within seconds.
Alternatively, divert groups of visitors to a landing page, when they enter specific terms into a search engine, leading them to relevant information faster. Always include a relevant call to action on the landing page, such as “Register here for our newsletter”.
Content should be fresh and topical, drawing attention to particular products or offers.
User-generated content is one way of ensuring that your site remains engaging. Internet tools that enable people to interact with each other via the web — such as blogs, podcasts and discussion forums — can help do this.
Design is also important, although a basic, easily navigable site is generally preferable to cluttered pages with expensive images.
Bear in mind that bombarding visitors with advertising can be off-putting.
Review any sponsorship to ensure it’s relevant, profitable and fits with your brand.
Once you have reviewed the website, monitor it regularly. Customers can give you valuable feedback, so ask them to complete an online survey or email them asking for their thoughts.
Schedule time each month to study web analytics data, and act on it. Remember, the whole website is your virtual shop window and increasingly, it might be the first impression a customer gets of your business and what it offers.