Visitors to your website are usually there for a purpose, and it’s important that all the content you write shows them what to do to fulfill that purpose.
Imagine you’re having a party at your house (I know I have been imagining it a lot this year!). What would you do to make a guest at your home feel comfortable and meet their needs?
Your website is your business’s home online, and seeing yourself as a friendly guide will help you find the words and images that will make your website visitors want to stick around for a while.
Show Website Visitors They’re in the Right Place
Unless you’re throwing a backyard blowout, you would probably greet your customer at the door. You wouldn’t just leave the door unlocked for them to wander into like they’re in a gothic horror novel, trying to figure out whether this is actually where you live.
You also wouldn’t leave them standing on the porch as you give them a long list of facts about your house. They’re going to get uncomfortable and, if you’re in Oregon like we are, cold and possibly rain-soaked.
When someone lands on your website, let them know they’re in the right place in a concise and friendly way. Don’t write a wall of text on your homepage about how great your company is or your life story. Let them know that this is where the party is, and then get ready to guide them to the next step. They can learn about who you are along the way, or once they’ve made themselves comfortable and are ready to have a conversation.
Escort Them to the Main Event
Your guests are there for the party, not to chit chat in your foyer or stare at your cabinet full of figurines. You also want them to join the party (why else would they be there? ). Sure, they might be able to wander toward the sound of music and voices to find the party, but walking them into the room yourself makes it far less awkward.
A good host guides their guests to where they want to go and gives them a clear vision of what they can do when they get there. Show them to the place where they want to go so they can see what awaits them.
“They’re grilling out on the patio if you’re hungry, and people are setting up to play board games in the living room if you want to play.”
You and your website visitor have a common goal—to find out what your offerings are and what they can do. Don’t make them dig around to find your offers. Tell them immediately where to go to find the thing that they want to buy from you or learn about. Someone on your website isn’t going to hang out just to be polite if they don’t like the scene. They’ll just bounce.
Make Them Feel Welcome
Ever walk into a room of people playing a game or having a conversation and just feel totally lost? At the most awkward of parties, nobody introduces you around, nobody welcomes you or gives you background on what’s going on, and you end up just standing there, trying to figure out what to do with yourself. Don’t do that to your guests!
On your website, it isn’t enough to just name your offer, then list its features and price. The visitor won’t be able to see how they fit in unless you show them. How do they use your product? What will your services do to make their lives better? Invite them to see themselves as part of your offer so they don’t get bored and leave.
Point Out What They’re Looking For
If your guest is holding a plate of cookies, or if they have to go to the bathroom after a long car ride, you don’t want to leave them hanging. It’s courteous to tell them where to put their food, where the bathroom is, where they can hang their coat and other house rules. And it starts your evening off on the right foot by helping them orient themselves to their surroundings.
In the same way, create a space on your website where people can ask you questions, find answers to questions before ever needing to talk to you, and fulfill other needs like making returns or accessing membership perks.
The way you interact online is different than how you interact in the real world, but you’re still inviting real people into your digital space. Make that digital space as comfortable as possible, and they’ll want to stick around—and maybe even come back!