Are Your Website Visitors Lost? (here’s how to take care of them…)
by Cheryl Binnie

So I need to update my credit card information for a recurring payment.

No biggie. We all know how to do that online.

I go to the company’s website, log on to my Member’s Area, find the Billing Information page, see that they indeed have an old number on file for me…

and then…

and then…

… And then nothing.

I can’t find a way to update my credit card info.

No link.
No instructions.
Not even a pop-up info box saying, “Oh, did you want to take an action? You can do that over here, on this other page.”

I start clicking around, trying to find the right page. But everything that looks promising (Payment History, Account Info, Edit Profile) is a dead end.

Okay. Maybe I missed something on that first page. So I go back to Billing Information to look very closely.

Nothing. Okaaaay, maybe I didn’t look close enough at Account Info…

Pretty soon, I feel like I’ve misplaced my keys – I keep checking the same places over and over again, as if what I’m looking for has magically appeared since the last time I looked.

So I start clicking links that seem like maybe they could be relevant, though still very unclear. Under Account Info, I follow a link to Update Contact Info. Nope. I go back and try Preferences…

Just when I’m about to resign myself to getting on the phone and sitting on hold, I find it – a link to Update Payment Information, about halfway down the Preferences page (right between a link to Change the Color Theme of my Member’s Area and a link to change the frequency of email blasts I receive from the company).

Huh, I think. Never would’ve thought to look there.

And it gets me thinking…

Websites make us work like this all the time!

A very accomplished copywriter named Nick Usborne likes to say, “Every new visitor is lost,” meaning that you should never assume a visitor to your website knows where he is, or where he’s going – and he certainly doesn’t know how to find his way around your site.

Have YOU ever felt lost on a website?

There are so many homepages that never actually tell you what the business is, or what the business owner does, or why you should bother sticking around.

You get to the end of a passionately-written page of copy, only to be left hanging when there’s no link, next step, or even a suggestion of what to check out next. (“Where do I go now?”)

You finish reading about a coach’s services and packages, and you’re excited to find out more! (Gee, maybe you even want to talk to her… or even hire her…) But there are no instructions on HOW to hire her, or how to get in touch about those services.

So how does this apply to you?

Remember – good copy takes care of your reader.

That includes telling her what to do next. Even if you think it’s obvious. You want to guide your reader through your site, so she gets what you think would be the best introduction to you, your philosophy, and your work.

So here’s what you can do for your own website…

  1. Go look at your homepage (yes, pull it up in another tab or window right now).
  2. Scroll to the bottom of your copy.
  3. Is there a link or button there, telling your reader what to do next? (Subscribe to your newsletter? Go read about your story? Go check out your services? Go read the latest blog post?)
  4. If not, think about where you would like for her to go next.
  5. Want her to subscribe to your newsletter? Add another opt-in form to the bottom of the page.
  6. But remember, not everyone will be ready to give you access to their inbox after a quick homepage introduction. She may need to get to know you better first, so if you don’t tell her where to go, she may end up clicking random links – and it may not be in the order you’d prefer.
  7. If you want her to get to know you better before she looks at your services, add a link to the bottom of your homepage, inviting her to go read your story on your About Me page.
  8. Now, take a look at any page where you think the next best step is for her to get in touch with you. Do you tell her to get in touch? And do you then give her a way to get in touch?
  9. (Note: Just having a Contact page doesn’t count – you have to tell the reader to GO there and fill out the form. And you have to give her those instructions on every single page where you think the next step is “Get in touch with me.”)
  10. Now, go ahead and look at any leftover pages. Does each one have “next step” instructions at the bottom of the page? If not, add them.

Always think about guiding her through your site.

Even if you think, “Oh, she’ll know that she can just scroll back up to the top and click one of the tabs.”

Don’t make her scroll back up. Don’t make her think about where she wants to go next. Because in the moment she has to decide, or search around – that’s the moment you lose her.

You know you take loving care of your clients. And you want to take loving care of your potential clients, too. A simple way to do that is to make sure she doesn’t get lost on your website.

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