By Ken Lochridge
One facet of effective design that I often see people ignore is guiding the visitor. If you don’t effectively help your visitor find, see, read and click what you want them to on your site, you are missing out on revenue.
When a visitor hits your page, you have a few seconds to convey the message that you have what they want, and they can easily get it.
Doing this while encouraging and enticing them to act on your site can mean the difference between an average site and conversion-churner. This strategy may be more effective on some sites or topics than others, but I believe it can improve any site, no matter the topic or purpose.
If a page’s major elements, such as navigation, logos, headings and images are equally dominant and sporadically placed, the visitor must figure out what to do or read next.
Contrast that with a site that has strategically placed elements, with color and contrast variations that are easy to follow. Here, the visitor will travel the path of least resistance and generally follow your direction. Your site will be more successful when you don’t make the user think. Make it easy by using a bread crumb trail of tasty bits for the eye to follow.
Once your visitor arrives, your page needs to turn into a funnel. Every template or page should have a purpose, a desired action from the user. Whether it’s to drill down, believe and trust you, make a purchase, click on an ad or whatever, you should have a goal for the user at every point in your online presence.
You may have a structure that leads the visitor from basic home page information, drilling down to specific products or services, and sales pages for each. Or, you may have a store that showcases items on every page. Regardless, each page has a purpose and you should help your visitor engage that purpose.
One way of implementing this is the blur test. To perform this test, sit back from your monitor, maybe a foot or two more than usual. Defocus your eyes – start to cross your eyes, but don’t actually let them cross. Your page should be blurry, and the major elements should stand out.
Start at the upper left corner of the page and let your eye lazily fall downwards and to the right, and allow it to stop at the first thing that stands out on your page. Then follow on to the next item, and so on.
With practice, you can simulate what your visitors’ eyes are attracted to, and how they flow through your page.
You will be able to identify elements that are fighting each other for dominance, which direction the flow moves on your page and then make adjustments and corrections to encourage the behavior you want. You can learn a feel for this, and guiding your visitor can become as natural as ad blending.
Ken Lochridge, of DrasticTactics.com, is a ten year veteran of affiliate marketing.
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