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Do Your Visitors Understand What Your Website Is All About?

Keller Hawthorne | March 29, 2010 | 56 Comments
Website Design and Development, Content Development
Do Your Visitors Understand What Your Website Is All About?

Far too often I come across websites that couldn’t be more vague about their purpose. You know – when you actually have to ask “What does this person do? What is this website about? How does this website relate to me and my needs?”

If your visitors have to ask these questions, you run the risk of losing them. Trust me, if they can’t figure it out quickly, they’re not going to stick around to try to find out. It’s not your visitors’ job to relate to your website or find a reason to stay. It’s YOUR job to relate your website to your visitors and convince them to stay.

The purpose or point of your website really should be something so obvious that a visitor will understand it within the first minute of landing on a page. You don’t have much time to convince a visitor to stay, so you should make it a priority to quickly explain that you are:

  • A blog that teaches people how to ride horses
  • An ecommerce store that sells bathing suits
  • A corporate website that offers web design services
  • Etc, etc.

Being direct and clear about your website’s purpose isn’t a hard thing to accomplish and can be done quite easily using the following tips and methods.

Tip!Not only can you keep your visitors on your site longer by making your website’s purpose clear, you can also better optimize your site for search engine rankings!

1. Say It In Your Business Name and/or Tagline

Some of you have heard about my very first ecommerce store, The KBH Outlet. I opened (and closed it shortly after) 5 years ago – it was my first attempt at making money online. So what was it? Hard to tell by the name, isn’t it? It was a home decor store!

This is a little embarrassing, but guess what my very first tagline was. No, it wasn’t “Your Internet Source for Home Decor” or “Your Home Decor Shop.” It was…

“Providing Integrity and Security for Online Shopping”

What, what, what? How do any of those words relate to home decor? I haven’t a clue. My intention was to “ease” customers into opening their wallets – but what the heck were they opening them for???

Not only did my company name say nothing about business – my tagline couldn’t be more confusing.

I understand that sometimes your company name will lack clarity. Take “Google” for example – what the heck does that mean? However, you must make clear, somehow, what it is your website is all about. If not in your name, then at least in your tagline.

Let me give you another example. The very first tag line for my blog was “Helping Online Entrepreneurs Succeed.” Not bad, but it’s kind of fluffy, don’t you think? During my blog’s redesign last year, I decided to streamline my tagline by changing it to “Your Internet Business Blog.” So, what did this achieve?

  1. Visitors Know They’re On a Blog
  2. Visitors Know My Blog is Related to Internet Businesses
  3. EXTRA – The tagline contains important keywords for SEO

Though the name “FresheVenture” isn’t exactly obvious in its meaning, my tagline is simple, direct, to the point and understandable – perfect for welcoming new visitors!

2. Welcome Your Visitors On EVERY Page of Your Website

This is a trick I picked up on after becoming a blogger. When I first created my blog, I decided to add a welcome box to the top of my sidebar. This welcome box includes a picture of yours truly as well as an intro paragraph of who I am and what my site is about. It then links to my about page to help visitors get to know me even better.

Many websites display some sort of welcome message on their home page, but they tend not to be very effective. Why? Because they’re only on the home page.

The real beauty behind my welcome box is that it appears on EVERY page of my blog! No matter what page a visitor enters my site from, they will be properly introduced to me and my website.

Tip!I love this idea so much that I decided to incorporate it on a website I recently designed for a client – The Learning Café. I used WordPress to publish the site and created a custom theme for it. The home page has a standard welcome section, but if you click through to any other page, you will notice a welcome box in the top of the right sidebar. Not only does it introduce the company, it promotes both owners’ LinkedIn accounts and Facebook Fan Page!

3. Use Language Your Visitors Will Understand

I almost titled this tip “Use Real World Language,” but quickly realized a flaw with that idea. The language of your website must be targeted toward your market. If that means using real world language, great. But what if your website is targeted toward scientists or doctors? Obviously in this case the language will be advanced and not very understandable to someone like me – and that works too! It’s all about relating to YOUR visitors.

Keep in mind that with language you have the ability to set a mood on your website or create assumptions about who you are. Negative and dirty language could leave a bad taste in your visitors’ mouths. Writing as if you’re talking face to face with someone could help nurture relationships. Using formal language could put out a feeling of professionalism.

Language is powerful. Always stay focused on who it is you’re talking to and the impression you’re attempting to get across when writing on your website.

4. Avoid Fluff and Redundant Pages

Do you really need 5 pages to explain what it is your company does? What about taking 50 words to describe your company when 5 or 10 would suffice?

Fluff and redundant pages are patterns I tend to notice with corporate websites. So, what’s wrong with them?

– Fluff LOSES a reader’s attention.
– Redundant pages are just that – very few people will actually read your entire about page, let alone the 4 other accompanying pages.

Internet users are looking for info NOW – not 5 minutes from now. They want information as quickly as they can get. If they can’t find it quickly, they will go somewhere else.

Don’t waste your visitors’ time – and don’t waste yours by going into unnecessary content overload. Keep your content focused, precise and easy to understand.

5. Use Your Keywords In Your Content

If a visitor finds your website through a search engine after typing a specific keyword, it makes sense to ensure that keyword can be found on your website, right? By using your keywords naturally (do not keyword stuff), your content will speak directly to your traffic. Your keywords can also help optimize your site for higher search engine rankings.

Keywords help relate a visitor to your site and keep your content focused. Again, do not overdue it – adding your keywords to your content should be a completely natural process. If your site is about home decor, your content should contain that term.

Tip!If you happen to notice your traffic is high, but your conversion rate is low, take a look at your content. Are you grabbing your visitors’ attention and do they understand what your website is about?

How Do You Make Sure Your Visitors Understand What Your Website Is About?

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