Website: Does Your Site Work For Your Visitors?

Search

Every webpage on your site needs to work for its visitors. A high bounce rate — visitors arrive and then leave instantly — is a good signal that pages on your site aren’t working. That is, visitors can’t find what they need.

There’s a solution: make it easy to search.

If they can’t find it, make it easy to search

Often when I’m working with clients on their Web content, the site’s search function is woeful — on major company sites, as well as on small sites.

Creating an effective search function for your site needn’t be difficult. Google will do it for you. Especially on ecommerce sites, it’s vital that your visitors can find exactly what they want when they want it, otherwise they’ll quickly go elsewhere.

Make it easy to find your latest promotions

Another common problem I find with websites is that a company will decide to create a new promotion or publicity campaign. But, unfortunately, the product is hard or impossible to find on the site.

Create a specific page on your site, or group of pages, for each campaign. Link to campaigns from your homepage, and from other relevant pages. Provide all the information your visitors need.

If it’s not on the site yet, say so

Yesterday I was looking for a birthday gift for a friend. She’s a real foodie, and loves cooking. I found a gadget I thought she’d adore, and spent ten minutes on the manufacturer’s site reading the product specifications and watching a video.

I decided to buy the gadget, but I couldn’t find a single link to an order page, nor to a Retailers page. This was very frustrating. Yes, it was a manufacturer’s site, but they did state clearly on several pages that products could be purchased on the site itself.

Obviously, their shopping cart hadn’t been set up. That’s fine, but why make promises you don’t keep? How hard would it be to add a sentence to the product page, such as: “Our ordering facility will be available shortly, in the meantime, check our Retailers page.” Or, “You’ll be able to buy online shortly, in the meantime, this product is available at your favorite store.”

For several minutes I went on a fruitless hunt for a price and delivery page. Finally I ended up going to Google, where I found four retailers immediately.

I didn’t buy the product. By the time I’d finished hunting for a Buy button on the site, I was too annoyed to bother. I’m sure that many other other visitors to that site feel the same.

No site’s perfect. However, it should work for your visitors. Just make your site easy to search, and if something’s not on the site yet, say so.

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Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.