Have you ever seen one of those cars on the road that has every after-market item ever made for that particular model vehicle attached to it? You've seen them. They have curb feelers, window rain liners, spoilers, bug shields, tinted windows, bra, custom rims and exhaust, deer whistles and countless other things. Looks pretty tacky right?
Over the years programmers and designers have developed lots of cool new web conventions, functionality, widgets and countless other neat things. Alone, these items can serve a great purpose and may allow for robust engagement. However, putting all of these into one website can often damage the website's ability to convert visitors into a customer or lead. Good inbound marketing strategists understand this and would never recommend deploying a behemoth tacky website.
On the other hand, some web designers and developers either don't understand, or are simply trying to maximize profits by selling as many add-ons as possible. The bigger and bulkier the website is, the bigger the bill for it will be. SEO is a common argument made to maximize the size of the website. This too is a misnomer, because most large websites with lots of pages and content are oversaturated with meaningless keywords which ruin Google’s ability to properly define a website's keyword theme. Not to mention, Google’s new Panda update specifically targets pages which contain fluff or invaluable content for flags. Either way, it can have a detrimental effect on the website's ability to maximize traffic and rankings.
Visitors to a website are there to be entertained or to solve their problems - quickly. This, above all other inbound marketing concepts, should be the factor that drives the website's strategy. For example, the home page of a website should function as the first entry point in a company's sales funnel regardless of how the visitor came to arrive there. Successful inbound marketers know that once a visitor lands on the home page of a website they only have four seconds to communicate to the visitor what they need to click on to solve their problem.
Good inbound marketing professionals understand this and utilize simple segmentation or calls-to-action above the fold to communicate to visitors what they need to click on to solve their problems. Segmenting visitors into a sales funnel should always be done with one, three or seven grouped calls-to action or segments. This will depend on the company's goals and the products or services the company is selling. In addition, segmentation provides for a clean and clear transition for the visitor to enter step two of a company's inbound marketing sales funnel.
Websites that are designed without a proper segmentation strategy tend to ignore the four second rule. Remember, visitors are on a website to be entertained or to solve their problems - quickly. When possible, designers should minimize the number of items on a home page that can be clicked on. These items should only include segmentation calls-to-action and standard web conventions. Otherwise, a website visitor will be faced with dozens of links to click on and having to decide which one will best solve his or her problem. That's a lot of decisions to make in four seconds.
Some companies will argue that many dozens of links and decision points on their website's home page are important to their business. They may be important, but they should never all be presented on the home page. Maybe the company's goal isn't to drive sales but to provide a wealth of information to their existing clients or the community. That is fine too, but consider segmenting visitors with targeted calls-to-action or a login portal. Successful websites should always provide a clean and clear path for visitors to engage so they can solve their problems - quickly.
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