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We all make a dizzying number of choices every day, from deciding which toothpaste to buy to which Facebook posts to click on.
An abundance of choice seems like a great idea because it means having the freedom to do and have what you want, but…
Too much choice leads to a phenomenon known as decision paralysis–the tendency for people, faced with too many options, to choose none.
When it comes to your website, you have a lot of things you want your site visitors to do:
- Follow you on Facebook
- Sign up for your newsletter
- Learn about your company’s history
- View your portfolio
- Join your group
- Try your demo
- Contact you
- Buy now…
But your site visitors don’t have all day to meander around your website taking every action or exploring every nook and cranny reading every word. Assume you’ve got about a minute (if you’re lucky) to persuade that site visitor to take the action you want them to.
Less choice helps your site visitors take the right action
Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, said “All this choice has two negative effects on people. One of which, paradoxically, is that it produces paralysis rather than liberation. With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.”
What is the goal of your web page? I mean, what’s the main goal? What action do you most want your visitor to take?
In the following example, each website owner wants the user to try the demo. Which one do you think is more effective?
This is an oversimplification, and there’s a place for choice. But users want to know, “What do I do next?” (Not only that, they expect YOU to tell them!)
One customer, one page, one goal
This is a great way to begin thinking about your web pages if you want to increase conversions (otherwise known as getting your site visitors to take the action you want them to).
You should know the primary audience, purpose, and call to action for each page of your site.
>>Who are you talking to?
>>What problem are they struggling with?
>>How does this web page help them?
>>What action should they take next?
Once you give your page a goal…
Once you set your goal for your web page — say for example it’s to opt-in to your mailing list — take a look at everything else on the page and see if that call to action is the most prominent.
Everything else you ask your website visitor to do is a distraction from the main thing, so always be looking to remove things that aren’t necessary to achieve your goals.
Ever wonder why sales pages don’t include navigation menus, footers, and links to other pages? Because any competing calls to action lower the conversion for the offer:
- Links and navigation buttons are calls to action
- “Follow me on social media” buttons in the footer are calls to actions
- “Share this on social media” buttons are calls to actions
On other pages of your website, it’s normal to have more than one call to action, but remember that your site visitor is likely to only take ONE. Eliminate anything you can that’s distracting them from taking the one you want.
Use visual design to set a clear hierarchy
When you have more than one call to action on your page, use visual contrast to make the most important thing really stand out. This means, make it bigger or give it a contrasting color so it doesn’t blend in with the rest of your site design.
You can also use directional indicators–those are very powerful. By that I mean literally point to it by using arrows, fingers pointing, or eyes looking in the direction of the call to action.
Take a look at Melyssa Griffin’s home page and tell me if you think there’s any confusion about what she wants you to do.
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I hope this is helpful. Hit me up with questions in comments!
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.