You’ve gotten visitors to your website.  Now what?

It’s time to lead them down a path. What path? That depends on the goals of the website.

Great web content leads the user down a desired path that will further the goal(s) of the website and ultimately the organization. Whether it’s presenting users with ways to learn more about a product or service or providing an awesome shopping experience using e-commerce content, a website should provide a clear visual and contextual path of how a user is supposed to behave.

Calls to Action

Calls to Action serve as the primary message of a web page or section. “Buy Now”, “Learn More” and “Sign Up” are examples of a call to action; that is, what you want them to do the most.

Idea: Examine the content on your top visited page. Is there a clear “call-to-action” on the page where he will land?  Does the call to action make sense in the context of where most of the traffic came from? In other words, if you know that most traffic comes from a Google search, are you accommodating those visitors with a strong call to action they can identify with?

Calls-to-action can be in the form of a button, a line of text or a graphic design element that encourages the user to engage in a certain behavior.

Where should I click?  What should I do?  Help users navigate a sea of information by forming clear paths to follow.

zen garden path

Create a path users will follow that leads to the desired behavior.

Click Paths

Click paths are imaginary “pathways” that will lead a user from one area of a website to another.  Click paths can be anything and go anywhere.  Online merchandising is an area that greatly benefits from the creation of click paths because merchants can influence the users’ behavior and steer them towards specific products or categories.

By methodically designing a click path, merchants can drive sales where needed, and marketers can measure the effectiveness of a particular marketing program.

Structured Content

Structured content is one of the most important things to consider when operating an e-commerce website. The structure, or hierarchy, of content can determine everything from how quickly users can locate what they are looking for on a site to how easily an e-commerce website can be integrated with other internal systems within a company.

For retail sites or publications, on-site search and intuitive categorization is important to allow visitors to easily find what they are looking for. Structured content makes it possible to manage product categories and allows a brand more control in terms of visual merchandising and recommendations.

Finally, a well-executed content structure provides a schema by which internal systems can be scaled. For example, migrating to a new website platform or opening a new distribution centre dedicated to online sales may find huge cost savings from the ‘plug-and-play’ nature of established content structures.

By carefully thinking through how to structure and standardize things like product information and unstructured content, visitors get a better experience and companies save money in the long run.