How to bend readers to your will (without mind control)

After last weeks post, Use Google Analytics to Create a Site Blueprint, you may be feeling overwhelmed. (If you missed it, head over there first to dig into your site’s tracking information to discover how your readers are moving around your site.)
You may have discovered that instead of coming through the metaphorical front door, your readers are coming in through a hole in the attic. Instead of following a coherent energetic flow through your house into your back yard, they can only find their way to the bathroom.
If you’re getting tired of this metaphor, here are some actual questions you may have been asking about your site: Do they look at one page then leave? Are they finding unpublished pages? Do they click through to your sales page, or get stuck in your blog?

Now that you know your Users Flow, it’s time to fix any holes and repair any gaps.

Four simple ways to redirect your users flow to send readers to the pages you want them to see

Four Simple Ways Redirect Your Users Flow

Now that you know how to track your user flow and you’ve seen how people move around your site, what can you do to make sure they go where you want?

You need to know where you want your readers to go.

Just like an architect designs a house to have ideal flow between rooms, create a site blueprint to figure out how you want your readers to move through your site.

It sounds obvious, but a lot of times, people haven’t thought things through. They created the pages they thought they were supposed to have: home, about, work with me, blog . . . but they didn’t really think about how readers move from one to the other.

Ask yourself: Do you have a specific service or product you want to share? Do you want your users to join your list, read your About page, or figure out how to hire you? What the best way to keep them interested & engaged?

Once you know how you want them to flow through your website easily, here are a few ideas to get them there:

    • Navigation — Your navigation bar tells people all their options. Word these simply and directly: About. Work with Me. Blog. Start Here.
      Usability hint: Don’t get cute with your menu titles. When people want to get in touch with you, they know to click “Contact” or “Connect,” but if you say “ring-a-ding!” they have no idea what that means.
    • Drop Downs and Buttons — This is really more navigation. You want to show people where they want to go quickly (no showing them the newly decorated family room when they really just need to get to the bathroom), but you don’t want to overwhelm them. That means keeping your main navigation bar tight and breaking things down from there.
      So for example, if you look at my navigation, you’ll see Work with Me, and that drops down to three ways to work with me. If you click Work with Me, you can read about working with me and then choose one of services. So you can get to my packages via dropdown navigation or buttons on the page, depending on how much detail you want.
  • Start Here page — This is one of my favorites, and part of my plan for my next website overhaul. It can be a great way to orient new visitors and serve them up your best stuff. Make sure they know what you’re all about, share favorite blog posts or free content, or ask them what problem they need solved (give them choices that lead them to your solutions). Here are 3 examples of great Start Here pages:
Val Geisler's Start Here page

Val’s primary goal is to get her readers to subscribe to her e-mail list, which is why her biggest focus is on her free course, Gmail School.

Claire wants to position herself as an expert on everything about Facebook Ads, so her Start page is a roadmap for setting up campaigns, targeting, analysis, etc.

Jules’ primary goal is to get her readers to contact her. She wants to engage with them one-on-one so she can be a great resource for them.

  • CTAsCalls to action tell your reader directly what you want them to do, like this one:A sample CTA from my blog posts

    Most people think about CTAs on sales pages, but really you need them all over the place. (I’ll dig into this more in a future blog post.)

tl;dr: People don’t want to have to work hard on your site.

If you show readers where you want them to go, they probably will.

So take a look at your analytics to see where people are currently flowing or getting stuck. Then take the necessary steps to redirect them to make their life and your job simpler.

Want some help figuring it out? I can do a website review for you, so you get a clear snapshot of what’s working and what could be working better.
(See? That’s a Call to Action to let you know what I want you to do next!)

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