Web Design: How To Get Your Visitors To Stay

Remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come"? In the world of Internet marketing, you not only want them to come, you want them to stay.

The Internet is fast-paced. Your visitors decide very quickly whether or not you have what they want. There are five strategies that will help you engage your visitors and encourage them to explore what you have to offer.

Make Your Site About Your Visitors Not You

In order to do this, you must clearly know your target audiences and what you anticipate they will be looking for when they visit your site.

For example, your target audiences could include the client groups you serve, potential donors, policymakers, members of the general public and the media. In order to get and keep their attention, you must quickly let them know that you understand their needs and have a service or product that meets them.

Remember, your visitors want to know what's in it for them.

Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Limit the navigation choices your visitors can make. One recent study found that many sites offer an average of 25 options from the home page. That's too many. In addition, make sure the wording of your navigation bars gives your visitors a clear idea of what they'll find. You want to make it easy for visitors to get the information they want.

Visitors who get confused or frustrated leave.

Make Your Web Site A Funnel

You want visitors to decide that they want to get to know you. Give them easy ways to learn that you can meet their needs.

Let me give you an example. If you provide health-related services, guide them to content that gives them health tips they can use. Then let them know that they can receive this kind of information regularly through your monthly e-newsletter. Give them an opportunity to subscribe. Then lead them to content that talks more directly about your programs, services or products and the benefits of what you offer.

Draw your visitors into the work of your organization.

Use Testimonials

Word of mouth is one of the best ways for people to learn about you.

You can get the same result with testimonials.

Ask your clients what benefits they got from participating in your services or activities. Ask board members to tell you why they chose to become involved with your organization. Ask your volunteers what benefits they get from working with you. Then ask their permission to use what they said as a testimonial and put those testimonials on your site.

Testimonials help visitors feel more comfortable with you.

Make Your Site Interactive

Use short assessments and other feedback mechanisms to engage your visitors. Offer opportunities to attend events or to volunteer. Make sure that visitors can easily contact you - both online and offline.

Interaction starts building a relationship.

Take a fresh look at your web site. Look at your site's organization and content in terms of these strategies. What action can you take right now to encourage your web site visitors to stay?

Judith Rothbaum's passion is helping nonprofit organizations thrive. She gives seminars, workshops, presentations and coaching programs nationwide with one key message - think boldly about who you are and the impact you have in your community. Visit http://www.datafordecisionmaking.com to learn more.

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