Most website owners would say that the one thing they need most is to get more traffic. This might seem like a smart answer, but it in fact shows a misunderstanding about online business. What I’m going to talk about now is the most important thing you will learn: website usability.

The Purpose Of A Commercial Website Is To Make Money

This is an important statement because although it seems so obvious, many business owners actually behave as if they don’t really understand it. You could have the most appealing, interesting website which attracted a million visitors a day, but if this traffic did not translate into sales, what would be the point of the exercise?

Increased traffic might mean more clients, but it is usually a lot easier and a lot faster to try and increase the percentage of your existing traffic into paying customers. Let’s say you get 700 visitors a month and 2% of those actually buy something from you. You could try to double your traffic, and this would mean potentially more sales proportionally. However, with a few minor tweaks you could change the percentage of paying customers from 2% to 4%. As I said, this takes less time and effort than attempting to get 1400 customers a month.

What Do You Want Your Visitor To Do?

No need to say ‘Show me the money!’ if you have the right website.

If your answer to this question was ‘spend more money’ then you’re definitely thinking along the right lines. Let’s got back a step.

What must the customer first do to start down this path of making a purchase?

With my own site,, I make it clear that I want them to do one of three things. I want them to a) watch the introductory video, b) download the free SEO report or c) call me for a quote. I have made sure that all three options are clearly visible on the home page, above the fold (the part of the screen you see before you scroll down) and they aren’t obscured by unnecessary text and images.

When your customer visits your homepage, there are potentially several things you could want him to do. Maybe you want him/her
to opt in with their email address, maybe you want them to read a sales page. You need to be very clear in your own mind about what you want the customer to do.

How about going to the homepage of your own website right now? Visit it as if you were a first-time visitor and think about what you see. Is it immediately obvious what you want the visitor to do? Or have you got superfluous images and text which make it difficult to recognize what is required? These can be eliminated, reduced in size or placed below the fold. The idea is to reduce the number of options on that page until the visitor is left with almost only one thing left to do.

Click here to read part 2.

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