By James Chartrand
Many writer websites have a home page that offers new visitors a basic introduction to the business: “Here’s what I do, who I do it for, and why I’m better than anyone else.”
That’s not a bad home page – but there’s a problem.
The problem is that the home page of your website rarely convinces new visitors that you’re the one for them. Many of these new visitors might become your clients if they just stuck around a little longer to learn more about you.
Sadly, most disappear before you have the chance to convince them.
Why? You haven’t compelled them to take the next step down your path.
It happens all the time. Thousands of websites out there describe their business using the standard ‘what we do, who we do it for, and why we’re better’… and then they rely on people to know where they want to click next.
Most don’t have a clue. And they could use a little guidance.
Losing people from your home page is most apparent when the website visitors are of an older generation. Generation X and Y visitors grew up with the internet – they know how websites work, inside and out, and they know exactly where to click. They don’t even have to think about it.
Baby Boomers? They have a little more trouble. The way this generation interacts with a website is wildly different than the way a younger person does. They’re not 100 percent comfortable with navigating websites.
There’s more hesitation. There’s more uncertainty. And this target market often has to peer at the page a little longer, trying to figure out where to click to learn more.
These website visitors get easily frustrated. They’ll leave if they can’t figure out where to go next from your home page.
They could use a little guidance. Here’s how to lead them down the path to a sale:
Getting them to take the first step
Keep the web copy you already have on your home page. It probably does a fairly good job of introducing you.
Then add a few leading questions that appeal to your target market. A good leading question can encourage people to click to visit the next page – which keeps them on your site, learning more about what you sell or offer.
Every click to another page gives you extra opportunity to convince these visitors to become clients.
What leading questions could you ask on your home page? If you’ve done your target market research, try adding questions that you know people already have in mind as factors that might make them hesitate to become your client.
Let’s use the example of a copywriting business. Some leading questions might be:
- “Does the idea of having a stranger write your web copy feel weird to you?”
- “What does ‘good web copy’ look like, and how would you recognize it?”
- “Having trouble selling your phenomenal product?”
The first two questions are designed to address hesitations in hiring a copywriter. People are worried that strangers can’t make their website copy sound like their business. They worry that they wouldn’t be able to tell if the copy was ‘good’ or not.
These leading questions, if linked to a page on your website, will encourage them to click to learn the answers… and they’ve just taken a step down your path.
The last question? The one about having trouble selling? That’s designed to appeal to the person who wound up at your website more or less by accident. He doesn’t think he needs a copywriter. He saw a link somewhere and clicked out of curiosity.
This guy doesn’t have any concerns about his copy because he already has copy.
But he does have a product. And now that your question makes him think about it, he is having more trouble selling it than he thought he would.
So he clicks the link and reads the next page, even though he doesn’t need a copywriter – because he does need to fix that problem of selling more product.
On that page? You’ll be able to convince him why his copy might be the problem he didn’t even know he had.
Getting them to take the next step
Think about what you’ll put on that second page. You’ll have the opportunity to answer visitor questions, so do a good job of informing them, reassuring them and convincing them you know your business.
You could show them detailed case studies of people you’ve helped in the past and talk about exactly what you did. You could explain how your services help solve a problem, and what it’s like to work with you. You could talk about what the before-and-after looks like, and what a visitor can expect if he buys your product or hires you.
Secondary pages – pages past your home page – help convince a reader that he might actually get what he’s looking for out of a service or product he hadn’t considered as a solution. These pages help him learn more, and show what you can do, and why he should take advantage of this.
You could point your visitor to even more pages that answer leading questions you’ve added to your copy. You’ll want to avoid creating a winding path that doesn’t go anywhere, of course, but you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’ve given this person as much information as you can, so that he’s feeling good about your product or services.
Which is when you might mention the Buy Now, Hire Me, or Contact page. It’s the logical next step.
Check your path
It might be very obvious to you that someone should click the button or the contact link – but it isn’t obvious to your visitor.
From the moment a person lands on your home page, you need to encourage him to take a step further. If at any point the next step becomes unclear (or worse, isn’t even there), that visitor will stop, turn around and not come back.
All paths on your website should lead to your contact or buy page. Are you sure they do?
Walk a mile in your client’s shoes. Start with the home page. Read your copy carefully, and see if the next step is clear. Follow each path to its end, double-checking the calls to action on every page until you’re sure that none of the roads bring visitors to a dead end in the middle of nowhere.
Once you do, your visitors will happily wander down the path that suits them best – and all those roads now lead to you.
Need to learn more about how web copy can lead more visitors to your ‘contact me’ page? Check out James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words, the innovative writing course for business owners who want to learn writing skills that land more sales. Click here to learn more.