The hard truth is people don’t have time to explore your website. Don’t take it personally, everyone is super busy.
They have time to scan.
That’s it. If they scan something that interests them, they will stay a bit longer and yep, scan some more.
Do them a favor and think FOR them.
I know it’s not as easy as it sounds. How do you anticipate what “they” want? Whoever they are. 🙂
After 20 years of watching HOW people use their screens, I can say with some confidence that everyone does it differently.
Think about it, have you ever hovered over a screen with someone to view a website and seen exactly the same thing they do?
Know your target
Ugh, I cringed writing that. How many times have you read something similar. What’s your target audience? -ewww. How do you target something that’s, for all intensive purposes, invisible? Well, if you are flush with cash you can hire a marketing agency to get data. Come up with the plan. Then execute it.
But what if you aren’t flush. Maybe you have some resources. A marketing agency will be happy to take that off your hands too, but you’ll be a small fish. The return will be pretty thin.
Getting data – even a little – is a good starting point.
Data can help get a sense of the who, what, and where of your site visitors.
A lot of people turn to Google Analytics, because well… they’re Google. GA is an amazing tool and confusing as hell. I think it’s best to use it after your traffic grows. Then leaning it or hiring an analytics guy is worth it. It’s a no brainer to hook GA into your website as soon as you can though, even if you don’t use it right away. Get it collecting data and use the default reports to get an overview of your traffic. If you have a Gmail account you already have a GA account. It’s here.
Some pretty cool alternatives
Jetpack Site Stats
Jetpack is the jack of trades plugin from the people who make WordPress. It’s site stats let you see simple stats that you can use to make actionable decisions. It’s also super easy to hook into your site. Learn more about it here. 🙂
StatCounter is fantastic and FREE. They have paid plans but the free one is really useful. The visitor details alone are worth it. Learn about it here. 🙂
Use all of them
There is no such thing as too much data.
Oops.. I got a little off topic there
Try to remember that your site is not for you, it’s for the elusive “they”.
Try to taking the 10 second test. Clear your mind and Visit your website. For 10 seconds – no more. Pretend you are visitor who knows nothing about your Company or Non-Profit. Close your site and then write (yep on paper) the first thing that pops into your mind. You might be surprised and it’s a great way to kick off a new perspective.
Remember: Smart sites don’t create themselves.