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What do you want me to do?

don't waste hard won traffic, make it obvious what to do with colour and design

The most valuable and hardest to get resource on the web is Attention, followed closely by Permission.

The attention of like minded people and their permission to keep in touch with them by email.

You know from bitter experienece how hard it is to get people to your wesbite.

The hours of tweeting, connecting on facebook (you do include links back to your site when you do that don’t you?), offline networking, SEO tweaking and blog post writing do pay off eventually.

However, I am still overwhelmed by the number of sites I come across where there is no obvious reason for the site being there in the first place.

Look at your analytics and the number of one page visits will tell you how many people are getting to your site then immediately leaving again, usually because they can’t see a good reason to stay.

Getting people to stay on your site is crucial to building a readership and an audience for your business, but how do you get them to interact with your site?

The first thing to do is make it obvious.

Have a look at the front page of this site and try to guess what I want visitors to do.

When someone lands on this front page I want them to give me permission to stay in touch with them by email.

To achieve that here’s what I do:

  1. First of all I want to give them something interesting to read about and for the majority of my readers that will be something novel about blogging, website design and probably wordpress related. I usually try to help my readers to learn how to do cool things with their wordpress site for free or on a DIY basis…they like that.
  2. Secondly if they scroll down the page, they will see that there will be something interesting to read on a regular basis; I try for daily in that respect.
  3. Last and most importantly I make it obvious that I want them to do that. I do this by making my main sign up attraction obvious, which means:
    1. it must be above the fold (so they don’t have to scroll to find it)
    2. It must be obvious which means contrasting colours to the main site design
    3. there must be a good reason. For people who might otherwise be just surfing, I have a clear and very valuable offer on the top right of the page. This should be attractive to most people who find 4donkeys by organic search, its a pack of 3 premium eBooks giving excellent information on building your website’s success.

For regular readers who haven’t signed up yet, I have a less obvious but very clear sign up box on the right of the page, which explains 3 things:

  1. Exactly what I will be sending them if they give me their permission.
  2. How often this will be. Famous Friday Freebie will obviously be once per week and in addition to that I will send “occasional” valuable stuff like tips and offers. I take great pains to be very very clear about this, because I don’t want anybody to be annoyed by what I send them.
  3. I make it clear that I won’t be a pain in the ass by drowning them in spammy junk.

These principles hold true for any web page, blog post or article.

So when readers click through to the free offer page, there is nothing else to do but sign up; there are no links out of the page, so they either sign up or leave or hit the back button.

When you write a blog post, write it for the people you really want on your site. The headline of your post has the sole purpose of getting people interested in reading the first line of the post and the first line should make them want to read the second and so on.

Be genuine, if you don’t believe it yourself, don’t say it.

If you don’t think the item is valuable, don’t sell it or even give it away.

If you haven’t experienced it, don’t say you have.

If you don’t ask permission to keep in touch, you are wasting a huge amount of energy.

The Famous Friday Freebie today has at least a £20 value and will give you a clear strategy for getting results with Twitter, Facebook and Social Media in General. If you’re not on the list by 15.00 BST, you wont get it and the offer wont be repeated.

Photo thanks to @Doug88888 via Compfight, cheers Doug

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