The user experience for your website is different for every individual who arrives because of where they started out and what they are looking for. Most sites target first time visitors.
They are not your brand advocates.
If you use advertising to drive traffic into your website, the content you choose for each ad should be agonized over. The content of every landing page should be agonized over too. Despite the years of SEO advice that changes every month, the one and only constant working truth is that content for your website visitors is your top priority.
Every visitor to your website should be important to you because they have the potential to be regular visitors or top referrers.
People Are Not Keywords
People are feelings. People are curious. People are in a hurry. People have some idea of what they want. People reward other people.
People don’t want to be “disavowed” or “not-provided”. People use other search engines other than Google. People look for referrals on Facebook for local businesses. People watch “Breaking Bad” and browse Pinterest at the same time. Some people watch TV, tweet, chat in Facebook and browse Pinterest at the same time.
Where is your website for mulit-taskers?
Where is your website during a moment in the news where stocks go up or down, new phones are released, the dress people saw on Dancing with the Stars is to die for and people have to find it now?
Remember the TV show, “Cheers”? We liked the show because we liked what it represented. It didn’t matter if it was bar with regular customers. What we liked was that the business owners and employees knew their customers by name. The business owners knew where customers sat, what they drank, what made them happy and what did not.
Does your website do this?
Why not? Because your budget is focused on keywords, long tail, chasing old links, blocking out bound links from search engines and agonizing over what to put into ad campaigns. Your budget is for getting new people to come to your pages rather than keeping your existing clients. Your homepage and landing pages are designed for first time visitors rather than motivating existing customers to go inside the site.
This content doesn’t count for regular customers or readers:
- Following on social networks. They likely already did this.
- Signing up for your newsletter. They likely already did this.
- The big slider that takes up the entire top half of the homepage. They’ve been there and done that.
- Navigation to Why Choose Us, About Us. They’ve been there and done that.
Content for Regulars
The worst mistake is creating an ad based on a keyword that lands on a page that forwards to a landing page of an unrelated topic or simply lands on a page that has nothing whatsoever to do with the ad. This burns both new visitors and those visitors who know your site. Never break a promise.
Regular customers, corporate investors, employment agencies, healthcare agencies, insurance sites, ecommerce customers and software application providers all have tasks designed for repeat visits and regular tasks. What’s fascinating (to me anyway) is that these sites have the most complaints that come not from first time visitors, but from their regular users who are dependent on their online services.
More effort is put into making the user experience work for newcomers. Since many of these sites have paid partnership relationships with doctors’ offices and employee related companies, or provide directories for consultants who pay to be in it, it would make sense to design a strong user experience and create marketing incentives for this target group.
Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm makes it even more important for your website to be an authority site. No doubt savvy search engine marketers are figuring out how to play this new game for their clients who depend on them.
One way to adapt is to make your website design user focused and able to defend your space as a leader, authority, famous brand and customer favorite. When a hummingbird finds a consistent source of food it will fight off other hummingbirds to maintain complete dominance over the food source. Your mission is going to be how to teach your hummingbird-visitors how to bring you an army of hungry birds.
Hummingbirds can also fly backwards.
I’m not sure how to work with that clue yet.