Ever wonder why Google is the preferred search tool on the Web? Could it be because Google is simple? One search box; one search button… just type in a keyword or two, and go.
Many coaching websites, particularly those with more than 20 pages, are difficult to use and poorly organized. They lose visitors simply because they are hard to navigate.
And it’s a shame if people leave your website without taking action. Your prospect list won’t grow as fast, and you’ll miss out on sales and client- acquisition opportunities.
The ideal navigation makes it easy and fast for prospective clients to hop around your website and perform tasks. And when it’s easy, people do things – like buy products, sign up for teleclasses, and call you to explore working with you. The bottom line? Your business grows.
To smooth out your navigation and help visitors get the information they want, purchase your products and services and grow and succeed, here are 5 navigational pointers to get you started:
1. Organize your site from your visitor’s perspective.
Your visitors – or, with hope, prospective clients – see your business from a different perspective than you do. They aren’t looking to learn about coaching techniques, assessments or models. Instead, they’re looking for answers to questions that pertain to their specific situation – such as, “Why should I be here?”; “How can you help me?”; and “What should I do next?”
Thus, you need to organize your content, pages and links in a way that answers these questions and satisfies the unique requirements of your visitor. As a result, your website becomes intuitive and easy to use.
2. Have a consistent primary navigation.
Just as a book has a table of contents, every website should have “primary navigation” – the central, most obvious set of links that governs the website. This is usually found across the top or down the left of the page.
To ensure your primary navigation is consistent, keep it in the same location on each page, and be sure to use the same labels.
Consistency gives prospects the confidence to click around your website, knowing that if they get lost they can quickly and easily reorient themselves.
3. Minimize the number of links (effort) to find things.
It may sound obvious, but the faster and easier it is to find content and links on your website, the much, much, much better itis for you.
This doesn’t mean you should link your home page to every single page. That would make the home page hard to look at. Instead, you should find out the top things that most of your visitors are looking for and make finding those things very easy.
For example, let’s say you are a new coach and you do most of your promotion by networking. And, as part of your client-securing strategies, you recommend articles to prospects and invite them to download them from your website. Then, when it comes to linking, you should put “Articles” in your primary navigation (mentioned above) and put links to the top one or two recommended articles – right on the home page.
It’s also vital to avoid over-organizing your content. For instance, if you’ve written 8 articles, you don’t need three different categories in which to organize them. Simply create one page titled “Articles” and list them there.
Furthermore, keep in mind that as the number of clicks to find things on your website increases, the more time it takes for pages to load — and the more chances there are for errors to occur. And the more errors that occur, the more chances there are for people to get stuck. That’s NOT what you want; not by a long shot.
4. Keep visitors one step ahead.
Each page serves a purpose – whether it’s to inform the visitor or to have them fill out a form. When a visitor is thus finished witheach page, be sure to lead them on to the next logical one. Using words like: “Your next step” and cues such as arrows are very helpful.
For example, if a visitor has just finished signing up for your newsletter, make sure to send them to a recent article. After they read an article, invite them to check out your links page for other helpful websites.
Your website is an informational tool, and its job is to provide visitors with content and resources to help them.
5.Be mindful of your website – and business-related objectives.
Yes, it’s crucial to organize your website from a visitor’s perspective and make it easy for them to navigate. But it’s also vital to ensure that the steps taken when using your site lead the visitor toward your business objectives.
Some examples include:
> Getting a prospect on your email list
> Registering for a teleclass
> Filling out an assessment
Thus, be sure to keep your business objectives in mind as part of the overall website organization. Help prospective clients get what they want while getting what YOU want – a win/win.
Here’s a tip that could be worth thousands of dollars – seriously.
To insure your website is smooth and easy to use, try this: Sit down with a friend, ideally someone in your target audience, and watch him or her use your website. If you find yourself having to explain things, your website is probably not as easy to use as it should be.
Over the course of a year, the value you get from watching one person use your website can make a tremendous difference in your email sign-up rates, initial sessions and product sales. That can easily amount to thousands of dollars in business.
In other words, remember that on the Web, ease of use is vital when it comes to websites.
As a coach trying to convince prospects that you can help them, it’s your duty to be a good leader. You want that message to shine through on your website. Make it easy to use and action-oriented, and you’ll find yourself meeting – and even surpassing – your expectations.