Tell Your Visitors to “Walk This Way”

Your website visitors need you to give them directions or they'll get lost or leave. But first you need to make sure you know the right way to go.



February 18, 2016


I’m working on a lead gen proposal and redesigning my landing pages, so I’m thinking a lot about how to get more visitors to click, submit and generally do what I want them to do.

As I look at my site and others, I realize that many sites (including mine) can do a poor job of connecting the dots for visitors.

Business Level Goals vs Page Level Goals

Goal post shot from below. You can see the tips of the uprights. Blue sky with clouds in the background.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I don’t know what I want people to do on my business website”. Obviously, you want them to contact you or buy something or you wouldn’t have the site. That said, I find a lot of website designs don’t translate business goals (sales or leads generation) into clear page-level actions. Small business sites in particular often bury calls to action or don’t have them at all.

I think this happens because we’re not always sure where “the ask” is supposed to happen. I also think many people still take for granted that a visitor will seek out a way to convert if given the right information.

Know The Next Step for Visitors

Many times I find that sites do a great job of offering value, but a poor job of offering actions. Maybe they don’t want to seem too sales-y or they think that the Contact Us button at the top of the page is enough. Either way, I regularly see sites with:

  • Only one contact form — and that’s only visible in the top navigation or footer.
  • Sites with no targeted landing pages at all.
  • Great content but no calls-to-action or links to get in touch or navigate to another page.

We have to remember that our visitor is on our site to do something. It might be research to start, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer them a chance to download an ebook, try a demo, or contact us for a consultation. It’s in our interest and theirs to have a follow-up action they can take.

If you don’t have a follow-up action (read: goal) baked into your pages, then you are doing a disservice to both visitors and your business. Good content alone may get you sessions and pageviews, but CTAs and forms get you business.

Take a look at the relationship between your pages and your goals next time you are wondering how to increase sales or leads from your site. If the next step for visitors isn’t obvious, then you need to work on making sure everyone knows what a page is there to do.

Show The Next Step to Visitors


Giving a visitor a reason to convert isn’t always enough. You have to show them how or you will lose them.

Remember that web visitors are easily distracted and always have other options. If you want someone to fill out a form or buy a product on your site, then you need to make that action obvious and easy. At a minimum, that means putting the Contact Us or Add to Cart button in plain site.

I’m not saying throw banners everywhere or that you need to have a form on every page, but you should never leave a visitor with an exit as the most logical next move.

It’s Okay to Ask

It’s true that you can push for action too hard or too early, but you won’t know until you try. You might turn off some prospects in the beginning, but even a fail will give you new data that you can use to improve.

Over time, you’ll find the right combination of design, content, and CTAs to convert. And along the way, you’ll likely still pick up more business than you did when you weren’t asking at all.

The northern end zone goal post at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility football practice fields in Tallahassee, Florida on October 8, 2013. by flguardian2 is licensed under CC by 2.0

You may also like…