Ever hear of Conversion Planning?
As web professionals, we often tell clients time and time again to have an actual goal for the website. Be sure to have an idea of what the desired end result will be, and then work from there.
Of course, much like the proverbial dead horse, this concept gets beaten over and over again. It’s not that we web folk are maniacally obsessed with goal setting and forecasting. It’s more due to the fact that – despite working in a highly technical field – many a time, we just don’t know where to start when it comes to solving your web issue.
Having a definitive goal is really important because it helps us understand where we need the road to go, and that helps us figure out how we’re going to build and organize the website. This process of determining the endpoint, understanding the starting point, and then working out the pathways in between is what we refer to as Conversion Planning.
What the heck is it?
Now, if you step into any web agency and begin a conversation with a developer, that phrase is going to come up, and it’s at this point you want to be sure you understand what’s happening. Conversion Planning is what we do to help figure out how your web audience is going to navigate your site – what pages are they going to visit, how much are they going to read, and where do we want them to go next?
While graphic design and construction of the site are pretty important (really – without either design or construction, you don’t have a site), Conversion Planning is probably the most integral part of your strategic direction. It’s in this stage of the process that we really want to make sure there are easy routes to follow from entry point all the way through to the eventual end goal. If you don’t spend enough time and thought on how visitors will move through the site, you run the very real risk of losing your audience to the ever-dreaded “bounce”.
Show them the way
Generally speaking, when people navigate through a website, they’re pretty much on auto-pilot. For whatever reason, they’ve ended up on the site, may have a question or two or just be interested in what you’re saying. Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to give them a path to follow so that you can craft the message and information you want them to read. When people are auto-browsing, the best thing you can do is give them big signs that point them to the next step.
It seems fairly straight-forward, doesn’t it? Give people direction on where to go, and they’ll generally follow – especially if they’re simply glancing at pages and processing very quickly. On web, where the average attention span is about 8 seconds per page, it’s a safe bet that audiences aren’t stopping to read every word and sentence.
As web professionals, we help clients figure out what they want to say, in what order, and how to present that information in a carefully crafted set of clicks, scrolls, and calls-to-action. In some cases, that flowchart may have only 2 or 3 steps, in other cases, it can have 5 or 6. No matter what the number of steps (though, sooner rather than later is always a good plan), it’s key to ensure you’ve thought out the pathway to conversion from start to finish.
After all, if you’ve managed to clarify and understand your main site goals, you want to make sure you give your visitors the best chance to get there.