When people visit a website, they have their own goals for that. To reach the goal, they need to click on URLs to get to other pages and read text only to click further. What can you do to ensure that your site visitors can find what they are looking for?
What is a click path?
A click path is the sequence of links a site visitor follows, once landing on any of your pages (from the SERPs or not). To ensure that your visitor gets what he/she wants, you need to provide clear links on the landing page for the visitor to learn more or do any action he/she desires. To do this effectively, you need to follow a few basic rules.
Place links visibly
As much as it sounds awkward, it is as efficient. If you are familiar with a notion of eye tracking, you know that people view pages from top to bottom and from left to right (unless they read from right to left, then the pattern is different). So, your best bet would be to place links to learn more or do anything should be placed in the top-left part of your page, or the closest you can place them.
Also, you need to put the links above the fold (the visible part of a page, when the visitor hasn't started scrolling). While some say that visitors do scroll, you'd rather not risk it and make your link more visible as per advice above.
Have good text/background contrast
While this may sound as an excessive measure to increase visibility, having a low contrast text color can only work with people with 100% eyesight in ideal conditions. How many of your clients have those?
Standard contrast colors are black text on white background. It is the best readable combination and also the most familiar one. While you can deviate slightly (by making your text dark blue or other colors), you shouldn't go way too far.
Read more about choosing colors for your design.
Use the right words
Once your links are noticed, you need to make sure your visitors understand them. "Big deal!" I hear. The matter is, though, that your customers may not be experts in your field. They have their own lives and experiences. Consequently, they relate their own sets of words with your product.
Researching keywords using various tools can give you a glimpse of what words your customers use, so you could use them on your site. (This should be the primary purpose of using the tools, in my opinion, but I digress.)
Make it easy to understand
While using the right keywords, you should also use very simple words or synonyms, which should simplify your text and make it astonishingly easy to read and understand. The people will appreciate your care and will return it with their actions.
The point of understanding your customers is critical. You need to speak their mind, their language and deliver the kind of information and links they need at the right place and moment.
Once you have learned the basics before creating click paths, you need to remember this one: provide the information the visitor might need or link to the most probably pages he/she may want to visit. To do this, you need to take into account:
- where the visitor has come from (a Google Ad, another website or from organic search)
- in what stage of the buying process the visitor is (researching, comparing, learning more, looking to buy, etc)
- what kind of information the visitor needs (related products, product reviews, license pricing, etc)
- what existing page content says
- what would be the most logical next page to visit
Of course, each page is unique. And when a unique visitor lands on it, it creates a very unique situation you may not encounter for a while. This only means that you need to learn as much as you can about your customers and offer any necessary information and links your site visitors may need.
Use call to action
Another important moment to remember is to use call to action when creating links. Call to action is when you ask people to do something, such as to 'use call to action'.
For example, when confronted with advice or a request to read the article, people are more likely to follow the link and read the article, than acting on their own, if you just mention the other article.
On business websites, call to action should at least be used to inspire people to add products to shopping carts, learn more about the products, contact the website owner, buy the products or email their friends about a good deal on a website. Naturally, call to action can be used in all imaginary cases whenever you need people to do something - the only rule here is that they should be getting something in return.
Thanks, Steve, for reminding me about using call to action.
By truly understanding what your site visitors needs at any moment of time, you can create quite elaborate click paths, which should give your site visitor any information desired. Naturally, you will also improve your site internal structure as well as conversions.
Please note that this post only covered how 'read more' kind of links should be created. You still need to consider how well your website copy is written, which words you use in it and where and what you have to offer to your potential customers.
Learn how understanding click path helps you better understand how to place these helpful links and such.