Perhaps the first thing anyone should learn about small business website design is, "Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should." It's common for businesses to overload their website visitors with information, simply because there's room for it, unlike on something with physical packaging. Many believe that if they don't explain every aspect of their business and services that people won't buy, but the truth is, most consumers don't want that at all.
So what do consumers want? They want only the information that they came for, as quickly as possible, and as a result you must take steps to make the purchasing process as painless as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to correctly employ Calls-to-Action, or CTAs. A CTA is a pretty simple device: it's a short sentence, link, or button that prompts the visitor to take the next step by taking an action.
You've probably seen them before, we have one or more CTAs on every page of our own website. Have you ever seen a blog end with a link to additional content relevant to the post you've just read, or an invitation to subscribe to blog content in the footer of a website? Those are CTAs. What they do, is give a consumer an action to do, usually an action that's low-risk or risk-free.
So why are CTAs such an important part of web design?
Keep the Visitor's Attention
Every second someone is on your website is a second they could be somewhere else, like checking their Facebook feed or clicking through a competitor's website. Keeping their attention is incredibly important because unlike in the physical world, where it's hard to pack up and go to another store, checking out another website is completely painless.
As consumer attention spans dwindle, it becomes more and more crucial to supply them only with the information needed to keep their focus on your website until you can push them through to conversion. By using well-written and well-placed CTAs in your website design you can significantly reduce page abandonment and help users take the "next step."
When you think about food packaging, all of the information you need is there -- ingredients, nutritional facts, instructions, and company info. The packaging for most food is handled, and regulated, in a similar way so that you can easily navigate to what you want to know.
Website design should do this, too. Help your website visitors get the info they came for rapidly and then tell them where they can get more with CTAs. You can have more than one CTA on a page, specific to its content, to better help customers find the information most relevant to their needs.
In other words, you don't want your website to be a wall of text or a scavenger hunt. Properly utilized CTAs fix both of these problems.
Fight Consumer Apathy
The truth is, most website visitors won't take an action unless it's offered to them. Making no choice is easier than making a choice at all -- but once you use a CTA, visitors now have options right in front of them.
The basic reason CTAs work is they keep your visitors from forgetting the choices they can make on your website. They might not have arrived with the intention to buy or go to the next page, but with the right CTAs you could help them get there. Good website design draws attention to this, never assuming a customer will recognize all of their options.
Tying all of these concepts together is crucial for effective small business website design. Keep it simple, so you can keep visitors focused and moving towards conversion.
Looking for help building the right CTAs into a more effective website design strategy? Swing by our Website Design services page, we'd be glad to help!