Writing Website Content: Accommodating Different Types of Site Visitors

By Nick Alter
July 22, 2016

writing website content

“How?” she said to me, “When writing website content, how do I accommodate people who come to my website who know what they want, and also those who still need to be convinced they need my services?”

She’s a new client who’s had a website for a while. She’s engaged us to build a new site that will increase her interaction with both of those audiences.

Her’s is a good question. A valid one. Let’s take a look at it.

The Two Types of Site Visitors

Visitor One has encountered you on social media. Your statements there, consistent posts, and engagement with others have convinced her she needs your services. When she arrives at your site, she wants to contact you.

Visitor Two needs what you do. Through a search engine query, she’s arrived at your site. She’s never heard of you. She’s encountering your message for the first time.

Visitor One : Give Her What She Needs—NOW

Accommodating Visitor One is simple, but it’s a step so often overlooked. Give her the ability to do what she wants, in this case, contact you. Put the information where she is looking for it. Make it simple.

I’ll say it again. Make it simple.

If you’re a service company. A restaurant. Any brick-and-mortar. Provide your phone number—right there, at the top of your page. On mobile, this phone number can be clicked and then will call you. See? Simple. 

Let’s review the steps:

1. She arrives at your page. 

2. She sees and clicks (or dials) the phone number. 

3. She calls you.

4. You are now talking to someone who wants your services (= money*).

*Yay!

Some businesses (I am looking at you Restaurant Industry) try to be fancy and tuck this information away. The phone number—and even more inexplicable—their address are in the footer (not a terrible place for it), but still not the first place the visitor will see. I’ve seen this information on about pages, menu pages in the middle of the appetizers, and there’s been more than a few where I can’t find this information at all. (Really? What’s a restaurant’s customers’ number one need? Find the restaurant.)

Ok. So back to visitor experience. Here’s the difference if the phone number is in the footer on the site. (This example is on mobile, a platform on which most visitors arrive.)

1. She arrives at your page. 

2. She looks for your phone number. (Time wasted.)

3. She doesn’t see it. (She’s a little frustrated.)

4. She scrolls down. (Time wasted.)

5. She scrolls down. (Time wasted.)

6. Wifi is slow, the site stutters. (MORE time wasted.)

7. She arrives at the bottom of the site.

8. She sees and clicks (or dials) the phone number. 

9. She calls you.

10. You are now talking to someone who wants your services (= money).

In the second interaction you’ve already cost your potential client. You’ve tested her patience, which few of us have on the internet. You have precious moments with those coming to your site. If they know what they want, you have to give it to them now.

Contacting you is a prime need of visitors. Phone number, address, buttons leading to your contact page to send an email—these are all common items included at the top of a site’s pages. However, depending on your business, this might be a newsletter sign-up, or link out to your social media platforms.

Visitor Two : Tell Her Your Story and Invite Her to Come Along

Visitor Two: she needs what you do, but doesn’t know anything about you. You have a little more time with her, because she’s open to gathering information to make her decision. However, you still need to make your case quickly and clearly.

The elements of a well-built home page—and interior pages—lead the visitor on a journey. She is presented with the prime theme of the site: a headline and imagery that boils down the purpose of your business into a few, quickly understood words.

Scrolling down the website, this statement is supported and defined by things like:

  • The elevator statement: a slightly longer definition of your company’s offerings and objectives.
  • Graphic presentations of your services.
  • Logos, testimonials, or review site ratings add credence to your claims.
  • A video of you or your company in action.
  • Blog feeds, kept up to date, show you are savvy and present in the industry.

On the home page, each of these items are brief, a few words or graphically presented concepts. Each is accompanied by an action—a link or button urging interaction—taking her deeper into the site. There she will be further educated, convinced, and spurred to act.

By the time she reaches the bottom of the home page, and is presented with the final encouragement to contact you, she should be sold. After all, she’s gone on a guided trip, guided by YOU. You’ve given her the best story you have, told your tale.

Visitor Three : The Invisible Presence

There is one visitor, too, for whom all of the above applies. Though this visitor is silent, there’s a strong case for saying it’s the most important visitor of all.

The search engines—those internet robots made up of code probe your site. They’re digging for clues that you are who you say you are; that you do what you say you do. Their goal is to present the best on the tops of their lists. 

There were once multiple strategies in the past for luring them, and even fooling them, but now the best strategy is strong, relevant content, in positions on the page where their human counterparts would look for them.

Accommodating All the Visitors

An effective website provides your visitors with what they need. Whether it’s a phone number, or more information to make a decision, the best sites do this in a quick and clear way. As you consider your website, consider your objectives, what you want your visitors to do, and then put things in easily accessible places. We’ll all thank you for it.

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