Your Site is not a Popular Destination


People make land on it, maybe even get lost or frustrated in it, and then they will bounce around somewhere else.

You know it, traffic is generated to just a few pages on most Websites that are optimized for organic search.

And length of visit to those pages is often dictated by poor user experience, and lack of thoughtful content strategy, rather than true interest and the ever elusive engagement.

Imagine getting lost in a maze of streets somewhere where you can't see where you're going. Unlike this beautiful view where you may not mind getting lost a little.

This is affecting your ability to help transform buyers into customers, or contributing heavily to it being the case. Never mind joining social networks, loyalty is an illusion if you're not providing helpful content and interactions — when and where people are looking for them online.

What are those areas of need? Most notably:

  • contact us page — you'd think that by now organizations would have figured it out, this is the most visited page. You'd have to give away round trips to heaven for eighteen people to top those organic searches. Why? Because people who look for your contact page, mean business. If all you have there are PO Box mail to addresses, and one 800-number, you are missing opportunity to connect because they don't know where to put their information to tell you more.
  • product review pages — out beyond marketing fluff and press release puffery and scientific evidence there is a knowledgeable and passionate product page, I'll meet you there. People want to hear what your engineers, scientists, product people think about the product. They also want to read from people like them. Offer your commentary on video, too. Host moderated reviews. Would you rather they wade through pages and pages of forums, and other assorted sites instead? Official still has value. Be proud of what you do, people can tell when you don't believe in it.
  • join the tribe — yes, I know, this page doesn't exist on most sites. Because they're still written and seen through the lens of branding of old, with a few benefits thrown up front for good measure. Sites are often all about optimizing faster and better when the reality is that cheaper is the old superlative that matters if that is the case. Unless, you give people a reason to care. Tribes form around passion points, things that make a product or service feel authentic, think for example Ducati.

In other words, you have a couple of choices to make your site a destination — offer utility and value by giving people what thy're looking for, and/or give people a great place to hang out with other people. You can organize that place in a way that makes you, the host, welcome and sought after.

This whole post was inspired by a fruitless search that will probably result in a hopeless call through a phone maze. Buyers may put up with all of it in a lesser of two evils kind of way. Don't expect them to spend more than they need to with you in that case; or to tell anyone they should do business with you.

At best, you're not even getting a mention.

[image of Lake Garda, which was indeed a popular destination growing up at a mere 40 minutes from it]

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0 responses to “Your Site is not a Popular Destination”

  1. Once in a while somebody says what everybody already knows in a way that reminds us to do what we knew all along we should have been doing.
    I think this snippet from this post qualifies as such brilliant advice:
    “In other words, you have a couple of choices to make your site a destination — offer utility and value by giving people what they’re looking for, and/or give people a great place to hang out with other people.”
    So true, so simple and yet so overlooked.
    The funny thing is that the same thing could be said of building a great business. To get people’s attention, you either have to consistently give them exactly what they’re looking for and/or create a social experience they’ll never forget.
    Thank you for your good work.

  2. Two sides of a coin:
    I sympathize with your customer service frustration, Valeria. I got an (unrequested) iPod Touch for Xmas and all the required steps to set it up – mandatory iTunes account, mandatory credit card/billing informtion to create the account, mandatory this, that, and the other – mean I will be using it to stream Pandora on an old stereo in the garage while working on the car and not much else. Apple’s forcing customers through the front door under the premise of “convenience” still has me considering quietly listing the thing on Craigslist so I can get something else. I digress.
    On the other side of the coin, had you not been inspired to posit these thoughts, I might have indefinitely missed the Ducati post, which I have no bookmarked for easy reference. This is exactly what we’re trying to do. Rather than showing a product, we’re showing people their potential. Once that hits critical mass…
    Oh yeah. 2011 is going to be great. 🙂

  3. Agree to all of the above!
    And, Valeria, you didn’t touch upon the fact that so many organizations are devoting a lot of their online resources (money and staff) to developing third-party-owned company Facebook pages, rather than investing in their 100 per cent owned real estate space (websites and/or blogs).
    Did you have a chance to listen to (my good friend and colleague) Ira Basen’s recent one-hour CBC Radio documentary on search? (Engineering Search: The story of the algorithm that changed the world). Although it was a general interest documentary (suitable for the Sunday Edition’s broad audience demographics), the ah-ha moment for me (as a PR practitioner) was a comment by Rebecca Lieb (vice president at Econsultancy and author of the book, The Truth about Search Engine Optimization). Rebecca talks about a client who was in the business of lending money. Staff were convinced that the company website should focus on “lendor.” She convinced them that the average person would do a search for “borrowing money.”
    The end copy focused on what the end-user wanted, rather than what the organization was about.
    (You can still listen to the documentary, either online in its entirety, or as a podcast download, with some of the original music stripped out and the introduction changed slightly.)

  4. @Leo – strangely enough, I was talked to like I was an idiot by a telemarketing rep representing the company I was looking to reach on the phone when I finally got connected after two hang ups and one 60-minute hold. Organizations are rushing to social media without understanding that all good will in customer conversations is wiped out by aggressive marketing tactics. Lack of utility on the site snowballed what this company’s marketing group arranged as a waste of my time. The whole system needs a reboot.
    @Brian – in my case I opted in Apple products because they are easier to use for what I need to get done. Simple. Microsoft has been the master at locking people into their systems, except for their stuff was more ubiquitous. There are still plenty of marketers, and businesses, as Leo said in his comment, who don’t think through the consequences of bland sites, products, and business practices. Shocked that you had not seen that post. I must have hidden it really well.
    @Judy – sometimes I forget to put what I’ve written before in future posts. Indeed, I am a big fan of building your own platform vs. sharecropping (it was in the title of another post where I wrote about that specific issue). Thank you for sharing the resource.

  5. @Sabine – a helpful acronym for sure. Thank you for stopping by.
    @Gabriele – it is the most overlooked page. Nobody seems to own it, yet every group should be on it so customers have an easier time finding what they need.

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