Meeting Your Site Visitors Needs -
You only have about 10 seconds to satisfy a site visitors curiosity before he runs out of patience. If a user visits your site from a Search engine search (Google, Bing, etc) there is always a little anxiety that user experiences when selecting a site from a list.
That anxiety comes from the cumulative concern of making a poor decision from selecting a link that will ultimately waste their precious time and the concern that they will not have time to look at the whole list of websites returned by the search engine (Google, Bing) thus missing out on finding the perfect solution.
We have about 10 seconds to entice them and lead them to believe they have found the correct site by giving them just enough small pieces of information on the home page to get them to make the ultimate sacrifice - THE TIME COMMITMENT! Once a visitor commits to spend time on your site the journey to find the perfect solution should come to an end.
With that in mind I need you to ask yourself (or even better a colleague) the following question:
What are the 6 most important pieces of information a site visitor is going to want to know in order to follow a link further into the site?
This is referred to as Pull - Meeting your site visitors needs means that they can come to your site and gather the information most important to them. This information should be easy to spot with a quick glance, it should be short and to the point, it should also be visually alluring.
As a site owner your needs are important too, after all it is why you have a site. It is important to know what goals, as a site owner, you have for the site as well.
This is referred to as Push - What are the 4 most important pieces of information you want to get from or give to the site visitor (what am I trying to accomplish)?
Let me help you with this one, it should be something like:
(example call to action in Blue)
1. Sell them the product or service - BUY NOW / Inquire Now
2. Convince them of how good you are and why they should use you (bragging is good) - Read Our Latest News...
3. Provide a User only resource - So they return to the site recognized and consider your site a leading resource or authority. Register Today
4. Get them to subscribe to your newsletter to keep your service or product fresh in their minds - Newsletter Subscription
Notice that each Push item was followed by a call to action. It is important to know that your push can not come at the expense of your site visitors pull. In other words, if gathering a newsletter is so important to you that your newsletter pop-up blocks the information that they came to find, your one and only chance may evaporate. They may hit the back button and choose another website from the pile rather than hitting the close button on that popup (which they didn't know you well enough to give you their email address anyway) because they didn't see anything that they were looking for. It is also important to note that they are not going to give you anything if they don't find any value in it, sort of a quid pro quo situation. The value they get needs to be so much greater than the task of deleting unwanted emails. If you are going to be successful in your push you need to really deliver something of value.
There are a lot of new tools and tricks for attracting site visitors but sometimes it's just understanding a user's needs that makes the difference.