Capture zero resistance website usability by following the way of the lazy web surfer. Yes, you should be gearing your web copy towards the lazy web surfer. We live in the Twitter generation with the attention span of a gnat. Here’s what you should do…
Website Usability the Lazy Web Surfer Way
By Sid Smith
Hey there … Remember when websites were simple… a single landing page was often enough to do the trick, draw in readers, make sales… everything a web owner could ask for.
That’s often not the case anymore. Depending on the site and the industry, complex, multi-page sites are becoming the norm. Visitors expect a depth and breadth of information that can satisfy their every question and then some.
In the words of Nick Usborne, “Multi-page websites are complicated beasts.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
When you’re writing for the web, you aren’t just worried about content. You’re also worried about where that content goes and how it’s found and how it interconnects with other content on the same site. In other words, website usability becomes incredibly important. The more complex your site, the simpler you want it to be to move around in. This might seem like an insurmountable task, but let me show you how you can cue into the lazy web surfer and make the whole process much easier.
Here’s what to do:
1. Hand Over Your Clothes …
When you create a website, you’re whole dynamic with your audience changes. You aren’t just broadcasting a message randomly and hoping it reaches the right audience. Your visitors come to you searching for something specific. They’re like Arnold in the first Terminator movie–they want your clothes. Now.
From the second they arrive until the moment they leave, there is something specific that they want from your site. They don’t want to think about it or search for it… they want it to present itself.
Your visitors scan your page from most dominant picture, then to the headline, and next to the navigation bar. Imagine a big letter “F” printed across the page. The stem and the two cross lines are where your reader’s eye wants to go.
If they don’t find what they want or if your navigation is confusing, you’ll lose them and you’ll lose them fast.
2. Harry, Get the Snitch!
You can deliver magical results to your clients by tossing on your invisibility cloak and watching the lazy web surfer in action. Even better, go online and be the lazy web surfer for a spell… get it, a spell?
Whenever you go to a new page whether it’s a homepage or something buried a little deeper, ask yourself this: What do I want from this page?
It’s a simple question, but remember… the lazy web surfer has a one-track mind. Like Harry scanning a Quidditch match for the golden snitch, the lazy web surfer is only interested in what he wants… not in the other things happening around him.
Your job as the web copywriter and web usability expert is to direct the lazy surfers attention straight to that ONE thing that he wants.
Here’s a headline that demonstrates this. From Rich Schefren’s site:
Why You’re Only One Business Obstacle Away From a Million-Dollar Payday
That’s a headline that will make even the laziest surfer scroll down the page to read more.
3. Ask and it Shall Be Given
Once you’ve got a sense of how the lazy web surfer thinks, you’ll see that he’s not into playing games with you. The fact that some of the highest converting web pages aren’t afraid to put the call to action at the top right of page proves this.
Don’t hide your call to action. Ask the lazy surfer outright to do what you want him to do, and you’ll be surprised at how well it works.
You’ll often see the call to action at the top part of the right-hand column this is a natural place for readers to pause as they scan the page. Place the call to action there and – this is important – allow it to stand alone in that column.
Your clients will want to make their website complicated because it gives them a sense of importance. Don’t take that bait. Simplify. If you can make the complex simple as an online copywriter, your work will be golden and your dance card will always be full.