by Nick Usborne
November 28, 2006

All too often, Web pages, even homepages, provide readers with a
variety of choices, but don’t really provide a clear way forward.

This is particularly true when a site has multiple products or services to sell.

But this lack of direction is also evident on some sites that have just a single offering.

Help your visitors move forward…

If visitors read your homepage and become interested in something you are selling or offering, what should they do next?

Where should they click? Are they ready to go directly to the order
page? Would conversions be higher if visitors first read a full sales

One way or another, you need to make it simple and obvious to the reader what he or she should do next.

I have seen pages where you read and read down the center column for
two or three screens, but then there is no link forward at the end of
the text. You have to scroll back up and actively look for links that
might advance you toward buying the products.

I have seen pages where you read and read, but then have to scroll
back up to find the “Next Step” link further up the page, sometimes
even in another column.

I have seen pages where you read the text and find three or four
different hyperlinks within the text… but no primary link at the end
of the page. So which of those links should I click on?

The more you make your readers struggle, the lower your conversion rates…

To optimize any sequence of sales pages, you need to make it blindingly obvious what the reader should do next.

Of course, it is not always the case that you have just one pathway
available. It may be that you have several, or even hundreds of
products or services people can choose from.

But the principle remains the same, whether your sales sequence is two pages in length, or five.

Regardless of the underlying complexity of the site, on the surface
you have to make it very clear to every reader what he or she should do
to take that next step forward.

The more passive you are, the more you leave it to the reader to
figure out, the lower your conversions will be. People will become
lost—they’ll lose momentum and give up.

Put another way: It should never be the reader’s responsibility to
have to work hard to find the product or service being sought, and then
buy it.

Instead, readers should find themselves clearly directed along a clear, simple, and short pathway of pages.

How do you achieve this?

Put at its simplest, each page not only has to fulfill its own
purpose but also has to pre-sell the reader on the next page to view.

In other words, every page has to be written and designed not as a
standalone source of information but as part of a dynamic, linear

And each page in that sequence has to build momentum in a forward direction.