We know that something like 80% of visitors will abandon our sites without finishing headline. And we know that "What's in this for me?" is question every visitor asks immediately. We know we must demonstrate there is something here that matters. And we must do so quickly. Within seconds.
Suppose you have worked at this. And suppose you have this right, or at least close. What next?
Show Them The Good Stuff
The next step is to quickly reveal what is available on site and why each segment matters. There must be a promise of complete information, and this promise must be kept. A page of banners, by contrast, will never work.
The Contrary View In Place
For some time now I've wanted to get into a hobby-type thing to give my days a better balance. I tend to just keep working, unless I build in alternate fun things of some kind or another.
Then it hit me. I love growing stuff. But where I live, this means a greenhouse to keep out gophers, rabbits and especially deer. So I went surfing, something I seldom do.
Thoroughly excited with idea, I fired up computer, went to AltaVista, and entered, "hot house" + plants. Not best starting place, but hey, I was seriously surfing for something I had never before tried to find on Web. A glance at first 10 listings showed I had wrong key word. The fourth item caught my attention.
"Your #1 Stop for old fashion Cottage Plants, once your Grandmother used to grwow."
An Odd Happening
I'm by nature a thoughtful, somewhat introspective fellow. So I was taken by surprise by feelings that washed over me in looking at above listing. "Who heck is this joker? Two misused words in site description that a spell checker can't find. Maybe "grwow" is a word, but I don't recognize it. Does this clown know anything? Am I really expected to click on this nonsense?"
Note lack of reason in my response. Which was frustration that converted to anger so quickly I did not notice change. "Who heck are you, wasting my time like this?" I muttered out loud. And instead of thinking things over, which is my usual mode, I plunged on with an aggressive demanding attitude I don't recall ever having before.
Next Stop: Greenhouse
Mostly greenhouse effects regards planet. Of no interest at all. (Well, sure. Critical stuff. But not just then.) So I tried greenhouses (plural). Better. So AltaVista sees plural as different from singular. I decided to try to remember that, but knew I wouldn't.
A furious scan of descriptions followed. I clicked on those that seemed promising. On every third one I hit back button, for site didn't seem to want to load.
Site after site was lovely. Virtually all were catalog operations. Lots of pictures with options for bigger ones. And lots of "Add To Cart" buttons. But little information about much of anything. I'm going to spend $500 to $5000 based on a picture? Has everybody lost their mind?
I was surprised when I glanced at clock. I had "visited" over 50 sites in less than 45 minutes. This may be essence of surfing to many. Frankly, it's first time I recall "attacking" a topic in such fashion.
Some sites offered gardening tips. None appeared to feature great content or solid information that would help me make a practical decision. I saw no mention of need for heating and cooling. I guess these ups and extras are meant to come as a surprise. And I did not find mention of how well their stuff can handle two feet of snow, which I get routinely here in foothills of Sierra Nevadas.