When visitors come to your site, you need to give them something to focus on.
If nothing on the page captures their attention, the page looks unfinished and amateurish, at best.
And your visitors leave.
Sure, you need to grab their attention, but I’m not talking about writing strong headlines or understanding your customers’ innermost desires.
I’m talking about a critically important web design technique: how to use focus points to lead visitors to your conversion goals.
It’s something you need to be aware of even if you haven’t designed your own site and don’t do the updating.
Your designer might not know anything about it.
And that means your visitors might be leaving your site just as fast as they get there.
But a word of warning: focus points aren’t the easiest things to get right.
You should know how to use them, though, because they can make a huge difference in your conversion rates.
What are focus points?
“Focus point” isn’t a term you’ll find in marketing books, but it accurately describes the idea it represents.
Focus points are specific elements, such as images or text, that visitors are naturally drawn to.
Each of them should lead seamlessly to the next one.
When you’re in control of your visitors’ focus, you can tell them the right things in the right order and move them towards your conversion goals.
But if you lose that control, you lose your chance to persuade and influence them.
And when your visitors aren’t headed in the right direction, you can’t showcase your product’s benefits. You can’t handle their objections. You can’t encourage them to take the next step.
Don’t count on luck. Instead, take control of how people view your site.
The confusion sets in without them…
Imagine walking into the biggest store you’ve ever seen. There’s a nearly endless number of products and everything from vegetables and dairy products to high-powered drills and lawn mowers.
You’re distracted by all the possibilities, and shopping is next to impossible because the products aren’t in any recognizable order. Instead, they’re all mixed up randomly.
You just wanted to buy groceries, but it’s going to take hours to find all the things you need.
Will you stay, or will you go to the other side of the street to your usual grocery store?
This is how your visitors react if your site doesn’t have focus points.
They don’t immediately see the benefit of your site or what they could get from you. They don’t want to waste time.
And they only need to click a button to get to your competitors’ sites.
Get your site in focus
A page with no focus points is confusing.
Without them, visitors have to stop to think about whether they’ll stick around, where they should start, and where they should go next.
You shouldn’t expect that from them; it’s too much to ask. Instead, you should help them as much as you can.
The first focus point should tell them what the site is about. It has to be specific. For example, my topic isn’t “business” or “marketing.” It’s “converting visitors to subscribers and customers.”
The site’s name and tagline should usually (but not always) form the first focus point.
The second focus point should tell visitors what the individual page is about. It’s usually the main headline.
But after that things get more complicated.
The third focus point can be almost anything—what it is and what it should do depends on the page.
It can be a video, an image, a graphic, or some text depending on what you want your visitor to do next. It usually starts the actual content of the page, but there are many exceptions.
Regardless of what your site’s focus points are, they’re there to lead your visitors to your conversion goals.
Lead readers in the right direction
Focus points don’t necessarily make your site better. If not done right, they can just as easily make it worse.
Focus points increase your conversion rates only when they’re leading visitors exactly where you want them to go–on the site and in their thoughts.
What’s more, a focus point that isn’t conveying the right message and pointing in the right direction isn’t just neutral, it’s a huge distraction.
If your focus points aren’t capturing attention or if something is wrong with the direction, you’re not only pushing visitors away from your goals, you might be pushing them away from your site altogether.
So, before you start thinking about focus points, you need to know the shortest, most persuasive path to your objective.
Focus points can help you lead visitors to that path, and they can help you keep visitors moving forward.
But unless you’re communicating the right things, your visitors will leave your site anyway.
Focus points can create huge differences in your conversion—positive or negative.
They’re hardly ever neutral; they’re either working for you or against you.
If you’re not sure they’re working for you, I can help you get them right.
But most importantly, don’t forget focus points. And don’t just blindly copy what you see on other sites—maybe they’re working, but usually they’re not. You need your own focus points geared to your site, your goals, and your products or services.