These days everything is about choice.
There are hundreds of TV channels, utility providers, mobile phone options, and even marketing consultants! And they all want your business. The choice is endless and, therefore, better, right?
Well, life would be much simpler if we only had one choice to make (as long as it was always the right one!). In fact, www.confused.com and its competitors have built their businesses on the fact that what people really want is simplicity in an overly complex market.
People also want simplicity on the websites they visit. They would rather only have a few easy choices, simply presented than hundreds of choices. A choice on your website isn’t just about which product or service your visitor wants it’s every single hyperlink, graphic, menu item, video/audio control, button, etc. they can click on. Each clickable element on your website represents a choice you are asking your visitor to make.
To illustrate this point let’s take two examples: Google and Yahoo!.
Here’s Google’s home page.
There are 15 ‘things’ to click on (and it's remained at that level for years). However, in real terms, there are only three; the search bar, and the two buttons beneath it. Google knows that the vast majority of people will only click on the search bar and so that’s the focus of their homepage. (Showing search results which contain paid advertising is how Google earns most of its money so it’s important to them that you see search results more than anything else.)
Now let’s take a look at Yahoo!’s home page. If you're looking for Yahoo's homepage - Google it. 😁
The Yahoo! homepage has over 150 things to click on (actually I lost count twice, being distracted three times by their news stories). Yahoo!, like Google, also earns the majority of its revenue from paid advertising which relies on the visitor seeing search results. However, the chances of them even beginning their search are pretty unlikely given how many other choices are screaming for their attention.
The more choices you bombard your visitor with (call now, fill in this form, click here, look at our products, etc.) the more likely they are to leave your website without taking any action at all.
Because people on the Internet make decisions quickly and if they are overwhelmed by choices they'll leave in search of a website that offers simpler options.
So, consider your homepage for the moment. Here are three-pointers to get people to take action.
Decide on a handful of choices you want your visitor to take that will get them closer to YOUR goal.
Make it REALLY obvious to them what they need to do (click, call, fill in the form, etc.) but don't offer them so many contact options it creates overwhelm.
CLEARLY tell them what the benefit is when they take action.
Our experience is that if you simplify your homepage so that your visitor has only a few easy choices to make then more people will take the action you really want them to take. Success springs from simplicity, underpinning the lesson. So, which would you rather be a Google or a Yahoo!?