How to Manipulate Website Visitors
Everyone Has An Agenda
When we watch our favorite television programs like ‘CSI’ or ‘House’, we knowingly and even gladly allow ourselves to be manipulated. When we watch the evening news we Human Website Visitors are also being manipulated, knowingly or not, by the selection and presentation of stories that have been filtered through a series of network agendas ranging from the benign time constraints of a thirty-minute broadcast to the more suspicious dictates of network and sponsor interests.
Websites are vehicles for communicating content to an audience as well, and like your favorite television show, or evening news, that communication is not neutral; it comes with an agenda and that agenda should be yours.
If your website designer is not developing your site within a framework created to communicate your marketing information, then you are not getting the website you need. If your website designer is merely a technical programmer and not a communicator then you have picked the wrong supplier.
Whether you are selling an idea, a product, or a service doesn’t matter; what matters is you are trying to convince your audience that what you have to offer will benefit them in some way. You are manipulating your presentation to your advantage. That does not mean that you should be dishonest or deceitful, but rather just skilled in getting your message across.
To manipulate, as defined, in part by wordreference.com, means to ‘control or influence skillfully, usually to one’s advantage’. Like it or not that’s the job of a professional website designer: to skillfully influence an audience to the website owner’s advantage.
Bad Websites Use Technical Solutions to Solve Communication Problems
Website designers constantly hear complaints from business owners and marketing executives that their websites are underperforming and their ROI is anemic. This is not surprising when so many websites are developed based on attracting traffic rather than skillfully influencing audience opinion. You can attract all the traffic your server can handle but if your message is lost in a labyrinth of search engine-friendly requirements it will not influence, persuade, or convince anybody of anything.
It used to be that technical agendas formulated by IT departments where a significant cause of website communication deficit, but today that torch has been passed on to the SEO guru promising to deliver the multitudes but more likely creating a severe case of information and performance anxiety. Technology is not an end; it is merely the means to an end, and when it comes to websites that end is communication.
The technical aspects of website design are fairly easy to learn for anyone who is willing to take the time to learn them – let’s face it, it’s not rocket science. As a consequence there are lots of technical website programmers creating ineffective communication solutions. Professional website designers must be expert communicators practiced in the art of skillful message manipulation and communication delivery.
Defining An Appropriate Website Agenda
In order for your website to be an affective marketing communication vehicle it should be build around an agenda that accomplishes the following tasks:
1. Attract interest
2. Focus attention
3. Convey attitude
4. Enhance understanding
5. Generate confidence
6. Stimulate desire
7. Motivate action
If you check your website logs and find that people are leaving your site as fast as they are arriving, then you have an problem. All that time and effort you spent on optimizing your site for the search engines to attract visitors is wasted if those visitors don’t stay long enough to get your marketing message. Visitors will leave your site within seconds if your splash page is confusing or irrelevant to their needs. Your initial contact with your audience must capture their attention by quickly establishing that you are the source of the information, products, or services they are looking for.