In the horse racing world the Derby is a flat race – a smooth ride to the finish line.  The Grand National is one obstacle after another, some of them so huge that only a few of the riders manage to land safely on the other side.  So how many obstacles do visitors to your website have to get past to arrive safely at the point where they have the information they need to make a decision to contact you?
Here a few typical website obstacles:
•    A splash page – stops people getting your message right away and can be annoying if there’s lots of whizzy graphics on it.
•    No headline – your visitor can’t immediately tell whether your site addresses the issues they are trying to resolve and a few won’t bother to try any harder and hit the back button.
•    Too many choices – having to make a decision often results in deciding to find something ‘easier’ and hitting the ‘back’ button.
•    No easy hyperlinks to get to where you’re sending them.  If they have to scroll back up to the top, find the services choice on the menu and click – some won’t bother.
•    Too many choices on your menu; more than eight or nine and you’re giving your visitors too many – they won’t know where to start; some won’t bother.
•    What are the choices on the menu?  Are they straightforward like ‘About us’ or something more gimmicky like ‘Who we are?’  Is it ‘Contact us’ or ‘Where we’re at’?  Anything that requires your visitor to think creates another point at which some won’t – they’ll just leave.
•    No call to action – if you tell people about what you’ve got and don’t ask them to take action – some won’t do anything.
These are just a few of the fences that website put in front of their visitors – and then they’re surprised that so few people contact them from their website.
Search engine optimisation is great for bringing people to your website – but then you have to keep them there long enough to want to do business with you.  Every time you put a fence in their path, some of them will leave.  You’re reducing the possibilities of people finding out enough to buy what they want – from you.
Get smart and dismantle the fences and turn your Grand National into a Derby – a straight run to the winning post.

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