Why would anyone put a barrier between their message and their potential customer?  When this is online where you have only a few seconds to get their attention, it doesn’t make any sense, but many businesses make it unnecessarily hard for their readers to get their message.  Why?

It’s usually because they have no idea that they’re turning their potential clients off.  Every time you put an obstacle in their way, some of your readers will give up and go somewhere else – that’s fewer customers for you.  The secret is to know what sends them running away and remove as many barriers as possible.

Very few people know how we engage with and process information – the more you know, the fewer obstacles you’ll expect your reader to scramble over.  Here are a few things that cause readers to think “This is too difficult, I’ll just go back to the list and try a different website.”

1.  Where do I start?

This is usually the result of a webpage with no single dominant message that connects with the reader.  Don’t forget the power of a good headline in a big enough font size that people can’t miss it.

2.  Don’t ask me to make a decision!

If your web page resembles a patchwork quilt with lots of different boxes, headlines, buttons, etc. don’t be surprised if your readers can’t make their minds up and simply disappear in favour of something ‘easier’.

3.  If I have to squint to read, I probably won’t.

Font size needs to be no smaller than 10 point (ideally a bit bigger).  Also if the background is a darker colour than the text people will get a dazzle effect, which means they have to make an effort to read at all – many won’t bother.

4.  I missed your key message altogether.

If I’m looking at your site on an iPad or notepad and I can’t see anything below a big picture at the top of the page, it means I’m going to have to work to find out what you’re trying to tell me.  Unless I have a compelling reason to explore further I might not bother  – and why should I?  Women usually try harder than men, but generally we have a short attention span!

5.  I know what to do, but I have to work out how to do it.

If you’ve asked your visitor to do something i.e. go to another page, email you, phone you, sign up to your list, but they now how to work out how to do what you’ve asked e.g. scroll back up to the menu to find the page; search for an email address or phone number; find out where the sign up box is – how many may not bother?

This is just the tip of the iceberg – do you know how many obstacles you’ve got on your website that stop people buying your products or using your services?
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