Minimize Clicks to Maximize Profits

Okay, let’s say you’re looking for a certain product and you’ve just performed a Google search and found a prospective website.  CLICK.  You land on the splash page.  You CLICK on ‘enter site’.  After looking around the home page, you find the products tab.  CLICK.  Now, you’re on the products page.  There are a lot of items for sale, broken down into categories.  You CLICK on the category you think it might be under but don’t see it.  You CLICK on another one, but it’s not there either.  So you type the product into the search box and… CLICK.  Now, you’ve found it. 

You’re interested and want more info.  You CLICK the ‘more info’ button and read the details.  Everything sounds good.  So you CLICK ‘add to order’.  That’s all you wanted and feel good about your purchase so you CLICK the ‘checkout’ button.  Since you are a new customer, you have to CLICK ‘register’ to continue.   Now you have to fill in all of your information. 

If you are one of the lucky ones and don’t overlook any of the blank spaces, you CLICK ‘continue’ where you now have to choose a user name and password.  Typing in this info, you CLICK another ‘continue’ button.  Now it asks for your credit card information.  Once again, you CLICK to get to the next page.  Now, if everything is good, you have to confirm your order by CLICKING another button.  Congratulations!  You only have a few more CLICKS to go before you’re done with the process.

For those of you playing along at home, that’s 15+ clicks already and you haven’t even got an order confirmation yet.  At any point of the process, a website owner runs the risk of frustrating its visitors and the prospective buyer calling it quits.  There could be a glitch in the system on one page that prevents you from continuing on.  It could be human error on the side of the buyer too or life in general interrupts the process (phone calls, screaming kids, tornados – been there, done that).  The bottom line, the more clicks it takes to place an order on your website, the more chances for the sale to fail.

Yesterday, a number of us went out on our lunch break.  Just our luck, the restaurant of our choice was seemingly the restaurant of choice for half the town.  There was a 40 minute wait.  With only an hour break, we settled for the burger joint across the street.  The place was loud and the food was crappy, but we were back in time for our one o’clock meeting.  Unfortunately, most internet users have that lunch break mentality whenever they surf the internet.  People want it fast and they want it easy, whether they’re looking for a blog post to read, an item to buy or a video to watch.

People also have a lot going on in their lives.  If you have their attention, strike while the iron is hot.  And don’t distract your website visitor, even for an instant, from completing their mission.  How many times have you gone to your email account to send a message, only to notice new emails?  And how many times have you logged back off after reading those new emails, completely forgetting about the message you sat down to send in the first place?  Don’t feel bad – that happens to the majority of us.  It’s the same with surfing the web, watching TV or going into the kitchen for a late night snack.

So how many clicks does it take for visitors to get to the center of your proverbial Tootsie Pop?  Three?  Thirteen?  Twenty-three?  If you currently think it’s too many, it’s probably way too many.  Maybe it’s time to streamline your website and cut down on those excessive clicks.

If you have only one or two products, it may make sense to put the description and order button right on the home page.  If you have a lot of products, are they easy to find with a click or two?  If visitors can’t find the information they came for quickly, they’ll leave.  We live in an instant gratification society.  Unless one of your visitors really, really, really wants what you have, they won’t stick around for long.

Your website needs to hold their interest and guide them through the process as quick as possible with just a few clicks.  They should be able to tell from your home page where they need to go and understand it is only a click or two away.  If you can do that, your bounce rate will decrease and your sales will take off.

There’s another term that’s equally important.  It’s called click degradation.  Click degradation is the gradual rate of visitor loss after clicks and page visits.

Let’s say 1,000 people visit your website.  If your click degradation rate is 50%, then only 500 people will click to another page.  Keeping the same degradation rate, 250 will click through to a third page.  In other words, 75% of potential sales have already been lost after just two clicks.  It won’t take much degradation to lose a large chunk of prospective customers if there are a number of clicks standing in their way between them and a purchase.

Once the purchase process begins, it should be simple steps to complete.  Just because they’ve committed to buy doesn’t mean they will.  If the process is complicated or confusing, they can still opt out at any time.  Make sure your shopping cart is quick and easy for your customers to use.  If not, switch to a better one.

If a visitor wants to go from point A to B, it should be one click away – not several.  A good website not only has great content, but it has great content that’s organized in a way that it’s found with very little effort and not much thought involved.  The easier it is for your visitors to navigate around your website, the more sales you’ll be able to generate.

Click degradation can also be greatly reduced if you optimize your web pages so that visitors land directly on their area of interest, rather than automatically landing on the home/splash page.  Now you know why digital agencies stress the point that each page should be as SEO friendly as possible.

And don’t forget about your social media pages.  Are the links easily accessible from every page of your website?  And is the link to your website easily found on all of your social media sites?

Rethinking the way your visitors get to your money pages is critical for the success of your website.  It’s never too late to minimize clicks and maximize profits.

Questions?

How many clicks do your website visitors have to perform before they can make a sale?  Do you feel it’s too many?  Are you taking steps to minimize website clicks?  Let us know your thoughts.  We want to hear from you!

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