Sunday, January 22, 2017

CROSS-LINK IT - For Better Sales and Leads

Cross-Linking Webpages Helps Customer and Search Engine Navigation.
Don't Maroon Your Customers!

Marooned in a Great Unknown Website!
Millions of dollars in potential sales and leads are lost on a daily basis thanks to poor or badly designed website navigation. In B-to-B web sales, this is especially important. Customers will only sacrifice so much time and effort to find a product or service.

Once frustrated, customers attempt to back-browse (back-browsing actions often result from a failure in navigation design) and/or try the internal search engine (fingers crossed). Faced with failure and frustration, the prospective customer then evacuates the website completely and goes to Google or directly to a competitor's website. A sale is lost because the customer couldn't quickly and efficiently find what they were looking for.

Cross-Linking relevant pages help customers find the product or service they want. It will help them find related products and services. It will make their experience easier and more efficient. Cross-Linking works, if used in a logical way.

A usability goal of any website should be "Don't Make Me Think" when customers navigate to find information. Along with top and side level navigation menus, cross linking can help a customer drill down, and drill down fast.

Example of effective and efficient cross-linking:
Cross Linking Helps People and Search Engines Find Your Stuff!
Related product links are listed on related product webpages. To pull related items together into a relevant cluster of webpages, web marketers must know the product lines and their customers. If web teams don't know the market in detail, they better learn. By working with sales teams, technical service staff, and customers web teams can better capture the niche product or service universe as your customer sees it.

Example of poor cross-linking, the Dead End Webpage:
This Dead End Webpage Customer Navigation Experience isn't going to end well!
Don't Maroon your customers. In this case, if a customer wanted a different size, style, or color they will leave your site. No options were given to see related products. What's more frustrating than to land on a webpage and not have useful navigation options to continue searching? Not much. If a landing page doesn't have what the customer wanted and the website offers no related options thanks to poor navigation and poor cross-linking, the chances are very high that visitor will leave your website and try searching again on a competitor's.

So much of successful website navigation is based upon common-sense. The key to success is understanding how your customer looks at your universe of products and services, and design your website to reflect that understanding. Cross-Links are knowledge bridges for customers and search engines, and a vital part of a good navigation system. Cross-Link for success!

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