GPS is a wonderful thing. I revel in the fact that anytime someone tries to give me directions I can just hold up a hand and say, “No worries. I know how to get there.” I don’t, but Google Maps does and has yet to fail me.

However, GPS has turned us into complacent journeymen and women. We’ve become so used to having it – and others having it – that we are losing the ability to give clear directions to someone else on how to get from point A to point B.

Try it. How would you explain how to get to your house to your office mates for a dinner party? You have to think about it, don’t you? Do you know all the street names? Do you know the quickest route?

Analog GPSNo. You don’t have to. Thanks to GPS.

It wasn’t long ago that someone would call and ask directions. They wrote them down. Some more enterprising jotted down the address and referred to a printed, physical map. But you typically needed to say, “Take the expressway to exit 11. Turn left. Go to the third light and take a right on Second Street. Take the first right and it’s six houses down on the left.” Then you’d repeat half of it because they were writing it all down. (For you youngsters in the audience, Google “paper.” Fascinating.)

But the art of giving someone directions to find their way is a detrimental thing to lose in the craft of planning your small business website. Your job in constructing everything from the home page to the contact form and everything in between is to give your site visitor directions to land where you want them to land.

You may want them to:

  • Download a coupon
  • Download a white paper
  • Purchase a product (if you have e-commerce)
  • Ask for more information

You get them to do this by leading them – with directions – to a form where they have to give you their contact information in order to get whatever it is you’re offering. And in that journey, you have to convince them giving you their contact information is worth it.

Alas, it’s not as easy as just throwing up copy that says, “Click here, then click there, then give me your email, then you can go.” You have to tell them a story along the way that moves them to the next turn on your map. When they reach the end (the contact form) they need to feel like if they don’t fill that form out, they’re missing out on something big.

Keep that website visitor journey in mind as you review your website. Are you giving them good directions to get where you want them to go? Are you making it easy for them to say “yes” to filling out that form and giving you their contact information or purchasing that product?

If you aren’t, maybe you should rethink what you have there. And trust me, GPS isn’t going to help.

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