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Call to Action - A Case Study

I'm enthralled with the book Call to Action: Secret formulas to improve online results by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. The quick and easy read (2-5 pages per section) make this a simple book to pick up when you have a few minutes to absorb; but plan to spend some serious time making changes to your website using the information provided!

Plan of Action

Having recently introduced to the genealogy enthusiasts a free online family tree program, I thought that I'd take one of the formulas taught in the book and use it to rewrite an index page that I think is much too wordy, lacks focus, and fails to push the visitor through to the signup page. Being the home page of the site, you can see my concern with it's present design. It just doesn't do a good job at convincing people to signup! I will show you specifics to the exact changes I made on my website, and at the same time, provide you a glimpse into the book, along with my added commentary and research. So when you're through reading this series of articles, I hope that you come out with a better understanding of:

  • How to help your visitors find the information they're looking for on your pages.
  • Get a better understanding of what Call to Action is about.
  • See a working example implementing their suggestions.

The chapter I will be focusing on is titled "Help Their Eyes Find It" and is only three pages in length (see... really short sections) p. 118-120. To make it easier for you to understand when I quote from the book, and when I'm actually writing commentary or further information, I have tabled the actual book. So the following in an excerpt from the manuscript. The commentary that follows outside the table, is of my own creation. The Eisenberg brothers made use of several online resources which they sourced in the book. Instead of using the book's sourcing methodology, I have webified it by creating a link to the source, from words in the actual excerpt. Case in point, the words "Jakob Nielsen" below.

Help Their Eyes Find It

Every one of your visitors is barraged daily with massive quantities of information. How do we cope? We become remarkably selective in our consumption. Some folks say this is a function of impatience. I figure it's a basic survival skill.

There is a number of strategies available that allow you to streamline the information you present to your visitors: they're your navigation schemes, your qualifying schemes. You can also locate website elements where your visitors expect to find them. Then, there's designing for scanning and skimming.

Evidence suggests that if your readers read online (and Jakob Nielsen says 79% of them don't,) they read "shallow but wide" and pay attention to text before they look at pictures. So how are you going to grab their attention and communicate your message as quickly as possible? Try some of these tactics.

Eisenberg's, Call to Action, p. 118

How do you read a newspaper or magazine? Is it any different then the way you read a page on the web? Most marketers will tell you that users start at the top left (they highly recommend you put your logo there) scroll across the top of the page, and then down the center column. Only then do they proceed to look at the left or right side. We as humans have adapted ourselves to intake information in select, small batches. Navigational schemes must be developed in such a way as to provide a quick and concise idea of what is available at your website.

Pick up a copy of the manuscript here: Call to Action: Secret formulas to improve online results

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