Maze or Bagatelle? Do you need online navigation buttons?

This content should provoke you into reviewing your online visitor navigation if you are marketing just a few products.

If you are actively marketing to find your perfect customer (Niche Marketing) your primary information must link into your contact’s main interest, like two entwined horse-shoe magnets.

Now you’ve attracted your potential customer, does your business operate inside a maze system or a bagatelle?

Let’s consider your online site, with different pages with different showcases. In comes a visitor to enquire about your high energy food for rocking horses. Thrust a catalogue into the hand and allow your browsing visitor to wander the reception (home page) and point them into other rooms.

That’s the bagatelle method, where the potential customer is gently fired into your online information and then left to randomly bounce around, maybe clicking your site’s buttons. (Scenario 1) Sometimes this is called the pull system because the visitor pulls the information they need.

In Scenario 2, your business has constructed a maze, where your potential customer takes left, right or other decisions and eventually reaches the maze’s solution, securing you a sale or a request for information by email. You ensure that your visitor has the exact information to make an informed decision at each junction. Sometimes this is called the push system because the shop owner pushes the information they feel the visitor needs.

Scenario 2 greets your visitor at your online reception. If your business has learnt from your Niche customer, you’ll know what information is immediately demanded. You escort your visitor around pointing to your USP, highlighting your advantage over similar high energy food for rocking horses shops.

Your content will provide the embedded key word links, not your page buttons. Page buttons are the bagatelle method. The maze method controls your visitor’s visit through your well designed information text links and offers your visitor the contextual options. This is the maze, where all clicks should eventually have the same outcomes, the Order Page or the email address form.

Returning visitors are unlikely to retrace their steps through your maze, so you explain that your site map page lets them parachute into the exact place they choose. So why do you need page buttons, when the site map’s available?

Of course, Scenario 3 is neither bagatelle nor maze, it’s the page trench method. The visitor drops into the top to bottom trench and starts reading the sales text. Headline after sub head, after sub head, ending with bonuses and time restrictions. Isn’t this a well-crafted advert designed to deliver information, solve a problem and provide benefits? Usually the visitor has a choice of climbing out or filling in an order form. No alternative pages.

Decide which single scenario or combination of scenarios enhances your online navigation. Which style of home page navigation best suits the needs of your visitor? Horses for courses.

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