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MarCom Matters

February 2012
Issue: #28

Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Your Website’s Door

The contractors who built our house obviously had a sense of humor.

What happened is, they put the front and side doors pretty much at opposite ends of the house. Not all that unusual in concept, but our house is wide rather than deep. So we have to negotiate several rooms in order to get from one door to the other.Spain-Door

Consequently, when the doorbell rings, the scene inside often resembles a Marx Brothers’ movie, with Harpo and Chico chasing after each other.

It usually goes something like this: A visitor comes to the side door (which is closest to the driveway) and rings the bell. Inevitably, I’m in my office, which is close to the front door. By the time I get to the side door, the visitor has decided the bell doesn’t work and goes to the front door. A couple of back-and-forths like this and I finally open the door, stick my head out and negotiate a meeting point.

And speaking of points. Believe it or not, I do have one.

Too often, it seems, companies design their websites under the assumption that visitors enter through only one door — the home page. And once inside (that assumption continues) those visitors will easily find their way around.

But in the words of that famous Web copywriter, Ira Gershwin, “It ain’t necessarily so.”

In general, there are two ways visitors enter your site: the front door and the side door. No, I mean directly and indirectly.

Direct includes stuff like PPC and banner ads or embedded links in an email. In these cases, you get to decide which door (landing page) the visitors use.

Indirect includes links from organic search results, or from someone else’s website, blog article or online community page. In these cases, others get to decide.

The thing is, you don’t always know which bell will ring.

Why does it matter? A couple of reasons…

How do you do these things? Here are some first steps…

The bottom line: You never know who’s going to show up or which door they’ll use. In any case, it’s good business to greet them and let them know where they are.

Now if you’ll excuse me, someone’s tapping on my window.