The 4 questions visitors will ask when they come to your site

John Ekman


A visitor coming to your site will ask four basic questions to determine whether she or he wants to do business with you.

Respond effectively to all four questions and you have a new customer- a conversion. Fail at any of them and your competitor gets a new customer.

I use four symbols / people / companies symbolize these questions. They are:

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. WII.FM Radio
  3. Sveriges Radio
  4. Bob a Builder (it’s not “the” Builder, he would not lend himself to this type of purpose, for obvious copyright reasons)

Question 1 – Have I come to the right place?

Alice wondered where she’d arrived when she fell down the rabbit hole. So will a visitor that lands on your site. If he or she is looking for a wiper blade to a Ford Mondeo 92 model, the visitor will want to know – “Is this a site that sells auto parts?” And you have something like 0.2 seconds to answer that question. With photos, with headlines and text that is easy to scan.

(Alice would have loved to appear with her picture here, but we were afraid that her daddy – Disney – wouldn’t let her.)

Question 2 – Do they have what I need?

WII-FMEveryone on this planet (except Dalai Lama) listen to the same radio station: WII.FM – What’s In It For Me? So the second question will not be just about whether your site sells auto parts, but if you have the very model of wiper blades the visitor wants. And now it’s your job to answer that question, through a search function, by clear entrances to the categories or in other ways. The goal is to let the visitor find exactly what she came looking for. Or she’ll go away.


Question 3 – Can I trust them?

SRQuestion number 3 lingers with the visitor throughout the whole visit. She’ll want to know whether she can trust this site and feel comfortable about giving away credit card details and email address. I’ve chosen to let Swedish public radio– Sveriges Radio – symbolize this question as they were elected Sweden’s most trustworthy brand in a 2009  survey. Study after study has shown that lack of confidence is one of the most common reasons for a visitor to click away.

Question 4 – How do I exit?

By now the visitor knows she’s in the right place, she’s found what she came for, and you seem reasonably trustworthy. Now she just needs to “get her stuff done”, and she wants that to happen at lightning speed. That’s where Bob comes in. BOB – Big.Orange. Button. Ok, big bright buttons are not the only way to lead the visitor to the close. The point is that you need to find simple and clear mechanisms to let customers easily and quickly complete the job they came to do.

Scent – What happens before the site?

BloodHound on a scent trailHow visitors perceive your site is very much influenced by the expectations they had when they arrived at the site. Think of your visitor like a blood hound who just got started on a fresh scent trail. Now the blood hound is on your site and it’s your job to make sure that it doesn’t lose track. It can be done with images, text and various small cues that constantly show that our dog is on the right path – All the way to completion. If our canine friend at any point feel that it’s lost the scent, then it heads back towards the starting point, (Google?) and sets off on a new scent trail (to your worst competitor?!)

Great conversion rate = Your and your visitors goals meet

Good conversion is fundamentally about meeting the expectations of the visitor. But you also have a goal of the visit-a purchase, signup, a download or whatever it may be. Great Conversion happens when your and your visitor’s objectives coincide. Sweet music starts playing. The conversion is a fact. And it’s your job to make sure this happens.


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Conversionista is open for business in The Netherlands.
Conversionista is open for business in The Netherlands. Read more.