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Don’t Confuse Visitors with Company Lingo in Your Navigation

Don't confuse visitors with company lingo

One of my biggest pet peeves when browsing a website I’ve never visited before is when the navigation seems to be geared for those who are “in the know” rather than noobs like me. I hate to trash on churches and vacation resorts, but you’re some of the biggest violators of this. (I have no idea what “grow” or “go” means, and I certainly don’t know the difference between Cabin 1 and Cabin 2 without looking at every options first!)

Yeah, I get it. We all have our own terminology, and we know the way we would navigate our sites. But that’s the problem. Our site visitors are not us. All that stuff is second nature to us, but most visitors are simply not familiar enough with what we do, what we offer or what our lingo even means. It’s such a common problem, there’s even a name for it: The Curse of Knowledge.

As business owners, we want our visitors to feel a part of the team. And using industry lingo might do that for those who are already familiar with what we do. But what about those who aren’t?

Instead of giving off those cutesy community vibes, you’re causing maddening frustration to the people who have never been on your site before. As I often like to yell at websites: Quit making it hard for me to give you my money!

Your navigation needs to support the lowest common denominator of site visitors. Anybody researching your products or services might know quite a bit about them. But then again, many may not. Which means when you use company or industry terminology, you’re going over people’s heads.

What’s the solution? Keyword research.

Find the words searchers use when referring to your product or services and use that to talk back to them. Use their terminology, not yours.This is important in your content but essential in your site navigation. Your visitors know what they are looking for, but they won’t find it if they don’t know what you call it.

As the web marketer, it’s your job to make it easy. Use language on their terms, not yours, and you’ll find they’ll be more willing to invest in your products or services.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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