Aimless Browsing vs. Browsing with Intent

Internet users exhibit predictable behavioral patterns while browsing websites.

The most common pattern is known as aimless browsing, which is sorta like flipping through a zillion TV channels while looking for something to watch.

Darn near everything on the internet—social media, news sites, blogs, aggregators, you name it—is designed to accommodate aimless browsing.

Sites encourage aimless browsing by delivering diverse content in a “discoverable” format; in other words, if you sift through enough crap for a long enough time, you’re likely to find something of interest!

But if you have specific online goals like building an audience, making sales, or getting clients, aimless browsing is your mortal enemy.

The opposite of aimless browsing is browsing with intent.

Think about the last time you bought something on Amazon. You likely realized you needed a product—batteries, perhaps—and then you promptly went to Amazon, searched for “AA batteries,” and then purchased the cheapest and best option from available results.

Not only did you browse with intent, you were on a mission! This is exactly how you want your visitors to behave.

Because users are conditioned to browse aimlessly, you must take specific actions if you want them to behave differently:

  • Minimize distractions
  • Reduce or eliminate aimless browsing opportunities
  • Present users with a clear path to success and keep them on that path until they either complete the goal (a sale, an opt-in, whatever) or choose to leave

Simple, right? Not so fast—this is harder than it seems because nearly everything you’re accustomed to seeing and using on the internet caters to aimless browsing.

You’ll need to un-think some of this stuff if you want to see your site clearly and position it for success.

The easiest way to do this is to adopt a mantra that guides all decision-making on your site…

One Page, One Goal

The winning strategy for your website looks a little something like this:

  1. Each time you create a page, define a single goal for that page
  2. Analyze every element on that page with this goal in mind
  3. Be disciplined, unemotional, and objective in your analysis—if an element does not facilitate your goal for this page, remove it!

Watch the video below and see how to put “One page, one goal” to work for you!

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