The Art of Flowww by Randy Milanovic aims to help you improve engagement on your website. Randy wants to improve the rate at which your website is able to engage potential customers According to him, most of the time it’s closer to 99.5%, meaning that only one out of every 200 people will find a typical landing page to be useful.
In other words, getting people engaged on your website is hard and Randy wants to help us do it better with this book. He writes that:
The goal of this book is to help you understand what most visitors want from your website, and help you structure your pages in a way that gives it to them.
This is not a large book, it’s less than 50 pages so you won’t need to read very long to discover the ideas that Randy shares with us. He makes it clear that the book is for people interested in online lead generation.
The book has eight chapters titled:
- How do you generate online conversions?
- How they think vs. how we link
- Deciphering visitor intent
- Links for SEO and flowww
- The importance of quality content on flowww
- Structuring content to flowww
- Why UX is your secret conversion weapon
Following is a brief review of each chapter.
HOW DO YOU GENERATE ONLINE CONVERSIONS?
In this chapter Randy introduces what you will gain from reading the book. He discusses the difficulty of online lead generation and how he can help us improve that by showing us ways to achieve a ‘state of flowww’ with our websites.
He also writes to let us know that you will not be reading about technical jargon or theory in the book but rather practical, simple and accessible concepts that he has developed over 10 years. Randy runs two website related businesses, Kayak Marketing and Flowww Sites. He has also built up his experience from working with over 550 organisations.
HOW THEY THINK VS. HOW WE LINK
Randy starts out this chapter by reminding us that customers don’t buy significant products such as a software product instantly rather they go through a well known process and he introduces the process which is:
According to Randy, it is very important that we understand this process and on that he writes that:
This is crucial to understand because structuring content and links in a way that aligns with the buyer’s (customer’s) journey is the key to capturing leads and generating sales conversations. It’s what makes it possible to optimize the sales funnels on your website.
To demonstrate how the process works he uses an example to outline it. Here is the example in full:
- A bookkeeper realizes it’s taking a long time to get receipts from some of her clients, which limits the number of accounts she can process during tax season (Awareness).
- She starts looking for solutions to this problem, asking her peers for suggestions and searching the web for answers (consideration)
- Discovering that electronic filling would help solve her time crunch issue, she seeks out potential cloud software vendors (Desire).
- Once she finds the vendor with the right combination of features and pricing, she subscribes to their website (Action)
Randy explains that a website which places accessible information about this problem that accountants face on their site properly and then provides easily accessible downloads that explain how they can solve the problem will readily get the attention of those with the problem.
To capture customers in this instance it makes sense for the websites to be structured with information in such a way that those that need a solution can easily see the information they need to make a decision. Randy puts it this way:
The point here isn’t to cover every possibility but instead it’s to recognize that customers of all stripes follow a recognized process when making decisions. It benefits us as marketers to help them rather than pushing them to make a buying decision before they are ready.
STRUCTURING LINKS TO MAXIMIZE FLOWWW
Following on from the previous chapter Randy uses this chapter to show how to put links on a page that aligns with how customers travel through a website before making any concrete decisions such as buying a product. Randy writes that:
While it’s possible to place links almost anywhere within a web page, they should be used to strategically guide visitors along the customers journey (and deeper into your sales funnel). With that goal in mind, I have found four link locations that improve conversations and lead to a more postive visitor experience.
These four link locations are:
- A link within a paragraph: links placed as prompts within a paragraph keep visitors on the site.
- A link in contextual navigation: Concerning this Randy writes that, by presenting links relevant to the content on each page and website, we make it easier for vistitors to follow their interest.
- A link on a visual CTA (or advertisement): These links placed on a graphical call to action (CTA) are meant to let visitors know that behind that link is content that is more valuable. According to Randy, visitors clicking on a graphical CTA are usually deep within the consideration stage of their customer journey. They are seeking deeper or more detailed information and resources, although they might not be ready yet to make a final decision.
- A link in a button: This is a call to action button where a person is about to make a decison such as buy something or register for a trial. While you may want a person to press this button at some point, it is important not to try and push people to click it too soon. Taking people through the previous three link types before getting to this stage is a more natural process for people.
DECIPHERING VISITOR INTENT
Again this information complements that of the previous chapter in that it explains that by studying how visitors interact with the links you can understand their behaviour and optimise the flow of your website to utilise your understanding of visitor behaviour to improve your website.
By understanding these motivations and tracking visitor activity (which you absolutely should be doing), you can study the flow of traffil through your website – and by, extension, decipher visitor interest and intent.
LINKS FOR SEO AND FLOWW
In this page Randy simply describes how a good link structure is good for search engine optimisation.
Among hundreds of additional ranking factors, Google (and other search engines) place a value – sometimes referred to as “juice” within the SEO community – on each webpage and link within a page. To maximize its utility and increase search visibility, we should smartly use links to their greatest effect.
THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY CONTENT ON FLOWWW
Content is at the heart of lead generation and the flowww philosophy.
The advice here is about the important of good content to lead generation. Here are some tips from Randy:
- Internally, content creates interest and draws search engine visits.
- Content should be aimed at the level of understanding of the visitors and crafted in a way that touches on their emotional hot buttons.
- Externally, generating content is important for creating links back to a website and its pages.
- The more we engage with others through blogs, social media and videos or infographics, the greater interest we can generate interest in what our business is about.
It would be hard to overstate the importance or creating and sharing content that appeals to your target audience.
STRUCTURING CONTENT TO FLOWWW
This chapter discusses how you can structure content on your website to be search engine friendly. It gives advice such as:
- Use only one H1 title per page
- Don’t make your title too long so it doesn’t get truncated by search engines
- Place important topic keywords and pharses at the beginning of the content closer to the title.
- Break your content into pieces.
Avoid long blocks of copy without appropriate formatting. Subtitles, paragraphs, bullets, and even sentences help structure content so people can understand them. What’s good for people is also generally good for search engines.
- Place hyphens between words when naming files. For example, the-new-file. This helps web server software to read them clearly and this improves comprehension.
- Use only lower case words in file names, page names and folder names too.
- Label the images you use on your website. Use the ‘alt’ tag to label your images by adding descriptive names that are good for your content.
WHY UX IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON
This is the final chapter in the book and Randy uses it to discusses the benefits of good user experiences on websites. He believes that to make the process of visitors engaging with your site more natural then you need to make sure that your website can give visitors a good user experience. He writes that:
One of the ways to make that process feel more natural is by following good user experience (UX) best practices. These make it easier for visitors to find and use the content and follow the link strategy you’ve worked so hard to create.
Here is a summary of the tips he suggests to implement good UX practices:
- Use legible fonts and size them well. Body fonts should be 16px or larger.
- Avoid carousels and sliders. They distract visitors and can slow down your website.
- Apply basic colour theory to your layouts. Choose a trio of colours – for example dark text (black), light background (white) and a bright colour for links and buttons (orange).
- Use plenty of white space.
- Don’t prompt leads to ‘Submit‘.
- Don’t limit yourself to one persona flow. You can have journeys on your website that cater to different visitor needs.
So that’s the book. It’s short but does have some very good practical lessons that can help us improve our websites and engage visitors more effectively. Definitely, one you should read since it will take you just over an hour to do so.