Primary Actions – Conversion Wednesday

By Chris C.


What are primary actions? Primary actions are the main actions you want your customer to take on every page of your site. On each page, if there was ONE thing you wanted them to click on, what would it be…? Once you figure that out, make it crystal clear that this is what your customers should click.

This seems like a no brainer, but there are a lot of websites who don’t clearly identify what it is they want you to do on a certain page. It appears as if they want the customer to figure out the site for themselves. Your website should sell your customer on your products. To do this, you should guide them to where they need to go by identifying the primary actions of your website.

Great, so what are YOUR primary actions?

  • Follow your own funnels: Does your website have over 60% organic traffic referrals? Yes? Great! What are the top 20 keywords customers use to arrive on your website? Now type in those keywords and see if your website delivers what your were searching for. If so, what exists on that page that can get those customers to what they are looking for faster? If not, what can you change that might deliver a more relevant experience? Don’t give up on your own website, continue to use your site to find what it is that the search term implies and figure out what helps you the most.

    Another quick example: Is the majority of your site direct traffic? What pages are they landing on and what promotions are diving those pages? Can you find what you are promoting easily on those pages?

    If you can’t find anything helpful to click on other than internal search (and sometimes this can even be hidden), make the internal search clearly found and then figure out what you can add to the page to get the experience you are looking for.

  • Identify helpful parts of your site: Once you have found the path to that item or series of items, identify what it is that you used to get there. Big ones would be Add-to-Cart buttons on product pages. Category pages can have more obscure primary actions: filters, site navigation, internal search, and so on…
  • Make those parts easier to find: Now that you found what works, go back identify some changes that could make this path clearer on your site.
  • Test: Test those changes and measure the results!

This approach works because:

  • You are identifying areas that are already working on your site. You are testing proven revenue areas, not chasing items that may never help your website or have a big enough impact to make a difference.
  • You are acting more like a sales person would if you had a brick and mortar store. You know where they are coming from via analytics. Provide them with the answer to their first question. This gets you closer to holding the customers hand throughout the shopping process without them even knowing you are doing it.
  • Customers will click to get what they want. Just a quick look at the first three sites I see reveals average pages-per-visit of 4.81, 6.81, and 6.06. This blows the three clicks myth out of the water.

Make sure the “clicks” you want your customer to make are easy to find by making the primary action items clear on each page!