Making it easy for your audience to take action


Without the gate, my bunnies would be running around the house. What barriers are keeping your audience from taking action?

I have two bunnies that roam around the house all day while I’m working. I don’t want them to go into my bedroom because they have chewed through more cell phone chargers than I care to count. So I put up a doggy gate to keep them in the living room area. They could jump the gate if they wanted to, and once in a while they do. But for the most part, it’s too much effort and they’re content enough in the living room. However, if I removed the gate, the bunnies would be running around all over the house in no time!

I think a lot of us are like that – we’re generally content where we are, but if a few barriers were removed we’d gladly take the opportunity to do something else.

On your website, there are a lot of potential barriers preventing people from completing various tasks. Small changes can have a big impact on retention and form completion rates.


To do:

Take a look at your website and imagine that you are visiting it for the first time. If you have a hard time pretending you aren’t familiar with the site, have someone else help you out with this task. As you explore the site, think about potential barriers visitors may encounter to:

  • Find out information about your programs
  • Share pages via social media, email, and print
  • Register for events
  • Donate
  • Sign up for the e-mail list
  • Contact your staff with specific questions
  • Access important documents and information
  • Search for something they need

In your analytics, look at your top exit pages. If your donation and/or registration pages are on the top of the list, you definitely need to make some changes now.

Write down the potential barriers people might encounter such as long sign-up forms, lack of detailed information, or buried content.

Choose two or three barriers to address now and make a plan for tackling the rest.

Here are some ideas:

  • Be clear about how much time it will take to complete a task. Be honest, because if you say something will take 5 minutes and it actually takes 10, people will not be happy that it took more time than they had planned for.
  • Reduce the number of fields you use in your forms. Even if most of the information isn’t required, a long form will turn people away.
  • Make information in PDF documents easily accessible.
  • Include a short introductory video to explain what your organization does and how to use tools on your website.
  • Have multiple ways for people to contact you, and make contact information easy to find.
  • Make sure your layout is printer-friendly (you may need to work with your web designer to make adjustments).
  • Add “share” buttons (try tools like AddThis or Sumome).
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