When was the last time you bought anything from a website in your first visit there? Or, when did you last go to a site and undertake their call to action on your first visit?
Asking someone to do something after visiting a site – sign up to a newsletter, join your Facebook group, follow you on Twitter, make a donation – whatever – is asking them in some ways to do more than just buy a product. Evaluating and judging the benefits of a product are easy, and it only costs a visitor money: asking them to do something costs them time and if there is one thing we are all short of in the internet age it is time.
So: how does your site consciously and explicitly seek to engender return visits? – because one thing is certain, if people do not buy on their first visit and your site does not try and get these return visits then your site will never make a sale or get a completed call to action.
So make your site easy to use; remove any barriers to calls to action getting completed, and look at the site through the eyes of your customers, not your internal staff. And then iterate this cycle. Measure your success by your conversion rate and your return on investment and you’ll get a site that achieves it’s goals – be they financial or intangible.