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“Sip, cup, bath” is my favorite advice for those who want to create a top performing website.

Picture taking a sip from a cup, then picture drinking the whole cup, then imagine soaking in a bathtub.

“Sip, cup, bath” informs the clickstream path and the order in which content should be displayed.

SIP
Picture this: A potential customer hits your homepage and you have 5 seconds to convey that they can find what they need. Here, a “sip” approach works best. Give customers a few “sip” options (different paths to start on) and then they click to get to the “cup” content. For example, a sip would be a headline with a button to take action. What is key with this approach is that the customer decides when they want the next level of content depth.

Let’s draw a mental picture. Imagine a customer hits your homepage and learns you offer auto insurance (what they are searching for). Then they will click the “auto insurance” button to learn more. (I’m using USAA.com for the visuals for each step.)

Example of sip website clickstream

CUP
At this point, a customer is ready for the whole cup because they chose what they wanted. You offer a moderate amount of content in the “cup” stage. The content in this example would lay out your variety of insurance policies, your safe driver discounts and so on. Then, if the customer is interested and wants to know even more, that 2nd click becomes the place you can offer the “bath” level of content.

Example of cup website clickstream best practice

BATH
The “bath” is the submersion experience. This is for the customer who wants the nitty gritty details. Not all customers want this level of detail – so it should be optional to have to click in to the “bath.” The “bath” page may offer more in-depth videos, more options to explore, more detail on how you determine policy rates or whatever is logical for your customer (see my blog on knowing customers here).

Example bath clickstream website best practice

To summarize, the “sip, cup, bath” is the path of clicks and the corresponding “amount” of content you should offer. It’s a bit like a funnel – customers start at the top and move deeper in the funnel with deeper interest. This analogy informs you about content quantity. This is a KEY point for time-constrained customers – don’t overwhelm them up front with too much content. At each step they want only salient information – not to search to find the salient points on any page.

If you have any questions or have an example of a website that does “sip, cup, bath” well, send me a message.

See My #1 Website Rule: Know Your Audience

See My #3 Website Rule:  No Dead Ends

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