Supermarkets wouldn’t sell much if all the head office staff hung around in the aisles.

Think about your favourite supermarket and the experience you enjoy when you get there.

Everything is presented neatly, and there are enough checkout staff on hand to help you buy your groceries and leave.

Now think how that experience would be if all the employees from head office were also wandering around in the store.

You have to turn back half way up aisle three because a group from merchandising is arguing about which brand of noodles to display on the shelves.

You are stepping into aisle seven and Janice from recruitment hands you a job application form.

You are reaching for a carton of milk when Mike from the research department hands you a survey.

You are choosing a breakfast cereal when Don from the special promotions group suggests that maybe you would prefer the pop tarts.

You get the idea.

Supermarkets and other retail stores do well when they present us with the stuff we want in the places we expect, and then get out of the way.

Is your website like that? Or is it clogged and bloated with dozens of messages from a dozen different stakeholders in your company?

And I’m not just talking about your sales pages. Maybe you can boast that your sales pages are clean and free of any clutter or distractions.

But a sale is rarely generated by a visitor reading one page alone. More typically someone will arrive at one page and then follow a sales funnel of two or three steps before reaching the final sales page.

How about the pages within that funnel? Are they clean and optimized to move readers forward to the next step, without distracting messaging and graphics?

Or is Don from special promotions sticking his nose in and diverting and confusing your readers?

The best sales copy in the world won’t help you if your prospects never make it as far as that page.

Take a look at your server logs data or analytics software and map out the most popular sequences of pages that lead to your top money pages. How many pages are there in the sequence? And how smoothly do they move your readers forward to the next step?

Most of all, are those pages clean, relevant and specific? Or are their aisles cluttered with other offers, products, services and messages – any one of which could stop your readers dead in their tracks?

Be a supermarket. Keep the aisles clear. Mark everything clearly so people know where they can find what they want.

And then get out of their way.