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Established 2009

The Hummingbird and the Hawk: Understanding the Real Nature of Your Site’s Visitors



At MindEcology, clients hire us to produce business results. And for most, a big part of those results depend on lots of high-quality traffic flowing to their websites.

And we deliver on that promise, every day. We provide a strong, steady flow of new website visitors. And many of those visitors often quickly turn into prospects and customers.

This is all well and good. But there is a critical piece missing from this picture: understanding what exactly happens once that visitor lands on the website. After all, if the visitor lands and immediately bounces away to somewhere else, the expected results are not going to materialize. In other words, an impressive flow of traffic landing on a dud web page will produce few favorable results.

To build a landing page that provides the best-possible user experience, it is helpful to recognize the true nature of website visitors.

You see, most of our clients see their website visitors as hawks. But it is more accurate to view them as hummingbirds. What exactly do we mean?

Hummingbirds and Hawks

The majestic hawk flies at up to 100 feet above the ground, scanning its domain. It flaps its wings, then glides in a leisurely way, taking its time following its path; it peruses. The hawk’s keen eyes take in huge swaths of land in a single, grand view. But when the hawk spots a tiny field mouse far below, it can also immediately zoom in incredibly quickly and target its prey.

Now, picture the frenetic hummingbird. Its wings flap at 70 times per second.It darts from here to there so fast it’s hard for the human eye to follow closely. The hummingbird may flit from flower to flower (to yet another flower) in a matter of a second or two. The hummingbird has an incredibly short attention span. It quickly loses interest and moves on in a flash.

Upon talking with dozens of MindEcology clients over the years about digital performance, I can safely say that most are hoping upon hope … assuming …  that their site’s visitors act like hawks. They believe their visitors come to the site with an already-burning interest in what the site offers. They believe that the visitors already understand what the site is about and why the visitor should care. They assume that the visitor is already committed deeply to their products or services and is looking for a chance to make a purchase or to request more information. While this is no doubt true for a small percentage of visitors, 80%-90% act like hummingbirds.

How do we know this? Because we spend time each week poring over our client’s web analytics. And what we see time and time again is that a large percentage of users to ANY site leave for good without visiting a second page. And an even larger percentage leave the initial landing page after just a few seconds of their arrival.?Why? Because they didn’t see what they wanted. Or they didn’t understand the site. Or they were confused by the navigation system. Or they just got bored.

While these kinds of statistics are a common trend for EVERY website, some websites have much lower “bounce rate” stats and much higher “average page visit duration” stats than the industry averages. Why? Because those who designed these sites assumed that the onus was upon the designers, not the visitors, to make the site grab visitor attention. They made sure that the landing pages were interesting, appropriately informative, and useful. And all of this within the first few seconds?of landing on the page.

What You Can Do About It

We invite you to revisit your site’s key landing pages (which is often, but not always, the Home page). Ask yourself the hard questions, such as: Does this page tell the visitor right away what that page is about? Does it feature my organization’s key differentiators – what makes us unique? Is it easy to navigate? In short: does it do most of the heavy lifting on behalf of the visitor or does it expect the user to do all the work? These questions are an excellent starting point.

Consider this an opportunity to reframe your understanding of your site’s visitors as acting more like hummingbirds than like hawks. After all, the stakes are high. Your online business success hangs in the balance.

Need some professional advice on how to build a high-converting landing page or full website? Contact MindEcology to find out how our landing page audits, SEO audits, and web design services can help you drive the results you are looking for.


austin seo, digital advertising, search engine optimization, seo, websites