Though seemingly a bit rudimentary I think this will be very useful to consider. Sure, these steps are extremely intuitive, but the act of (and actions associated with) visiting a website have become so ubiquitous that we never take the time to think about them contemplatively. If everyone knows that visiting websites entails certain universal steps how does your business's website address each step? When people take the appropriate steps to visit a website, do they arrive at your site? Do they stay there? Do they care what you have to say? In order to answer these questions, let's start from the beginning and learn how to visit a website.
Step 1: Search for Something of Interest
There are a few of good search engines out there. Though I have a great time on DuckDuckGo I would have to say that the best search engine by far is Google. Once you're there, it's pretty clear where to type your subject of interest. For now, we will use the example restaurant. You don't ever have to worry about punctuation or even spelling; they're just that good. Google will give you some search results, but you need to know what you're seeing.
These are results that coincide with Google Map's GeoTags in and around your area. These results have the benefit of being local. But, don't be fooled; that doesn't mean they are good. It doesn't even necessarily mean they have a website. Google's job is to connect you with people that can help you, whether they've got a site or not! It should be noted that the location section often (but not always) appears first.
These are the results that coincide with the paid advertised links that pertain to your subject. These results often have the benefit of being comprised of bigger, more reputable companies. (This, however, is not always the case.) The downside is that these companies may not be anywhere near you or be only mildly related to your subject of interest. Ask.com really has nothing to do with restaurants and gives basically the same information as Google and would be (in a sense) a wasted click.
I try to stick with this section. This is the area that Google thinks would best meet your interest taking into account (among other things) your search and location, their subject and site, other trends and reports, etc. When people talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) this is the section they have in view. The better your SEO, the more likely you are to be seen at the top of this list when your keywords are entered.
Step 2: Determine What Kind of Sites You See
Google has these "helpful" snippets underneath the links that I, frankly, don't find very helpful. It tells you what the site has to say about your subject of interest, but it doesn't make clear what kind of site is saying it. Different sites should be read in different manners. We can't assume, "It's on the internet so then it must be true."
I find it beneficial to click several links (giving myself options) and determine what kind of sites I have with a first glance. It's an unfair analysis that incorporates sort of a Blink philosophy, but I have found it to be very useful. Here are a few categories I like to use. It might take some time to hone your categorizing skills, but soon you'll see them immediately fall into place. While searching for restaurant I happened (pretty quickly) upon these 6 sites that epitomize their respective category.
Step 3: Determine What You Need
Personally, I almost never need 411 or B2B sites. I usually find ample information just searching for a subject. If it's outside the realm of my specific industry, I have no need for a B2B site. I hate Forums. They can be helpful, but I don't like sifting through all of the junk to get to the good. The only reason I ever stay on a Crappy site is to be reminded of what not to do.
Businesses and blogs are where I live online.
More times than not, when visiting a site I will land on a Business Site or a Blog. When I find a site that is both business AND blog ... I just go ahead and bookmark that one.
Time for introspection:
When someone first sees your site, do they know what kind of site you have? Would they make that split-second decision to stay there? You can have the best content in the world, but if no one stays on your page long enough to read it, then it doesn't do you much good.